Meghan L. O'Sullivan

Geopolitical Authority & Presidential Advisor, Harvard Professor & Administrator
Meghan O'Sullivan smiling in a purple blazer
  • Harvard professor and geopolitical expert who has advised our nation’s highest-ranking leaders on complex foreign policy decisions
  • A member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Board who also serves on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Shares firsthand insights on geopolitics today and leads a fascinating exploration into the geopolitics of energy
  • Called “one of this century’s most influential people” by Esquire

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Few people have had the immense impact that Meghan O’Sullivan has had at the highest levels of geopolitics. She is a globally respected geopolitical expert who has advised the nation’s highest-ranking leaders — from President George W. Bush to Secretary of State Antony Blinken — on some of the most-complex challenges in international affairs. Currently, Dr. O’Sullivan is the Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. There, she leads 300 scholars, practitioners, and staff as they advance the boundaries of international relations, security, technology, science, energy, and the environment. The Belfer Center has consistently been ranked as the world’s top academic think tank.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Dr. O’Sullivan’s expertise is sought after by the U.S. government and global businesses, and she has been called “one of this century’s most influential people” by Esquire Magazine. She shares an engrossing overview of hot-button geopolitical issues and draws from her experiences in government, business, and diplomacy to shed crucial insights into foreign policy, national security, energy markets, and other areas of interest. Her speaking and writing on how large changes in the energy system — from advances in technology to extract oil and gas to the global move away from carbon-intensive fuels — has shaped how policymakers, businesses, and academics alike view these issues. As she hones in on topics such as the ever-evolving U.S.-China dynamic, the ties between Europe and Russia, and the changing energy and climate landscape, she relates her insights back to audience members and their organizations, and shares feasible strategies for how they can assess risk and adapt their businesses to geopolitical shifts.

Dr. O’Sullivan has been an influential presence in geopolitics for nearly three decades and continues to be one of the foremost authorities in her field. In addition to serving as a partner at the strategic consulting firm Macro Advisory Partners and as the chair of the North American Group of the Trilateral Commission, she is a member of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Foreign Policy Advisory Board. Previously, she was special assistant to President George W. Bush and deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan, and served on the ground in Iraq for a total of two years. At the National Security Council, she played the key role in building consensus on — and overseeing the execution of — new policy directions in Iraq and Afghanistan, including helping lead the policy review that led to what now known as “the Surge” in Iraq. Earlier in her career, she worked under Secretary of State Colin Powell in the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning.  

On top of her standing as one of the world’s most-trusted geopolitical experts, Dr. O’Sullivan is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, has served on the board of Raytheon Technologies, and is a on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her board and advisory responsibilities also include roles with the International Crisis Group and The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization that supports our nation’s veterans. She is on the advisory committee for the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, as well as Columbia University’s Global Energy Policy.

The award-winning author of Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power, Dr. O’Sullivan has written several books and articles on international affairs. For her contributions in her field, she was awarded the Department of Defense’s highest civilian honor: the Distinguished Public Service Medal. She is also a three-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.

Dr. O’Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, a Master of Science in economics, and doctorate in politics from Oxford University. She was a Henry Crown Fellow from 2015-2017 and a Henry Luce Fellow in Indonesia from 1991-1992.

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From the Frontlines: Making Sense of Geopolitics Today. Among the world’s most influential geopolitical experts, Meghan O’Sullivan has advised the nation’s highest-ranking leaders on complex global matters. Governments, corporations, and organizations across the globe continue to seek out her counsel as they work to develop solutions to today’s top issues in international relations. In this sweeping talk, she engages the audience with frontline insights on today’s top geopolitical topics — from the U.S-China dynamic to the energy and climate crisis to instability and war in Europe to the rise of new world powers. She relates the subject matter back to audience members and their organizations, illustrating how shifts in foreign policy, national security, and global markets impact business and society in both the short and long term.

The New Geopolitics of Energy and Climate. Called “one of the century’s most influential people,” Meghan O’Sullivan is a geopolitical insider whose advisement is sought out by world leaders, global organizations, and businesses across industries as they look to adapt to the geopolitical factors that are reshaping society. Dr. O’Sullivan is particularly versed in the geopolitics of energy and the transition away from fossil fuels, sharing her knowledge in the media and in her award-winning book, Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power. In this talk, Dr. O’Sullivan underscores why and how the coming energy transition will be the biggest geopolitical risk in the coming decades.  She explains how this shift toward cleaner energy is remaking the global landscape for businesses and governments alike and offers a new lens through which to view the unfolding of global affairs.

The Global Impact of China, Russia, and India. Russia, China, and India remain at the center of the geopolitical landscape and are expected to be major players on the world’s stage for the foreseeable future. In this talk, geopolitical expert Meghan O’Sullivan discusses the political and economic dynamics that Russia, China, and India bring to global affairs and the impact on business and society in every corner of the world. Able to break down multi-layered geopolitical issues in a way that brings the insights most relevant to the audience to light, she addresses the role these countries play in shaping the global markets, analyzes their relationships with the United States and other major powers, and talks through the possible implications of their growing assertiveness in international affairs.  

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