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Bill Emmott

Bill Emmott

speaker location icon Dublin, Ireland

Editor-in-Chief of The Economist (1993-2006)

Independent writer and consultant on international affairs

Chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies

Bill Emmott is an independent writer and consultant on international political economy. He was Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, the world’s leading weekly magazine on current affairs and business, from 1993 until 2006, having worked for that publication since 1980. The author of 14 books, on Japan, Asia, Italy and the 20th century, his latest was “The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea”, published in 2017. His next book is “Japan’s Far More Female Future”, to be published by Oxford University Press in September 2020, though already published in Japanese by Nikkei in June 2019. He has also co-written and narrated an acclaimed documentary film about Italy’s political and economic decline, “Girlfriend in a Coma” (2013) and was executive producer of a controversial documentary about the EU and populism, “The Great European Disaster Movie” (2015). Both were broadcast on BBC Four, Sky Italia and other channels worldwide.

Now he is chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies; chairman of the Japan Society of the UK; chairman of the board of Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute; and chairman of the Wake Up Foundation, which uses film to foster understanding of the challenges facing western societies which he co-founded in 2013 with an Italian film-maker, Annalisa Piras.

Bill is a member of the Global Advisory Board of the University of Tokyo and is an Ushioda Fellow at UTokyo’s Tokyo College; is a member of the senior advisory panel of Critical Resource, an extractive-industries and ESG consultancy; and is a consultant to Lansdowne Partners. He writes regular columns for La Stampa, Mainichi Shimbun, Nikkei Business and Project Syndicate.

He has honorary degrees from Warwick and City universities in Britain and Northwestern University in America, and is an honorary fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. He was a Visiting Fellow in Practice at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford in 2015-17 and was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford in 2017-18.

In 2016 the Japanese government awarded him the “Order of the Rising Sun: Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon” for services to UK-Japan relations.

Japan’s Far More Female Future


Until now, Japan’s politics, economy and society have been dominated by men. The future promises to be different, as demographic realities and the growing number of women graduating from higher education since the early 1990s steadily change organisational structures and culture. How well the country adapts to this will determine whether in the 2020s, 30s and beyond it will be strong or weak, prosperous or struggling.

The Fate of the West_ The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea - Bill Emmott


A study of why liberal ideas in politics and economics have come under threat in the long aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, and of what can be done to save them from the likes of Donald Trump

In the long aftermath of the worst financial crisis to have hit advanced countries since 1929, liberal ideas have found themselves under threat, from the nationalist, illiberal likes of Donald Trump. But so has the co-operative network of liberal, democratic societies that we call the West, a network of alliances and friendships that was built up by the United States after 1945 and which together created the set of multilateral institutions and rules that have set a high degree of order for the world. “The Fate of the West” analyses why this has happened and takes an optimistic view of how the most successful political idea in world history — liberalism — can and will be saved.

Good Italy, Bad Italy: Why Italy Must Conquer Its Demons to Face the Future


Once Italy was Europe’s own emerging economy, a society that blended dynamism and super-fast growth with a lifestyle that was the envy of all. Now it is a major threat to the future of the Euro, and of the European Union as a whole, as a political system shorn of credibility struggles to deal with huge public debts and anaemic levels of economic growth. Young people are leaving the country in droves, frustrated at the lack of opportunity. Older people cling on to their rights and privileges, fearful of what the future might hold. In this lively, up-to-the-minute book, former Economist editor Bill Emmott explains how Italy got to this point, what Italians feel about it, and what can be done to bring the country into better times. With the aid of numerous personal interviews, Emmott analyses ‘bad Italy’ – the land of Silvio Berlusconi, an inadequate justice system, an economy dominated by special interests and continuing corruption – but also ‘good Italy’, the home of countless enthusiastic entrepreneurs and of young people determined to open up Italy to the outside world and end mafia domination for good.

Rivals: How the power struggle between China, India and Japan will shape our next decade


The world is changing, as political and economic power shift further towards Asia. In this penetrating book Bill Emmott shows the ways in which our future will be dominated not by one, but by three Asian giants – China, India and a newly resurgent Japan.

How will competition between the emergent great powers in the East affect the West? What will the potential benefits, tensions and danger zones be? Emmott, former editor of the Economist, is one of the world’s most authoritative international commentators. In Rivals he has written the essential book for understanding how this new power game will shape the twenty-first century.

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