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Michael Mandelbaum
Foreign Policy Specialist 
 Professor, Johns Hopkins
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Michael Mandelbaum
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Johns Hopkins foreign policy specialist and bestselling author Michael Mandelbaum is known for his ability to explain the meaning and consequences of complicated global developments and trends. The New York Times called him "one of the country's leading public intellectuals," and Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers.

Co-written with Thomas Friedman, Mandelbaum's That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, debuted at #2 on The New York Times bestsellers list. Library Journal called it “a book of exceptional importance” that “should be read by policymakers and every American concerned about our country's future.”

Mandelbaum is the author or co-author of 16 books, including The Case for GoliathDemocracy’s Good NameThe Meaning of Sports, and The Frugal Superpower, which The Financial Times named one of the best non-fiction books of 2010.  His classic, The Ideas That Conquered the World, has been translated into seven languages, including Chinese and Arabic. Henry Kissinger praised it as “illuminating and thought-provoking.”  

His latest book, 2016's Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era,  was given a starred review by Kirkus. Thomas Friedman said, "A's going to be one of the most talked about foreign policy books of the year." In 2014, Simon & Schuster published The Road to Global Prosperity, which looks at the future of the global economy and includes sections on financial stability, international security, the politics of trade, and emerging markets. 

The Christian A. Herter Professor Emeritus of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Mandelbaum has taught at Columbia University, Harvard, and The United States Naval Academy. He was educated at Yale, Cambridge, and Harvard.

A former Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Mandelbaum serves on the board of advisors of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The World Affairs Councils of America named him one of the most influential people in American foreign policy. He has been a guest on Charlie RoseFace The Nation, and The Daily Show.


Full Bio >
  • Mandelbaum on Global Economy and It’s Future at World Affairs Council of Houston (2015)
  • Mandelbaum at Carnegie Council: Global Challenges for the U.S (2012)
  • “The Road to Global Prosperity" Remains Secure (2014)
  • Intelligence Squared debate: Should America be the world’s policeman?
  • Mandelbaum on China's role in the global economy (2012)
  • Mandelbaum on MSNBC Discussing Jobs & Economic Turn Around (2011)
  • Charlie Rose: Mandelbaum on Russia (2009)
  • Mandelbaum on “Democracy’s Good Name” at Council on Foreign Relations (2008)
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Speaking Topics
Brexit, Populism, and the Future of the Global Economy

A wave of populism is sweeping the West, with the British vote to leave the European Union, the rise of Donald Trump in the United States, and the increasing prominence of anti-immigrant, anti-trade political parties across Europe.  These developments have a common source: discontent with globalization.

In this speech, Michael Mandelbaum, author of the acclaimed book on globalization “The Road to Global Prosperity,” explains why the backlash against the 150-year-old process of global economic integration is so severe now and why the likeliest response to these political challenges is a slowing but not a reversal of globalization. He assesses the various forces that will shape the global economy over the next decade, including the unlikely but far-from-impossible events that could do far more serious damage.

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Geopolitics and Global Risks

An analysis of geopolitical developments, risks, and trends around the world. What matters now and what will affect companies, countries, and markets in the years ahead? Michael Mandelbaum discusses a range of issues, including: the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s aggressive policies towards its neighbors, the dangers posed by “rogue” countries such as North Korea and Iran, China’s ambitions in the East and South China Seas, the ongoing upheavals in the Middle East, the future of the euro and the European Union, and the changing role of the United States in a world of shifting alliances and increasingly dispersed power and influence.

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Why Donald Trump? The 2016 Election and What Comes Next

Why have two economic populists from outside the mainstream of American politics, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, dominated the 2016 presidential election? The answer is globalization. Their campaigns are directed against globalization’s three component parts: the cross-border movement of people (immigration), of money (Wall Street), and of products (trade agreements). Whatever happens with their candidacies this year, this set of issues will shape American politics, economics, and government for years to come. In this talk Michael Mandelbaum, bestselling author of That Used to Be Us and the 2014 book about the global economy, The Road to Global Prosperity, explains the causes of the economic distress out of which the Trump and Sanders candidacies have grown and discusses the public policies that are necessary for dealing effectively with them.

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The Future of Democracy

Democracy is the most widespread political system in the world, but in the last decade, new and formidable challenges to it have arisen. Michael Mandelbaum, the author of Democracy’s Good Name: The Rise and the Risks of the World’s Most Popular Form of Government, explains how and why democracy took hold in so many countries in the last three decades of the 20th century. In this speech, Mandelbaum discusses the prospects for it in the most important non-democracies — China and Russia — as well as the major challenges it faces where it has long been established, especially in the United States.

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Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era

The quarter century between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a unique period in American foreign policy. Free from major foreign threats, the United States concentrated on bringing stability, democracy, and prosperity to a wide variety of countries, from China and Russia to Afghanistan and Iraq. In this speech, Michael Mandelbaum explains why the American efforts failed everywhere, how this unique period ended, and what foreign policy challenges America faces in its wake.

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What's Next for the BRICs
The American Agenda: What the 2016 Election Should Be About
The Middle East: An Update
What We Can Learn From Sports: Lessons for Leadership, Management & Life
The Energy Challenge: How Green Will Our Future Be?

Dr. Mandelbaum explores the energy challenge and “going green” as an issue of both international economics and politics, as well as a matter of leadership and international cooperation. He offers his analysis and his predictions about the direction, the scope, and the scale of change in America’s energy policies and the challenges we face in adopting green technologies in the decade ahead. He also gives his views on the actions that we can take and the policies that we can adopt to meet these challenges.

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Books & Other Works
  • Mission Failure
  • The Road to Global Prosperity
  • That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back
  • The Frugal Superpower: America's Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era
  • Democracy's Good Name: The Rise and Risks of the World's Most Popular Form of Government
  • The Case for Goliath: How America Acts as the World's Government in the 21st Century
  • The Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy, and Free Markets in the 21st Century
  • The Meaning of Sports: Why Americans Watch Baseball, Football, and Basketball and What They See...
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“He was fantastic -- one of the best ever. And such a gentleman.”
Joint Venture Silicon Valley
“There was an overwhelming positive response from the audience to Dr. Mandelbaum’s presentation. He was clear, succinct and full of insightful analysis that captivated the audience and resulted in an engaging question and answer session. He was one of the best speakers we’ve hosted.”
Southern Illinois University
“Dr. Mandelbaum was terrific, and performed as promised. He's a great thinker, and a gentleman too. Many people gushed about hearing from him, and many wanted to hear more.”
Tishman Speyer
“I received universally positive feedback from my colleagues, who thought your presentation was both interesting and thought provoking.”
Blank Rome LLP
“Dr. Mandelbaum did a great job and the participants I have talked with during breaks/lunch today were very impressed.”
Eli Lilly
“Professor Mandelbaum provided an intellectually stimulating speech, while at the same time being personable and engaging to our guests. We have had nothing but positive remarks from all who attended.”
Minneapolis Portfolio Management Group
“Thank you for speaking as a part of the Kellogg Distinguished Lecture Series. We've received a good deal of positive feedback from those who attended, who found your talk both compelling and relevant.”
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
“Professor Mandelbaum is an exceptional speaker in every respect " highly articulate, well-informed, and unusually insightful. The ease and brilliance with which he moved between the worlds of international politics and business, and showed how they are inter-connected, was truly impressive, and most helpful to our executives.”
“For pure intellectual firepower and a wonderfully inspiring delivery, there is no better speaker than Professor Michael Mandelbaum.”
Houston World Affairs Council
“I have heard a lot of very positive buzz. I hear he was informative, interesting and engaging! I think he worked out beautifully!”
“Our team has been flooded with positive feedback regarding Michael Mandelbaum's presentation and the discussion it sparked. We could not have been more pleased.”
“Thanks go to you for being such an informative and exciting speaker. As you could see, our audience was enthralled and appreciated your honesty, immense knowledge, and giving so graciously of your time and expertise.”
92nd Street Y
“They could have listened to him forever.”
Matrix Midland Festival
“Michael did a great job. We had many positive comments following the lunch. The crowd was really engaged.”
The Bank of New York Trust Company
“You relayed very powerful messages on the macroeconomic context in which our sector is doing business, communicated with great clarity, vision and insight. Many delegates commented on how much they appreciated your presentation.”
The CIES World Food Business Summit
“Your presentation and the discussion that followed were a model of what these meetings seek to offer, namely informed, incisive exchanges of views on key issues. This particular exchange was memorable.”
JP Morgan Chase
“Your insights into Germany and Japan and, more broadly, Europe and Asia were thought-provoking and offered our clients a wonderful context in which to view some of their investment decisions going forward.”
“Your presentation was superb. I have received many calls from colleagues commending the Secretary of State's Open Forum for having invited you to participate in our Distinguished Lecture Series. Your remarks were eloquent and insightful.”
U.S. Department of State
“I would like to thank you for your excellent survey of the status of globalization. I have received very positive comments from the participants on your speech. It really contributed to the level of the meeting.”
“We have heard nothing but words of praise from our audience... well received, with many comments about your complete command of the subject matter, insight, clear communication skills, and engaging manner.”
San Joaquin Valley Town Hall
“We were thrilled with Michael Mandelbaum's presentation. He got rave reviews. His talk was interesting, thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating.”
Villanova University
“Your comments and good humor made the leadership breakfast a true event. Your presentation based upon your book was riveting and enlightening. I couldn’t have made a better selection in speakers. The Commissioners and I are so grateful for you time, energy, and the passion which you shared with the more than 200 leaders at our conference. I hope you will keep in touch when you return to the Valley of the Sun on visits in the future. Again, I am truly grateful for your good thinking, great presentation, and giving us a vision of what our state can be.”
Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education
American Dream
Climate Change
Emerging Markets
Foreign Affairs
Free Trade
Global Economy
Global Warming
Green Business
International Relations
Latin America
Middle East
National Security
Nuclear Proliferation
Political Analysis
Renewable Energy
Risk Management
Thought Leaders
United Nations
World Economic Forum