Panel Discussion 'The age of the strongman: populism and authoritarianism in global politics'

29 November 2022

Portrait of Professor Ricardo Soares de Oliveira

with Professor Ricardo Soares de Oliveira
Professor of the International Politics of Africa

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira is Professor of the International Politics of Africa at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford; Official Fellow of St Peter's College; and a Fellow with the Global Public Policy Institu...

Since the beginning of the millennium, when Vladimir Putin took power in Russia, authoritarian leaders have come to dominate global politics.

Self-styled strongmen have risen to power in Moscow, Beijing, Delhi, Brasilia, Budapest, Ankara, Riyadh and Washington. These leaders are nationalists and social conservatives, with little tolerance for minorities, dissent or the interests of foreigners. At home, they encourage a cult of personality and claim to stand up for ordinary people against globalist elites; abroad, they posture as the embodiments of their nations. And they are not just operating in authoritarian political systems but have begun to emerge in the heartlands of liberal democracy.

This panel’s distinguished speakers Gideon Rachman (Chief Foreign Affairs Columnist, Financial Times), Professor Margaret MacMillan (Professor of International History) and Lord Patten of Barnes (Chancellor, University of Oxford) will address the following questions: How and why did this new style of strongman leadership arrive? How likely is it to lead to global war or economic collapse? Most pressingly, we will be asking: are liberal societies, beset by internal turmoil and their own strongman dynamics, capable of checking and reversing this trend?