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Niall Ferguson

Historian, Economics Expert & Harvard Professor

Global politics and economics speaker Niall Ferguson is one of the world’s most acclaimed thought-leaders on international affairs. His insights are well informed, drawing on the past to educate audiences on present situations and big-picture future outlooks. Niall is a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies, Harvard.

Lexington, Massachusetts, USA


Networks & Hierarchies | History’s Hidden Networks
Networks are the key to history. The greatest innovators have been ‘superhubs’ of connections. The most powerful states, empires and companies have been those with the most densely networked structures. And the most transformative ideas – from the printing presses that launched the Reformation to the Freemasonry that inspired the American Revolution – have gone viral precisely because of the networks within which they spread. 

Key Takeaways:
• The core insights to network science & how they impact society.
• A new way of understanding how our future might unfold.

Risk Management | Applying History in Real Time: A Tale of Two Crises
Policymakers generally have at least some historical assumptions, even if they have not been formally trained as historians. Often, these assumptions play a critical role in decision making. In this presentation, Niall Fergusons compares two historical crisis to show the key role historical analogies played in the debates between stakeholders. When stakeholders come from different conceptual worlds outcomes for success can be challenged. 

Key Takeaways:
• How policy-based decision making requires a greater degree of scrutiny.
• Risk Managers can be taught to interrogate explicitly their unspoken assumptions.

Politics | Post-Populism & Globalization
We are in the middle of a populist backlash against globalization. Financial crises, growing inequality, high levels of migration and distrust in government have made fertile ground for nationalist demagogues promising a return to the good old days. But what happens next? Historically, populist economic policies have often carried the seeds of their own destruction, and strongmen are deserted by their disappointed followers when miracles do not appear. Will this be the fate of the triumphant populists of today, from Trump and Orban to the Brexiteers?

Key Takeaways:
• A recipe for populism: The five key ingredients for audience building.

The Ascent and Descent of Money: What Went Wrong with Western Finance?
Niall Ferguson follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of our financial system, from its genesis in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance. What’s more, Ferguson reveals financial history as the essential backstory behind all history, arguing that the evolution of credit and debt was as important as any technological innovation in the rise of civilization. As Ferguson traces the crisis from ancient Egypt’s Memphis to today’s Chongqing, he offers bold and compelling new insights into the rise and fall of not just money but Western power as well.

Platform Plus

Panelist/In Conversation
World renowned Historian Niall Ferguson can provide informed insights on the history, standing and trajectory of Western Civilization, populism, economic shifts, social media and more.


Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service

  • Niall is a historian with a good grasp of economics, and a willingness to challenge head-on, conventional beliefs. He is highly articulate, engages the audience directly, and seems able to speak easily on a wide range of topics. He's one of the most capable and stimulating speakers I've ever seen.

    - First Quadrant
  • Niall Ferguson's keynote speech at our annual conference in Montreux on the likelihood of a return to the gold standard, was both entertaining and informative. Delegates gave him the highest rating of all the speakers on their feedback forms.

    - London Bullion Market Association
  • Niall Ferguson is a hoot! He had the audience in the palm of his hand in two seconds!

    - Distinguished Lecturer Series Vero Beach
  • Niall Ferguson was a great draw to our conference and lived up to all our expectations as a guest speaker. He understood perfectly what we were hoping for and our audience was captivated by his highly intelligent but easy to understand address.

    - GAM
  • Not only is he a brilliant speaker with a vast array of financial and historical anecdotes at his finger tips, he's also a down to earth, approachable guy. He will energize the audience with his engaging analysis of geopolitics, history and finance.

    - Drobny Capital

Summary Profile

Economics speaker Niall Ferguson provides audiences with informed insights on today’s economic shifts and geopolitical landscape. He helps organizations prepare for the game-changing developments most important to them. Niall’s presentations break through the academic jargon, in an accessible way. He empowers audiences to become more informed geopolitical observers. 

A Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies, Harvard, where he served for twelve years as the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.

His books have become staples on bestseller lists around the world & generated countless thought-provoking discussions. Some of his most acclaimed include: The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook (2018), The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (2009), Civilization: The West and the Rest (2012), and Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (2004).

He is an award-making filmmaker, too, having won an international Emmy for his PBS series “The Ascent of Money.” His many other prizes and awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013).

In addition to writing a weekly column for the Sunday Times (London) and the Boston Globe, he is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a Cambridge-based advisory firm. He also serves on the board of Affiliated Managers Group and is a trustee of the New York Historical Society and the London-based Centre for Policy Studies. Niall Ferguson is married to the author and women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. He has four children.