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Afshin  Molavi

Afshin Molavi

Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies


Afshin Molavi is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC, where he writes broadly on global geopolitical risk and opportunities in a world in transition. He is also co-founder of the emerge85 Lab, an initiative dedicated to exploring the economic, political, and cultural ramifications arising from rapid urbanization, unprecedented connectivity, and growing middle classes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America – home to 85% of the world’s population. Read More >

With postings across the Middle East and wide travels across Asia as a risk analyst, Molavi has a unique vantage point on the defining geopolitical and geo-economic issues facing our time from the US-China confrontation to the “rise of the rest,” from the future of energy to the future of globalization. Synthesizing macro and societal trends with local on-the-ground experience, Molavi has written widely on a range of issues from the intersection of whisky and globalization to the evolving geopolitics of the Middle East to the rapid proliferation of South Korea and Turkish pop culture, which he dubbed “Gangnam Style Globalization.”

A former journalist with Reuters, the Washington Post and others, Molavi’s writings over the years have appeared in the Financial Times, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, BloombergView, Newsweek, Businessweek, Journal of Commerce, National Geographic, Institutional Investor, and dozens of academic and specialty publications, and he has been a regular guest on CNN, BBC, Bloomberg and other channels.

Molavi has also served as a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation think tank, where he was a former director of the World Economy Roundtable. Previously, Molavi has also worked as an advisor at the International Finance Corporation, the private sector development arm of the World Bank and at Oxford Analytica, the global advisory firm. Molavi is a regular speaker at investment conferences and has taught courses for senior career US government officials from all five branches of the military and beyond.

He is also founder and editor of Emerging World, a Substack newsletter that examines key geopolitical and geo-economic trends shaping our world, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

He is also an avid reader, a “weekend warrior” in basketball and tennis, a long-suffering Washington sports fan, an award-winning documentary film producer, and father of two kids. He lives in Washington DC. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos


The Iran Nuclear Deal | CGTN

On US-China Trade Tensions | CGTN

Speech Topics

The Five Disruption-Proof Trends Shaping Our World & Their Impact on Politics, Business & Technology

From rapid urbanization and growing middle classes to unprecedented connectivity and technology acceleration, Molavi navigates audiences through five key demographic and universal growth trends that are reshaping our world. He describes these shifts as “disruption-proof” in that they transcend our day-to-day political, economic and trade developments. Understanding their importance will help any organization navigate the competitive global landscape for the next twenty-five years.

The New Geopolitical Risk (and Opportunity) Map of the World

From the growing U.S-China Cold War to rapidly evolving Middle East geopolitics to a resurgent Russia and the new techno-fueled populism, the macro geopolitical environment is as fluid and uncertain as any time in recent history. Author and geopolitical strategist Afshin Molavi explores the straight out-of-the-headlines issues shaping our world today, while geo-locating them in the broad tectonic trends shaping our future. A veteran risk analyst with postings in the Middle East and Asia, Molavi brings personal on-the-ground experience as well as academic rigor to his exploration of the key questions around geopolitical risks and - he is quick to point -- geopolitical opportunities in a world in transition.

Shanghai, Mumbai, Dubai or Goodbye: The New, New Emerging Markets Transformation & What It Means for Our World

Author and geopolitical strategist Afshin Molavi takes a tour around the new geo-economic horizon reshaping our world, and what it means for markets, cultures, societies, and politics. As a former Dubai-based journalist and Asia risk strategist, Molavi brings personal anecdotes, deep economic insights, and broad trends analysis into an illuminating, entertaining tour of our evolving world. Molavi goes beyond the BRICs and beyond the usual markets analysis to dive deep into newly forming alliances, key consumer trends, and major macro shifts shaping what he calls the “85 world” - where 85% of the world’s population lives, from Asia to Africa to Latin America to the Middle East.

Gangnam Style Globalization & Our New World Order

From South Korean K-Pop boy bands to the rise of Turkish soap operas and Indian Netflix serials, a new globalization of pop culture is emerging around the world. This “Gangnam Style Globalization” reflects a new, rapidly evolving global geopolitical and geoeconomic climate that is shaping and re-shaping our future, creating new centers of political and economic power, and forcing investors and policy-makers to rethink their mental maps of the future. Author and geopolitical strategist Afshin Molavi takes audiences on an illuminating and entertaining tour of this evolving world - though he promises to not do the Gangnam Style dance in process.