Experts & Staff

Mark Leonard


Languages: English, French, German
Areas of Expertise: Geo-politics and Geo-economics, China, EU-Russia relations, transatlantic relations, EU institutions, Public diplomacy and nation branding, UK foreign policy

Mark Leonard is co-founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the first pan-European think tank.

He writes a syndicated column on global affairs for and is Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geoeconomics.

 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 Mark 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.

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 TimesThe New York TimesLe MondeSüddeutsche ZeitungEl PaisGazeta WyborczaForeign Policy, the New StatesmanThe Daily TelegraphThe EconomistTime, and Newsweek.

 As well as writing and commenting frequently in the media on global affairs, Mark is author of two best-selling books. His first book, Why Europe will run the 21st Century, was published in 2005 and translated into 19 languages. Mark’s second book, What does China think? was published in 2008 and translated into 15 languages.


Latest from Mark Leonard

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A vision for the EU's new foreign policy strategy (Commentary)

by Mark Leonard - 24th April, 2015

As it reviews its foreign policy, the EU should decide on the areas where it can achieve the greatest results.


ECFR’s World in 30 Minutes: Iran (Podcast)

22nd April, 2015

On 2 April in Lausanne, world powers and Iran declared the parameters of a comprehensive nuclear deal, offering greater detail than expected. The US has re-asserted its commitment to traditional allies while suggesting a new equilibrium needs to be found in the region. Paul Pillar, Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and at the Brookings Institution, Ali Vaez, senior analyst on Iran at International Crisis Group, Ellie Geranmayeh, MENA policy fellow at ECFR, and Mark Leonard, director of ECFR explore the potentially game-changing developments.


Midnight at the Pera Palace by Charles King

Longitude by Dava Sobel

Mountains of the Mind by Robert MacFarlane

The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution by Patrick Cockburn


ECFR’s World in 30 Minutes (Podcast)

14th April, 2015

With an EU-Ukraine summit coming up this month, in this episode of World in 30 Minutes Mark Leonard, Director of ECFR, speaks to Kadri Liik and Vessela Tcherneva from ECFR's Wider Europe Programme, and Carl Bildt, co-chair and former Foreign Minister of Sweden. They discuss their recent study trip to Kiev and Minsk were they met with the Ukrainian president Poroshenko, Maidan activists, think-tanks and ministers.


Geo-economics: Seven Challenges to Globalization (Podcast)

30th March, 2015

ECFR Director and co-author of the publication 'Geo-economics: Seven Challenges to Globalization', Mark Leonard, talks about the main battlefield between great powers being economic rather than military. He also gives his thoughts on what states can do to prevent geopolitics from unravelling the globalization of the world economy.

To read Mark Leonard's recent article about geo-economics and globalization published in the Financial Times, click here.

Cover: China 3.0 (Deutsche Version)

China 3.0 (Deutsche Version)

by Mark Leonard - 26th March, 2015

Chinesische Experten und Intellektuelle analysieren im ECFR-Essayband „China 3.0“ die politischen Trends, die das neue China ausmachen.


The British problem - View from the Capitals (Blog)

by Olaf Boehnke & Piotr Buras & Silvia Francescon & José Ignacio Torreblanca & Mark Leonard & Vessela Tcherneva - 13th March, 2015

The heads of five of our national offices explain their national perspectives on a possible Brexit.

Cover: The British problem and what it means for Europe

The British problem and what it means for Europe

by Mark Leonard - 11th March, 2015

With the prospect of a referendum before 2017, a British Exit from the EU led by a Europhobic elite is a real possibility – with disasterous consequences.


Interview with Joseph Nye (Blog)

by Mark Leonard - 17th February, 2015

Professor Joseph Nye talks to ECFR Director Mark Leonard about his new book "Is the American Century Over?".

Read all from Mark Leonard

Read all publications from Mark Leonard


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