Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Conversation with Parag Khanna, Foreign Policy Wunderkind

We recently sat down with Parag Khanna to kick start our “Up and Comers” interview series, in which we talk to up-and-coming luminaries in business and politics. They aren’t yet household names but one day will be.

As we spoke to Parag at New York’s Science, Industry and Business Library, he had just finished an 8,000-mile trek from London to Mongolia – it took him one month to complete. Within the week, he was headed to China, for another month. Parag gets around. And he’s able to do it while married-with-kid, leading the New America Foundation’s Global Governance Initiative, running his own consultancy, and writing an international best-seller (The Second World: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-first Century). He’s also advised the US Military and Barack Obama, as well as held stints at renowned think tanks - the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution.

At 31, Parag was named one of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century, alongside Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, David Petraeus, and Jon Stewart (Esquire magazine, 2008). We wouldn’t be surprised if he one day occupies a top post at the US State Department. Needless to say, Parag is an “up-and-comer.”

Watch our interview in full, when we post it (soon). In it, you might be struck by the same things we were:

  • How he deflected the pressure to enter the world of high finance and follow his passion for travel and government
  • What city he thinks is the most dangerous in the world - more dangerous than Iraq in 2005
  • How he thought through an opportunity to work in the Obama administration (and ultimately turned it down)

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