Sam Wilkin


About Sam Wilkin - Leading Geopolitical Analyst and Author:

Sam Wilkin author and geopolitical analyst is director of political risk analytics at Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that operates in more than 140 countries and markets. He is responsible for developing and implementing political risk analysis and management tools and solutions for Willis Towers Watson clients globally.

Sam’s most recent book, History Repeating: Why Populists Rise and Governments Fall, published in April 2018, explains today’s tumultuous politics by showing that it has all happened before. It tells the stories of Argentina’s century of populism and decline, of the great American populist Huey Long, and of the divisive, populist billionaire who governed Thailand, among others - and in the process offers insight into what is happening now and what might happen next.

Sam is also the author, co-author or editor of three additional books and of numerous articles and chapters in edited volumes. He previously served as head of business research at Oxford Economics, associate director of the consultancy practice at Oxford Analytica, head of political risk consulting for Aon Trade Credit and as director of country analysis for Marvin Zonis & Associates.

He received his M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago and B.A. in economics from Eckerd College, and was the 2004 alumni fellow for Eckerd College. In 2017 and 2018 he was a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

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What Sam Wilkin Talks About:

Where Does Crazy Politics Come From?
Have you heard that politics has gone crazy? Well, it hasn’t. In this talk, Sam shows how our personal political behaviors, while making sense on an individual level, can combine to produce developments such as polarization, “populist” leaders, and trade wars. Understanding how our own motivations have produced today’s tumultuous politics helps us see where things might go next – and also makes everything a bit less surprising and alarming.

Hashtag Politics
Technology and politics have collided – and it was ever thus. The Arab Spring, Donald Trump’s election, Brexit, and the Hong Kong protests all have something in common: they wouldn’t have happened without new technologies including the mobile phone and social media. And yet, while smartphones are new, the link between technology and political upheaval has been around for centuries. Indeed, as Sam will show, technology has been shaking up politics since the invention of the printing press – which puts today’s hashtag revolutions in context and, more importantly, gives us an idea of what might happen next.

Populists and Revolutionaries: Who they Were, Why they Rose, and How they Fell
So-called “populists” have exploded onto the political scene, from AMLO in Mexico to the UK’s Boris Johnson, and “populist” has, in many cases, become a political insult. It wasn’t always that way. In this talk, Sam introduces the traditions of populism, explains what the arrival of populists means for today’s politics, and shows how populists are democracy’s revolutionaries. Profiling some well-known (and some long-forgotten) populists and revolutionaries of history, Sam explains what makes a populist, why they rise, and the unexpected things that happen when populists start winning office.

Navigating the New Geopolitical Normal
Trade wars, populist politics, secessionist movements, the rise of nationalism, great power conflict…these trends are part of the new geopolitical normal, and pose severe challenges to businesses. In this talk, Sam offers a whirlwind tour of these issues and shows how some companies are thriving in this new normal – where geopolitical volatility can lead to not only risk but commercial opportunity.

NOTE: enjoy some meat with your politics? In this talk, Sam can discuss the impact of political events on the economy and financial markets – if you enjoy a graph or two.

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 Recent Publications

A real subject matter expert with great insight and always delivers his messages in an engaging and humorous way.

Director, European Reseller & Supplies Group at Xerox

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