The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) is a London-based ‘think and do tank’
that has pioneered policy and operational responses to the rising challenges of violent extremism and inter-communal conflict. ISD’s founder and president was George Weidenfeld, Baron Weidenfeld.
George Weidenfeld was born in Vienna, Austria in 1919, He was the only son of Max and Rosa Weidenfeld. Weidenfeld attended the University of Vienna and the city’s Diplomatic College. Following the Anschluss (Germany’s annexation of Austria) in 1938, he emigrated to London and began work with the monitoring service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
By 1942 he was a political commentator for the BBC and also wrote a weekly newspaper column, coming into contact with General de Gaulle and Tito as a result. Not long afterwards, from 1949, he was away for a year as the political adviser and Chief of Cabinet to Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel.
Weidenfeld married Jane Sieff in 1952, daughter of Israel Sieff, Baron Sieff who was a part of the family that controlled Marks and Spencer.