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2023: Leadership and Statecraft

Navigating leadership in a shifting world order.

The Engelsberg Seminar 2023 revolved around the intricate world of leadership and statecraft. With the rise of China, Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the growing influence of the Global South, the challenges facing the West evolved. The seminar aimed to provide historical insights to navigate these complex issues.

Exploring historical narratives, the seminar delved into how leaders employed them to shape and expand their domains, ranging from ancient city-states to modern empires. It also traced the development of leadership concepts over time. The seminar examined the skills and qualities required for leadership in the modern world and addressed the urgency of preserving individual freedom.

Additionally, it considered the legacies of notable leaders from the past, such as Charles de Gaulle, Konrad Adenauer, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Margaret Thatcher, and explored their impact on the Free World during the Cold War. Current challenges, including a resurgent Russia and an assertive China, were also discussed.

The seminar concluded with an examination of potential flashpoints and renewed concerns about nuclear conflict. The central question remained: could the West nurture leaders capable of successfully guiding the region through these complex challenges? Leadership and statecraft continued to play pivotal roles in shaping the course of history.


Founding Myths

Daisy Dunn

Author, Classicist, Editor of ARGO

In Pursuit of Greatness from Troy to Westminster

David Butterfield

Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge

Epicurus and the Myth of Mythlessness

Michael Scott

Professor in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick

A Man, a Community or a God? Ancient Greek Reflections on Responsibility for the Foundation of Cyrene

Creating Leaders

Alexander Lee

Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick

The Machiavellian Leader

Ali Ansari

Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews

Statecraft and Leadership in the Persianate World

Lucy Ward

Author and Journalist

She Herself Set an Example’ – Reflections on Catherine II

Henrik Meinander

Professor of History at the University of Helsinki

Mannerheim: The Formation of a Geopolitician

MP Oleksii Goncharenko

Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and Vice President of the PACE Committee on Migration

Winning the War in Ukraine

PRESENT Statecraft

Iskander Rehman

Ax:son Johnson Fellow at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS, and Senior Fellow for Strategic Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council

Information Overload and Policymaking: Insights from the Early Modern Era

Philip Zelikow

Professor of History at the University of Virginia

The ‘Craft’ in Statecraft

Elisabeth Braw:

Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute

Deterrence and Compellence in Foreign Policy: The Importance of Understanding a Country’s Adversaries

John Bew

Professor in History and Foreign Policy at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London

The Components of Statecraft: Past, Present and Future


Katja Hoyer

Historian and Journalist

Of Walkmans and Spy Gear – How East Germany Lost the Battle for Technology

Kenneth Payne

Professor of Strategy at King’s College London

AI Goes to War

James Marriott

Columnist at The Times

Why Human Art Matters in the Age of AI

Claire Coutinho

Member of Parliament for East Surrey and Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing

Freedom of Speech and the Leaders of Tomorrow

Leading the Free World

Julian Jackson

Emeritus Professor of Modern French History at Queen Mary University of London

Charles de Gaulle’s Vision of Leadership

Andreas Rödder

Chair for Modern and Contemporary History at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Helmut Schmidt Distinguished Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS

Against All Odds: Konrad Adenauer and the German Realignment

Fredrik Logevall

Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University

John F. Kennedy and the Promise of Democracy

Charles Moore

Lord Moore of Etchingham, Journalist and Biographer

Margaret Thatcher: ‘The Woman They Could do Business with


Anna Wieslander

Director for Northern Europe at the Atlantic Council

US Security Strategy Meets NATO: A Comparison

Benedetta Berti

Head of Policy Planning in the Office of the Secretary General at NATO

The Transatlantic Alliance in an Era of Strategic Competition

Gudrun Persson

Deputy Research Director at the Swedish Defence Research Agency

Russia’s War Against Ukraine – Background and Consequences

Sergey Radchenko

Wilson E. Schmidt Distinguished Professor at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Two Tigers on the Same Mountain? Reflections on the Tumultuous History and the Uncertain Future of Sino-Russian Relations

Leadership in War

Alina Polyakova

President and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis

Ukraine and the Future of US Global Leadership

Francis Gavin

Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor and Inaugural Director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS

Nuclear Weapons and the Discipline of Responsibility?

Edward Stringer

Former Senior Officer in the Royal Air Force

Leadership and Statecraft – a Military Perspective

FUTURE Flashpoints

Rory Medcalf

Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University

The Southern Front: The Australian Way in a Contested Indo-Pacific

Kentaro Fujimoto

Director and Deputy Assistant Minister of the Policy Coordination Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Japanese Foreign Policy at History’s Turning Point

John Simpson

Journalist and Foreign Correspondent

How Will the Ukraine War End and What Will the Postwar World Look Like?

Kristin Ven Bruusgaard

Director of the Norwegian Intelligence School

The Rising Nuclear Risk

Statecraft in the 21st Century

Munira Mirza

Chief Executive of Civic Future

Statecraft in Crisis: Cultivating Elites in Modern Britain

Nathan Shachar

Author and Foreign Correspondent

Trust Versus Mistrust: Swedish and Turkish Leadership

Kori Schake

Senior Fellow and Director of Foreign and Defence Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute

Statesmanship Without Mythology