Launched in 1984 after Jamestown's late president and founder William Geimer's work with Arkady Shevchenko, the highest-ranking Soviet official ever to defect when he left his position as undersecretary general of the United Nations, the Jamestown Foundation rapidly became the leading source of information about the inner workings of closed totalitarian societies.
Jamestown's work has contributed directly to the spread of democracy and personal freedom in the former Communist Bloc countries. In the 1980s the foundation assisted such key experts as former high-ranking Soviet diplomat Arkady Shevchenko, and former top Romanian intelligence officer Ion Pacepa, whose revelations about their governments -- which then directly challenged the United States -- were unprecedented and singularly important.
Jamestown ensured that both men published their insights and experience in what became bestselling books. Shevchenko's Breaking With Moscow revealed the details of Soviet arms control strategy and tactics, and diplomatic moves, at the height of the Cold War. And even today some credit Pacepa's revelations about Ceacescu in his bestselling book Red Horizons with the fall of that government and the freeing of Romania.
Over the past two decades, Jamestown has developed an extensive global network of such experts -- from the Black Sea to Siberia, from the Persian Gulf to the Pacific. This core of intellectual talent includes former high-ranking government officials and military officers, political scientists, journalists, scholars and economists. Their insight contributes significantly to policymakers engaged in addressing today's new and emerging global threats, including that from international terrorists.