Experts & Staff


Mark Leonard

Director

Languages: English, French, German
Areas of Expertise: Geopolitics and Geoeconomics; 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. His topics of focus include geopolitics and geoeconomics, China, and EU institutions. 

Leonard 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 TimesLe MondeSüddeutsche ZeitungEl PaisGazeta WyborczaForeign Policy, the New Statesman, the Daily TelegraphThe EconomistTime, and Newsweek.

As well as writing and commenting frequently in the media on global affairs, Leonard 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. Leonard's second book, What does China think? was published in 2008 and translated into 15 languages. He has published an edited volume on Connectivity Wars and is working on a forthcoming book on the same topic. 


Latest from Mark Leonard

  • Cover: Can Europe catch up in the digitalisation and innovation race?

    Can Europe catch up in the digitalisation and innovation race?

    During the Munich Strategy Forum 2019, host Mark Leonard sat down Toomas Ilves, the former president of Estonia aka the first smart country and “digital nation” in the world. What could we learn from this small EU member state when it comes to digitalisation? How did the digital revolution change foreign relations and international relations? And what role does Europe play it in? Frankly, does it play any role at all? Toomas Ilves points out how the lack of a common digital market puts the EU behind in advancing innovation and digitalisation in the 21st century. He urges Europe to finally merge the “two cultures” of sciences/tech and humanities to become a digital player in the world.

    This podcast was recorded on 2 December 2019.

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    Cover: Multilateralism is dead – long live multilateralism!

    Multilateralism is dead – long live multilateralism!

    Today, 100 years ago, the Versailles Contract went into effect which established the League of the Nations and laid the foundations for multilateralism. In 2019, Germany and France launched the Alliance for Multilateralism aiming at showing that countries still "support multilateralism and support the United Nations (to) remain the majority in the world," as French Foreign Minister Le Drian said. Planning to establish a network of countries ready to join forces and efforts on inequality or climate change, the Alliance also wants the members to strongly commit to a rules-based international order. But how will this look like in reality? Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, explains to Mark Leonard some concrete measures and how the old tale of the German-Franco friendship still serves as a role model for other countries for how to overcome decades of conflicts and rivalry.
    Further information: www.multilateralism.org

    This podcast was recorded on 3 December 2019.

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    Cover: De “facto declaration of war”? - Soleimani’s killing as turning point in the Middle East

    De "facto declaration of war"? - Soleimani's killing as turning point in the Middle East

    With the US-killing of the Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani, the Middle East has been yet again sent in the heart to geopolitical uncertainty and frenzy. What does the killing mean for the future of the region, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the US role within it? Was there a strategy behind this offence and if yes, what kind? How should Europe react? In a special podcast edition, Mark Leonard talks with our senior policy fellows Ellie Geranmayeh, Jeremy Shapiro and Julien Barnes-Dacey about the implications for the neighbouring countries, Europe’s mediation role and whether there is a chance for de-escalation.

    This podcast was recorded on 6 January 2020.

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    Top ten foreign policy trends in 2020 (Commentary)

    Mark Leonard & Jeremy Shapiro - 03 January 2020

    Top ten trends that will occupy European foreign policymakers in 2020


    Cover: Ten Foreign Policy Trends for 2020

    Ten Foreign Policy Trends for 2020

    ‘Tis the season! ...when Mark Leonard and Jeremy Shapiro review the year gone by and predict 10 foreign policy trends (plus two bonus ones) that will define 2020, the beginning of a new decade.
    With a score of 6.5/10 they couldn’t sustain last year’s success but can still pat themselves on their backs - or what do you think? Let us know about your foreign policy predictions for the upcoming year.
    Comment below or e-mail us!

    This podcast was recorded on 16 December 2019.

    Bookshelf:

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    Cover: 1989 - The Firstborns of a New Age

    1989 - The Firstborns of a New Age

    In this bonus episode of our 1989 podcast miniseries, host Mark Leonard is joined by ECFR's young generation, all born between 1988-1990. Coming from the former GDR and Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Venezuela and the UK, they grew up in a borderless world, in a united Europe, with their parent's optimism about the future but with their teenage years shaped by the financial crisis and 9/11. So what did 1989 mean for their lives? And how will this generation influence the world and politics once it's their turn?

    This podcast was recorded on 18 December 2019.

    Bookshelf:

    Films:

    Listen online   


  • Cover: Can Europe catch up in the digitalisation and innovation race?

    Can Europe catch up in the digitalisation and innovation race?

    During the Munich Strategy Forum 2019, host Mark Leonard sat down Toomas Ilves, the former president of Estonia aka the first smart country and “digital nation” in the world. What could we learn from this small EU member state when it comes to digitalisation? How did the digital revolution change foreign relations and international relations? And what role does Europe play it in? Frankly, does it play any role at all? Toomas Ilves points out how the lack of a common digital market puts the EU behind in advancing innovation and digitalisation in the 21st century. He urges Europe to finally merge the “two cultures” of sciences/tech and humanities to become a digital player in the world.

    This podcast was recorded on 2 December 2019.

    Bookshelf:

    Listen online   

    Cover: Multilateralism is dead – long live multilateralism!

    Multilateralism is dead – long live multilateralism!

    Today, 100 years ago, the Versailles Contract went into effect which established the League of the Nations and laid the foundations for multilateralism. In 2019, Germany and France launched the Alliance for Multilateralism aiming at showing that countries still "support multilateralism and support the United Nations (to) remain the majority in the world," as French Foreign Minister Le Drian said. Planning to establish a network of countries ready to join forces and efforts on inequality or climate change, the Alliance also wants the members to strongly commit to a rules-based international order. But how will this look like in reality? Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, explains to Mark Leonard some concrete measures and how the old tale of the German-Franco friendship still serves as a role model for other countries for how to overcome decades of conflicts and rivalry.
    Further information: www.multilateralism.org

    This podcast was recorded on 3 December 2019.

    Bookshelf:

    Listen online   

    Cover: De “facto declaration of war”? - Soleimani’s killing as turning point in the Middle East

    De "facto declaration of war"? - Soleimani's killing as turning point in the Middle East

    With the US-killing of the Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani, the Middle East has been yet again sent in the heart to geopolitical uncertainty and frenzy. What does the killing mean for the future of the region, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the US role within it? Was there a strategy behind this offence and if yes, what kind? How should Europe react? In a special podcast edition, Mark Leonard talks with our senior policy fellows Ellie Geranmayeh, Jeremy Shapiro and Julien Barnes-Dacey about the implications for the neighbouring countries, Europe’s mediation role and whether there is a chance for de-escalation.

    This podcast was recorded on 6 January 2020.

    Bookshelf:

    Listen online   

    Cover: Ten Foreign Policy Trends for 2020

    Ten Foreign Policy Trends for 2020

    ‘Tis the season! ...when Mark Leonard and Jeremy Shapiro review the year gone by and predict 10 foreign policy trends (plus two bonus ones) that will define 2020, the beginning of a new decade.
    With a score of 6.5/10 they couldn’t sustain last year’s success but can still pat themselves on their backs - or what do you think? Let us know about your foreign policy predictions for the upcoming year.
    Comment below or e-mail us!

    This podcast was recorded on 16 December 2019.

    Bookshelf:

    Listen online   

    Cover: 1989 - The Firstborns of a New Age

    1989 - The Firstborns of a New Age

    In this bonus episode of our 1989 podcast miniseries, host Mark Leonard is joined by ECFR's young generation, all born between 1988-1990. Coming from the former GDR and Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Venezuela and the UK, they grew up in a borderless world, in a united Europe, with their parent's optimism about the future but with their teenage years shaped by the financial crisis and 9/11. So what did 1989 mean for their lives? And how will this generation influence the world and politics once it's their turn?

    This podcast was recorded on 18 December 2019.

    Bookshelf:

    Films:

    Listen online   

    Cover: 1989 – the beginning of history

    1989 – the beginning of history

    In the 1990s 13 out 15 European countries were led by social democratic governments and the transatlantic relationship came out strong by “winning the Cold War”. The fall of Berlin Wall and dissolution of the Soviet Union was considered as a turning point for Europe’s future and it symbolized the greatest common achievement of US and Europe at that time. But since then, EU-US relations and most of the social democratic parties in Europe have been deteriorating. Did the West underestimate the forces of liberalism and globalisation which took European states by storm? In this episode, Sylvie Kauffmann with host Mark Leonard untangles some of the many interconnections and which 1989 provoked or brought to light.

    This podcast was recorded on 4 December 2019.

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    Cover: America’s 1989

    America's 1989

    In the fourth episode on the events of 1989 and how they have shaped and may continue to shape our world in the years to come, host Mark Leonard is joined by Jeremy Shapiro. Jeremy Shapiro is research director here at ECFR, and is able to provide an account of the American experience of 1989, which was much less dramatic than European and Russian collective memories of the event. Nevertheless, 1989 is an interesting jumping-off point for thinking about the lenses of US foreign policy and the foreign enemy paradigm it appears to require. In dialogue with our previous contributors- Timothy Garton Ash and Fyodor Lukyanov- Shapiro analyses the neglect of Russia in American foreign policy thinking and addresses issues such as the rise of China. Did the EU ever really develop a security order accepted by the Russians? What could the US or Europe have done differently in the wake of the Cold War?

    This podcast was recorded on 27 November 2019.

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    Cover: The first beneficiaries of 1989

    The first beneficiaries of 1989

    Host Mark Leonard has an intimate discussion with our heads of offices from Sofia and Warsaw, Vessela Tcherneva and Piotr Buras about their experiences, hopes and dreams during the transition times of the 1990s. How did their life and future change the minute the Berlin Wall fell? What are this generation’s thoughts 30 years later and predications for Europe in the coming 30 years?

    This podcast was recorded on 21 November 2019.

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Contact

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)20 7227 6869

@markhleonard on Twitter

Mark Leonard on Twitter