Marvin Zonis keynote speaker

Head of Political Risk Consulting Firm 
  • Economic Drivers of the Global Marketplace in the Age of Political Risk
  • Getting to the Future: the Ten Principal Drivers of the Global Economy
  • International Terrorism and Its Impact on the Global Economy
  • Leading in Hard Times
  • The Middle East: Oil and Political Stability
  • The Triumph of the Markets: Global Politics and Economics
  • Threats and Opportunities in the War Against Terrorism
  • World Economic Growth and the Future of the Emerging Markets
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Marvin Zonis is a Professor at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. He also heads Marvin Zonis & Associates, a political risk consulting firm in Chicago, and is a co-founder and Chairman of DSD, a software development company based in Moscow and Chicago.

At Chicago’s Business School, Zonis teaches courses on International Political Economy, Leadership, and E-Commerce. He was the first professor at the Business School to teach a course on the effects of digital technologies on global business. As the head of Marvin Zonis + Associates, Zonis consults to corporations and professional asset management firms throughout the world, helping them to identify, assess, and manage their political risks in the changing global environment.

Zonis is a member of the Board of Directors of CNA Financial, the global insurance and financial services firm, is on the Board of Advisors of Syntek, a European Private Equity Venture Capital Firm focusing on TMT (telecom, media and technology), serves on the Board of the Institute for Psychoanalysis and is a Fellow of DiamondCluster International, a global technology consulting firm. He is also a member of the U.S. Comptroller General’s Board of Advisers.

What unites these activities is Zonis’ unique awareness of the intersections of politics, economics, and emergent technologies. He argues that accelerating technological developments drive globalization both economically and politically. And in the face of these global challenges, business leadership, and a true understanding of what defines leadership, is more essential than ever.

Zonis has written extensively on the intersection of digital technologies and globalization, emerging markets, Middle Eastern politics, the oil industry, Russia, and U.S. foreign policy. He is also a leading authority on Middle Eastern politics, and has spent the last 40 years studying the volatile mix of Islam, terrorism, and the Middle East. He is the former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. He has lived in Iran, hitchhiked through Afghanistan in the sixties, and has traveled extensively throughout other parts of the region, as well.

His writings have been published, among others, in The Financial Times, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Chief Executive Magazine, La Vanguardia, The Boston Globe, and the Japanese journal Nikkei Weekly. His books include The Eastern European Opportunity, Majestic Failure: The Fall of the Shah, Khomeini And The Islamic Republic of Iran, The Political Elite of Iran, Why The Kimchi Matters: Global Business and Local Realities in a Crisis-Driven World.

Zonis has appeared on numerous network television news programs, including Nightline, and CNN’s Larry King Live, and is interviewed regularly on National Public Radio. He has been Middle East Consultant to ABC/Capital Cities television and is currently International Analyst for WBBM-TV, Chicago.

He was educated at Yale University, the Harvard Business School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a Ph.D. in Political Science, and the Institute for Psychoanalysis, Chicago, where he received psychoanalytic training.

He is the recipient of both the Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching and the Norman Maclean Award in 2013 for outstanding contributions to teaching and to the student experience at the University of Chicago.

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