Graham Allison Keynote Speaker

  • Professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Clinton and Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan
  • Best-selling author of "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?"

Biography

Graham Allison is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard University where he has taught for five decades.  Allison is a leading analyst of national security with special interests in nuclear weapons, Russia, China, and decision-making. Allison was the “Founding Dean” of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and until 2017, served as Director of its Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs which is ranked the “#1 University Affiliated Think Tank” in the world.  As Assistant Secretary of Defense in the first Clinton Administration, Dr. Allison received the Defense Department’s highest civilian award, the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, for “reshaping relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to reduce the former Soviet nuclear arsenal.” This resulted in the safe return of more than 12,000 tactical nuclear weapons from the former Soviet republics and the complete elimination of more than 4,000 strategic nuclear warheads previously targeted at the United States and left in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus when the Soviet Union disappeared.

Dr. Allison’s latest book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? (2017), is a national and international bestseller.  His 2013 book, Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States and the World, has been a bestseller in the U.S. and abroad.  Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, now in its third printing, was selected by the New York Times as one of the “100 most notable books of 2004.”  Dr. Allison’s first book, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (1971), is amongst the all-time bestsellers with more than 500,000 copies in print.

As Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Clinton and Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, he has been a member of the Secretary of Defense’s Advisory Board for every Secretary from Weinberger to Mattis.  He has the sole distinction of having twice been awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal, first by Secretary Cap Weinberger and second by Secretary Bill Perry.   He has served on the Advisory Boards of the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the CIA.

Dr. Graham Allison was the organizer of the Commission on America’s National Interests (1996 and 2000), a founding member of the Trilateral Commission, a Director of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has been a member of public committees and commissions, among them the Baker-Cutler DOE Task Force on Nonproliferation Programs with Russia, the IAEA’s Commission of Eminent Persons, and the Commission on Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and Terrorism.

Dr. Allison has served as a Director of the Getty Oil Company, Natixis, Loomis Sayles, Hansberger, Taubman Centers, Inc., Joule Unlimited, and Belco Oil and Gas, as well as a member of the Advisory Boards of Chase Bank, Chemical Bank, Hydro-Quebec, and the International Energy Corporation.

Graham Allison was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was educated at Davidson College; Harvard College (B.A., magna cum laude, in History); Oxford University (B.A. and M.A., First Class Honors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics); and Harvard University (Ph.D. in Political Science).

Read More

Check Graham Allison's speaking availability and fees

Interested in booking Graham Allison to speak at an event? Please provide your details and we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.

    View our related Speakers

    Karen Attiah Speaker
    Exclusive
    Karen Attiah
    Global Opinions Editor - The Washington Post
    John Hulsman Speaker
    Exclusive
    John Hulsman
    Expert Geopolitical Analyst
    Gérard Araud Speaker
    Exclusive
    Gérard Araud
    Ambassador of France to the United States (2014-2019)
    Edward Lucas Speaker
    Exclusive
    Edward Lucas
    Independent Expert in European and Transatlantic security
    Zhe Sun Speaker
    Exclusive
    Zhe Sun
    Expert on US-China Relations
    Suzanne Williams QPM Speaker
    Exclusive
    Suzanne Williams QPM
    International Hostage Negotiator
    Tina Fordham Speaker
    Exclusive
    Tina Fordham
    Top Global Political Strategist
    Bill Emmott Speaker
    Exclusive
    Bill Emmott
    Writer and Consultant on International Affairs
    Jeremy Hunt Speaker
    Exclusive
    Jeremy Hunt
    Longest serving UK Secretary of State for Health
    Toomas Hendrik Ilves Speaker
    Exclusive
    Toomas Hendrik Ilves
    Former President of Estonia

    We use cookies

    We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to show you personalized content and targeted ads, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. By browsing our website, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.

    Accept Cookies