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Jonathan Powell

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Jonathan Powell is a member of the LSE IDEAS Advisory Board.  He was Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1997 to 2007, having becomee Chief of Staff to Tony Blair when Blair became Leader of the Opposition in 1994. He was the only senior member of staff to serve with Blair from the beginning to the end of his time as leader of the Labour Party and was intimately involved in all the major events of those thirteen years including three successive election victories. Jonathan was the principal negotiator on Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007 and was instrumental in bringing about a lasting peace in that troubled province after centuries of conflict. He played a key role in the formulation of the Blair government's foreign policy and political strategies.

Before joining Blair, Jonathan was a diplomat for sixteen years and played a central role in the negotiations with China on the return of Hong Kong, the CDE arms control negotiations in Stockholm, the CSCE human rights negotiations with the Soviet Union in Vienna, the two plus four negotiations on German unification and the G7 summits from 1989-91. He was the political officer at the British Embassy in Washington in 1991.

In April 2008 Jonathan published Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland, a first hand account of the ten years of negotiation that led to the Northern Ireland peace settlement and subsequently made a television documentary, The Undercover Diplomat, for BBC2 and conducted a lecture tour on the lessons learned from the Northern Ireland peace process.

Since leaving No.10 Downing Street in 2007, Jonathan has worked as a negotiator and senior adviser on different conflicts across Europe and Asia for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, as a managing director and senior adviser at Morgan Stanley in London, and as a senior adviser with Tigris Financial Group, Hakluyt, Save The Children and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

Areas of Expertise

  • Northern Ireland
  • Counter-terrorism strategy
  • China
  • Arms Control

Recent Publications

  • Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland (London, Bodley Head, 2008)

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