Jonathan Powell – Keynote Speaker

Tony Blair's former Chief of Staff

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Specialist Subjects

  • Negotiation
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Leadership in Government
  • Government Transformation
  • Media and Political Strategy


  • German


Jonathan Powell was Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1997 to 2007. He was responsible for co-ordinating all political and non-political work in No.10 Downing Street. He became 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 beginning to 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 Tony Blair, Jonathan was a British diplomat for sixteen years and played a role in the Zimbabwe independence negotiations, the accession of Portugal to the EU, the negotiations with China on the return of Hong Kong, the CDE arms control negotiations in Stockholm, the CSCE human rights negotiations with Russia in Vienna and the two plus four negotiations on German unification. He was the political officer at the British Embassy in Washington in 1991, where he followed the Clinton Presidential election campaign and became close to President Clinton and his staff whom he introduced to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Jonathan Powell has published two books based on his diplomatic career: Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland, 2008 and The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World, 2010.

After Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania Jonathan Powell started his career as a journalist with the BBC and Granada TV.

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