Anwar Ibrahim – Keynote Speaker

Political Reformist and Former Deputy Minister of Malaysia

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Specialist Subjects

  • Governance
  • Southeast Asia
  • Democracy
  • Economic Policy


  • English


Anwar Ibrahim is a prominent Malaysian politician who served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1993-98 and Finance Minister from 1991-98.

Since 1998 he has led Malaysia’s Justice Party in its mission to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in the country. Although he spent over eight of the last twenty years in detention as a political prisoner, his party achieved a historic electoral victory in the May 2018 Malaysian elections, shattering the ruling party’s 61-year hold on power. He was released from jail days after the election and granted a full pardon from politically motivated charges. Ibrahim is the Prime Minister in-waiting and is expected to take over leadership of the country within the next two years.

Anwar Ibrahim is highly respected for his principled stance against corruption and his skillful management of the Malaysian economy during the Asian financial crisis. He has called for bold reforms to Malaysia’s political economic systemand believes an independent judiciary, free media and respect for the rule of law are cornerstones on which Malaysia’s economic strength can be expanded.

He also believes that public policy should not overlook the plight of the poor and marginalised while at the same time seeking to develop infrastructure, attract foreign investment and grow the economy. The multi-ethnic Justice Party that he leads has provided a template for how Malaysia’s diverse ethnic and religious groups can work together towards a common national objective.

Throughout his career Anwar Ibrahim has articulated a compelling argument in support of greater understanding between East and West. Ibrahim’s view is that a dialogue between civilisations is necessary and vital. In the Muslim world he is unique in his ability to communicate the complex issues confronting Muslim majority countries.

Anwar Ibrahim has been President of the UNESCO World Council, Chairman of the Development Committee of World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Honorary President of AccountAbility and Advisory Board member of the International Crisis Group. He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor and Malaysia Chair at the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown. He has also taught at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and St. Antony’s College at Oxford, lecturing on issues of governance, democracy and contemporary politics in Southeast Asia.

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