Rawi Abdelal

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Renowned Expert on Globalization, Geopolitics and Political Economy; Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management, Harvard Business School; Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

Biography

Rawi Abdelal is the Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management at Harvard Business School (HBS). Professor Abdelal is also the Director of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies; Faculty Co-Chair of the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative; and Faculty Chair of the Harvard Business School/YPO Presidents’ Program.

Professor Abdelal is an expert on globalization, geopolitics, and political economy. Widely published, he has written about the global financial system, the international politics of post-Soviet Eurasia, the influence of multinational firms on world politics, and the transformation of energy markets in Europe and Eurasia. He is currently at work on two projects. One project, The Fragile State of the World, explores the interrelated challenges that undermined the first era of globalization, circa 1870-1914, and that threaten to destroy the current age of global capitalism. The second project, The Profits of Power, explores the geopolitics of energy in Europe and Eurasia.

An engaging speaker and lecturer, Professor Abdelal has won the HBS Student Association’s Faculty Award for outstanding teaching several times, as well as the Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching. Professor Abdelal is known for his ability to explain complex topics with elegant simplicity.

During his 20 years on the HBS faculty, Professor Abdelal has served in a number of leadership roles, including as course head for the core course Business, Government and the International Economy, and as chair of the MBA required curriculum. Professor Abdelal has chaired many custom executive programs for firms from around the world and has twice earned the Greenhill Award for service to Harvard Business School.

Professor Abdelal earned his doctorate in government from Cornell University, where he also received his master’s degree. He was a President’s Scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in economics.

Rawi Abdelal is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Books & Research

Capital Rules: The Construction of Global Finance

(Harvard University Press, September 2009)

Constructing the International Economy

(Cornell University Press, June 2010)

Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists

(Cambridge University Press, April 2009)

The Rules of Globalization Case Book

(Wspc, March 2008)

National Purpose in the World Economy

(Cornell University Press, November 2001)

A-Z Name

Abdelal, Rawi

Biography

Rawi Abdelal is the Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management at Harvard Business School (HBS). Professor Abdelal is also the Director of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies; Faculty Co-Chair of the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative; and Faculty Chair of the Harvard Business School/YPO Presidents’ Program.

Professor Abdelal is an expert on globalization, geopolitics, and political economy. Widely published, he has written about the global financial system, the international politics of post-Soviet Eurasia, the influence of multinational firms on world politics, and the transformation of energy markets in Europe and Eurasia. He is currently at work on two projects. One project, The Fragile State of the World, explores the interrelated challenges that undermined the first era of globalization, circa 1870-1914, and that threaten to destroy the current age of global capitalism. The second project, The Profits of Power, explores the geopolitics of energy in Europe and Eurasia.

An engaging speaker and lecturer, Professor Abdelal has won the HBS Student Association’s Faculty Award for outstanding teaching several times, as well as the Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching. Professor Abdelal is known for his ability to explain complex topics with elegant simplicity.

During his 20 years on the HBS faculty, Professor Abdelal has served in a number of leadership roles, including as course head for the core course Business, Government and the International Economy, and as chair of the MBA required curriculum. Professor Abdelal has chaired many custom executive programs for firms from around the world and has twice earned the Greenhill Award for service to Harvard Business School.

Professor Abdelal earned his doctorate in government from Cornell University, where he also received his master’s degree. He was a President’s Scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in economics.

Rawi Abdelal is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

The Fragile State of the World

We are living through the second great era of globalization. The first era of globalization, circa 1870–1914, was destroyed by the geopolitics of a great power transition, armed conflict, mass migration, and a populist backlash against free trade and multinational business. Today, we are living through another great power transition, increased risk of armed conflict, mass migration, and a populist backlash against free trade and multinational business. In this session, Professor Abdelal explores the underlying causes of our increasingly fragile global system and discusses potential measures to save globalization from itself.

Europe in Crisis

The European macroeconomic, political, and social environment in which we do business is at an inflection point. The European Central Bank has resumed its policies of quantitative easing, and much of the Continent faces negative interest rates. A rising tide of both left-wing and right-wing populist movements is transforming national governments in the West. The migrant and refugee crisis is creating social challenges not witnessed in the West for a century. Relations between Russia and the West have not been this problematic since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. These trends have resulted in the Brexit crisis, political and financial instability in Italy and elsewhere in southern Europe, and discord within the European Union about the way forward: the very future of the European project is at stake. In this session, Professor Abdelal examines the implications of European disorder for Europe itself and the global political and business environment.

The End of Trans-Atlanticism and “the West”

From the late-1940s into the 21st century, trans-Atlanticism remade world politics and redefined “the West.” The trans-Atlantic era is coming to an end. As the essential elements of trans-Atlanticism weaken, the ties between the United States and Europe and its Union are fraying. What once was the West is fragmenting into the United States and Europe as increasingly distinct geopolitical and economic agents. The United States itself has grown disenchanted by globalization, which in many ways was its own creation. European troubles also have undermined the international order. Both left-wing and right-wing populists in Italy, France, Spain, and elsewhere in Europe openly criticize ideas and phenomena that once were sacrosanct: market integration, American influence in the world, and even the European project as a whole. Neither the Soviet threat, nor the end of the Cold War, nor China broke the Western consensus. The West has, in the end, done that itself. In this session, Professor Abdelal explores what the world will look like after the end of the West as we once knew it.

Democracy and Disinformation

Is the internet breaking democracy? Once upon a time our information technology revolution promised something extraordinary: the entire world would have access to the same facts; knowledge could become universal. Philosophers who gave us our understanding of knowledge—epistemology—would have been thrilled by this dream of a single, world-wide epistemological space. That dream never materialized, however. What we got instead was very nearly the opposite: the most profound fragmentation of epistemological space. Almost 70 years ago, in her Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt wrote of a crisis in which publics had “reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and nothing was true.” Our era has come to resemble the 1930s that Arendt described, and the consequences have been grave. How can societies engage in civic and political discourse when we can no longer agree on what is true and not-true? How can we avoid both domestic and foreign disinformation when we deliver to ourselves this extraordinary vulnerability? In this session, Professor Abdelal explores these questions and our collective responsibilities to resolve this fundamental challenge.

Russia and the West: A Drama in Three Acts

We are living through an era of tension between Russia and the West that in many ways resembles that of the Cold War. How did we get here? Some of the seeds of this discord were planted during the 1990s and others during the 2000s. The great Russian playwright once advised other authors, “If a gun is placed on the mantle in the first act, it must be fired in the third.” In this session, Professor Abdelal locates the figurative guns placed on the mantle during Act I, The Age of Revolution (1991-2000) and Act II, The Age of Restoration (2000-2012). All of them have been fired during Act III, The Age of Confrontation (2012 to the present). In this session, Professor Abdelal traces the historical origins of one of the core geopolitical challenges of the present.

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Recommendations

“I would like to wholeheartedly endorse Dr. Rawi Abdelal, who has worked with us for more than 10 years. His breadth and command of his subject matter are truly impressive. On numerous occasions, Rawi delivered superb, stimulating, and memorable presentations to our investors. He connects extremely well with his listeners and was always one of our most popular speakers.  Rawi is a truly unique academic with a flair for both educating and entertaining his rapt audiences. It is for these reasons that I strongly recommend Professor Abdelal. I don’t normally take the time to write recommendations such as this one, but in this case, it is so richly reserved.”

— Gregg S. Fisher, CFA, Founder, Portfolio Manager – Gerstein Fisher, Portfolio Manager, Quent Capital LLC

“We invited Rawi to be our keynote speaker at the Intel Executive Forum and he didn’t disappoint. In fact, our customers unanimously requested that he return the following year. He has a current and deep grasp on world politics and globalization and connects well with a diverse audience. He left our group entertained, better informed, and challenged our thinking as we navigate the world’s complexities.”

— Daniel Gutwein, Director, Intel Corporation, Internet of Things Group

“Rawi’s lectures distill an array of information and complex world events into coherence and help make sense of political systems and geopolitics.  You will watch him unravel seemingly unrelated events and magically bring them together with references to literature, pop culture, history, and philosophy. His words, analysis, forewarnings, and insights will stay with the world citizens to guide them for months to come.”

— On behalf of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), Istanbul Chapter, Emin Ozgur & Gamze Dinckok Yucaoglu

“As one of the world’s great academics, Rawi Abdelal is the best person on earth to give a tour of our international landscape. We had the honor of him doing just that at one of our executive leadership sessions, bringing us unprecedented clarity and insight into the complicated world we live in — and how we can use these insights to best serve our global constituents. Rawi is thought-provoking, rich with applicable teachings, and simply a delight to learn from.”

—Sonia Nijhawan Mehra, Chief of Staff – Product, Uber

 

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