A career diplomat, Sir John Sawers has more than 3 decades of experience in international affairs, geopolitics and security; having spent 36 years in public service culminating in his five-year tenure as head of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service.
Prior to leading MI6, where he's been described as a “smooth operator” and likened to Pierce Brosnan's portrayal of James Bond, John Sawers was the UK's Ambassador to the United Nations (2007-2009), Political Director of the Foreign Office (2003-2007), Special Representative in Iraq (2003), Ambassador to Cairo (2001-2003) and Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister (1999-2001). The latter of which involved dealing with all aspects of foreign and defence policy, working closely with international counterparts. The period included the Kosovo War and work on the Northern Ireland peace process and implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. He was also posted to Washington, South Africa, Damascus and Sanaa.
Sir John has extensive experience in international affairs, representing the British Government around the world and leading negotiations at the United Nations, in the European Union and the G8. In recognition of his years of public and diplomatic service, he was made a GCMG in the 2015 New Year's Honours List.
At MI6 - an organisation with global reach and impact - as Chief Executive and Chairman of the board, Sir John Sawers took the organisation through a period of modernisation and reform. He was also a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Main Board from 2003-07.
A keen academic, Sir John Sawers attended the universities of Witwatersrand in South Africa and Harvard in the US. He is the father of three grown-up children and a keen athlete who enjoys hiking, tennis and cycling.
A highly articulate, engaging and sought-after keynote speaker, Sir John Sawers presents on a number of different topics and themes. The most requested of these are:
Geopolitics and the State of the World
Sir John Sawers’ presentation is a powerful insight to the unpredictable global landscape and how it is affecting the world today. Believing that the ongoing battle for “shared values and order” will most affect the outcomes of our global challenges, he offers insights on the forces and key players shaping today’s geopolitics, the limits of security, and gives practical advice for how organisations can make it work for them.
Sir John draws from his personal experience in managing the most challenging foreign and security policy issues of the last 20 years, including the rise of China, the evolution of Russia, the threat of terrorism and cyber attack, the changes in the Middle East, and the nuclear negotiations in Iran.
Sir John Sawers understands our nation’s need to adapt to our ever-changing informational landscape and the dangers, risks, and potential rewards of our digital security environment. He looks at the current cyber threats, the policy of cyber security, the likelihood of a wide scale attach, and what organisations can do to protect themselves. As “cyber attacks are not much impressed by international borders,” he also discusses a need for an international approach to cyber security and shares insights on privacy versus security concerns and how audiences should be managing that balance in their own businesses.
Global Investments in a Chaotic World
Sir John Sawers offers audiences a debrief on the state of the world and shares insights on the ramifications of today’s hot spots on our global financial marketplace.
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