Mark Leonard Keynote Speaker

  • Expert analysis and informed perspectives on geopolitics, geoeconomics, China and on EU politics and institutions.
  • Director and Co-Founder of the European Council on Foreign Relations
  • Author of three books including 'The Age of Unpeace: How Connectivity Causes Conflict' (2021)

Mark Leonard's Biography

Mark Leonard is a leading analyst and commentator on international affairs, geopolitics and geoeconomics.   He is the Director and Co-Founder of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a council of 300 European leaders including serving and former presidents, prime ministers, economics and foreign ministers, the first pan-European think tank.   His expertise and interests include geopolitics and geoeconomics, China, EU politics and institutions.

As well as writing and commenting frequently in the media on global affairs, Leonard is author of three major books on geopolitics.  His most recent book is ‘The Age of Unpeace: How Connectivity Causes Conflict“(2021). This major new book shows shows how geopolitics is reshaping the global economy as all the things that bind us together – supply chains, infrastructure, migration, the internet – are turned into weapons and currencies of power.    Of the book, Anne Marie Slaughter said …strikingly original, developing new language and a new framework to capture and analyse the way the world’s progress and perils are inextricably intertwined.’

His first book, ‘Why Europe will run the 21st Century‘, was published in 2005 and translated into 19 languages. Leonard’s second book, ‘What does China think?’ was published in 2008 and translated into 15 languages.

Mark hosts the weekly podcast “Mark Leonard’s World in 30 Minutes” and writes a syndicated column on global affairs for Project Syndicate.

Previously he worked as director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform and as director of the Foreign Policy Centre, a think tank he founded at the age of 24 under the patronage of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the 1990s, Leonard worked for the think tank Demos where his Britain™ report was credited with launching Cool Britannia. Mark has spent time in Washington, D.C. as a Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and in Beijing as a visiting scholar at the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences.

He was Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geoeconomics until 2016.  Honoured as a “Young Global Leader” of the World Economic Forum, he spends a lot of time helping governments, companies, and international organisations make sense of the big geo-political trends of the twenty-first century. He is a regular speaker and prolific writer and commentator on global issues, the future of Europe, China’s internal politics, and the practice of diplomacy and business in a networked world.

His essays have appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, the New York Times, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, El Pais, Gazeta Wyborcza, Foreign Policy, the New Statesman, the Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Time, and Newsweek.

He lives in London and Berlin.

Speaking Topics include;

1. Geopolitics and Globalisation – how geopolitics is increasingly reshaping globalisation and technology as the connections that bind us together – through finance, supply chains, infrastructure, the movement of people, and social media – become weapons to win power, glory or punish others. Mark’s influential work for the world economic forum at davos showed how geopolitics is reshaping globalisation; his new book ‘The Age of Unpeace talks about the new world; and his forthcoming ‘new atlas of power’ is trying to visualise the new world.

2. The New China Shock – Mark has studied the internal debates among China’s leading thinkers in the communist Party, universities and think-tanks on big topics such as the future of the Chinese economy, its attitudes towards globalization and innovation, the future of the Chinese political model and the country’s relations with the rest of the world. His ground-breaking books ‘What does China Think?’ and ‘China 3.0’ lifted the lid of the black box of Chinese thinking. Mark is now trying to map out the next generation of thinking within the People’s Republic, that will create a ‘new china shock’ that could reshape our world.

3. US-China Competition – Mark has lived in China and America and explored the political, economic, military, technological and regulatory dimensions of the big story of our age – as well as how it is likely to impact on others

4. The Future of European Politics under Covid – Mark has been large-scale polling in 14 different European countries and talking to the leading players in the big countries. How has Covid changed political divisions between and within European countries? What happens to Germany after Merkel? Who will win the French Presidential Election in 2022? What happens to post-Brexit Britain?

5. European Sovereignty as a challenge and opportunity. In the wake of US-China competition European governments are increasingly trying to work out how to avoid losing a say over their own future. Working with 12 different European governments and the EU institutions in Brussels, Mark has helped to shape a new doctrine of strategic sovereignty which could have powerful implications for regulation, investment and policy for companies, citizens and governments alike.

6. Germany after Angela Merkel. After a decade and a half of Angela Merkel in power, what does the future hold for Europe’s biggest country. As a dual British-German national who splits his time between Berlin and London, Mark spends a lot of his time engaging with Germany’s movers and shakers and trying to understand the future of its politics, economic model and foreign policy.

7. Branding countries and Public Diplomacy. Mark wrote the seminal Britain ™ report which spawned ‘Cool Britannia’ and then helped to reshape the British Government’s public diplomacy architecture writing three seminal reports on public diplomacy and sitting on the government’s public diplomacy strategy board. Mark has worked as a consultant to different governments around the world and remains one of the leading thinkers and practitioners on branding companies.

8. The Geopolitics of the Green New Deal. The European Green Deal will have profound geopolitical repercussions, some of which are likely to have an adverse impact on the European Union’s relationships with important countries in its neighbourhood such as Russia and Algeria, and with global players such as the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia. In a ground-breaking study he maps the impacts and suggest ways of mitigating them.


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Blogs & Articles

Project Syndicate
European Council on Foreign Relations
ECFR Podcast hosted by Mark Leonard

Books by Mark Leonard

The Age of Unpeace: How Connectivity Causes Conflict
What Does China Think ?
Why Europe will run the 21st Century

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