LSE's School of Public Policy welcomes Niall Ferguson

There could hardly be a better time to study the relationship between the United States and China, in the context of what increasingly resembles a new cold war.

Professor Niall Ferguson, Visiting Professor of Public Policy

Professor Niall Ferguson, an award-winning author, journalist, and academic, has been appointed as Visiting Professor of Public Policy.


 The LSE School of Public Policy (SPP) is delighted to welcome Niall Ferguson as Visiting Professor for the 2023/24 academic year. He is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. 

A historian by training, Professor Ferguson received his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1989. He has had a distinguished teaching career, having been a professor at Oxford, New York University and Harvard, where he was Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History from 2004 until 2016. Concurrently he was also William Ziegler Professor at Harvard Business School from 2006 until 2011. This will be his second visit to the LSE. In 2011-12 he was the Philippe Roman Visiting Professor. Between 2016 and 2021 he was also a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing.

Professor Ferguson is the author of 16 books. His first, Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897-1927, was short-listed for the History Today Book of the Year award, while the collection of essays he edited, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, was a UK bestseller. In 1998 he published to international critical acclaim The Pity of War: Explaining World War One and The World's Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild. The latter won the Wadsworth Prize for Business History and was also short-listed for the Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Literary Award and the American National Jewish Book Award. In 2001, after a year as a Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England, he published The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World1700-2000. In 2003 Ferguson wrote and presented a six-part history of the British Empire for Channel 4, the UK broadcaster. The accompanying book, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, was a bestseller in both Britain and the United States. The sequel, Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, was published in 2004 by Penguin, and prompted Time magazine to name him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Two years after Colossus, he published The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, a television adaptation of which was screened by PBS in 2007. The international bestseller, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, followed in 2008; it too was a PBS series, winning the International Emmy award for Best Documentary, as well as the Handelszeitung Economics Book Prize. In 2011 he published Civilization: The West and the Rest, also a Channel 4/PBS documentary series. A year later came the three-part television series “China: Triumph and Turmoil.” The book based on his 2012 BBC Reith lectures, The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, was a New York Times bestseller within a week of its publication.

An accomplished biographer, Ferguson published High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg in 2010 and is currently writing a life of Henry Kissinger, the first volume of which was published in 2015—to critical acclaim—as Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist. The book won the 2016 Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award. In 2011 his film company Chimerica Media released its first feature-length documentary, “Kissinger,” which won the New York Film Festival's prize for Best Documentary.

His most recent books are The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook (2018) and Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe (2021). A three-part television adaptation of The Square and the TowerNiall Ferguson’s Networld, aired on PBS in March 2020.

Ferguson’s many prizes and awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012), the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013), and the Philip Merrill Award of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (2016). He has received honorary degrees from the University of Buckingham (UK), Macquarie University (Australia), and the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Chile), and was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

 An accomplished journalist, he has written for the world’s leading newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Sunday Times (London). In 2020 he joined Bloomberg Opinion as a columnist. In addition, he is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a New York-based advisory firm, and a co-founding board member of Ualá, a Latin American financial technology company. He is a trustee of the Centre for Policy Studies, the New York Historical Society, and the newly established University of Austin.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Ferguson said: “I am delighted to be spending the academic year 2023-24 at the LSE School of Public Policy (SPP), my second time as a visiting professor at LSE. I especially look forward to working under Dean Andrés Velasco, whom I have long admired. I look forward to engaging with the SPP’s students. There could hardly be a better time to study the relationship between the United States and China, in the context of what increasingly resembles a new cold war."

Professor Andrés Velasco, Dean of the LSE School of Public Policy, commented, “to have Professor Ferguson join the SPP for this academic year is nothing less than an honour. He is one of the world’s most eminent historians, and we will all learn from his scholarly insights. Policymakers could surely benefit from a better understanding of history applied to current global circumstances. Professor Ferguson will bring that knowledge to bear on the work of our community of academics, practitioners and students.”


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