The purpose of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs (WIFA) is to promote greater knowledge and understanding of International affairs and problems among its members. WIFA brings together its members with other knowledgeable Americans, foreign officials, and visitors to the United States to exchange ideas about international affairs.

The Institute is a vehicle to allow people with experience in foreign affairs, now in private life, to come together and share their ideas with officials of the American government, as well as those active in international organizations, foreign governments and academia.  

The Institute encourages creative thinking on current and long term problems in foreign affairs. The principle activity of WIFA is to invite qualified speakers to participate in discussions at its meetings.  To encourage candor and wide-ranging discussion, the sessions are conducted on an off-the-record basis and limited to members only. Guest are not allowed at the meetings. Over the years the Institute has been fortunate to attract many authoritative speakers, including current government officials, as well as many foreign policy experts in academia and the foreign policy and intelligence communities.