Students Host 10th Annual Political Risk Conference

Schedule includes conversations on intersections of gender, technology, and geopolitics
A group of panelists speaks before an audience.

Geopolitics has gone from being an esoteric, neglected risk to a boardroom conversation. A year into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world is undergoing another tectonic transition; business, strategy, and investment professionals must understand what a multipolar world truly means.

A dedicated group of graduate students, known as the Fletcher Political Risk Group (FPRG), are organizing the tenth annual conference on geopolitical risk. Hosted on campus on March 9 and 10, 2023, the conference will feature a diverse range of speakers who are experts in the field of geopolitics and risk analysis. This year's theme is "The Great Transition: An Attempted Shift Towards Autonomy."

Founded in 2008, the FPRG facilitates discussion among students, alumni, and professionals with career and academic interests in political risk as they apply to finance, consulting, business intelligence, and business strategy and operations. Every year, FPRG coordinates the Fletcher Political Risk Conference, a unique event that brings together political risk professionals and students.

"We are proud to be the longest-standing student-run political risk conference, and are excited to celebrate our tenth anniversary this year,” said Shara Madan, a second-year MALD student and co-chair of the FPRG along with Isha Vajpeyi MALD23. For the first time, there will be a panel focused on women, specifically exploring how political transitions involving women are viewed differently while assessing political risk and ways to address the gender gap in the political risk industry.

“This event is an excellent opportunity for students, professionals, and academics to examine how geopolitics is driving this interstitial moment in international affairs," said Patrick Schena, Professor of International Business who has been advising the FPRG for the past ten years.

The conference schedule includes topics ranging from the intersection of technology and geopolitics, economic competitiveness, semiconductors and supply chain shocks, rise of middle powers, and use of AI in understanding risk. A fireside chat with Professor Chris Miller, author of Chip War: The Fight for The World’s Most Critical Technology will be moderated by Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business, and livestreamed. Dean Kyte will kick off the conference with opening remarks, and Chad Bown will provide an opening keynote on “re-shoring” and “friend-shoring.”

In addition to experts and academics from Fletcher, there will be speakers from Albright Stonebridge Group/Dentons Global Advisors, Control Risks, Enquire AI, Eurasia Group, Ernst & Young, GeoQuant: A Fitch Solutions Company, Longview Global Advisors, McLarty Associates, and State Street.

One of the FPRG co-founders, Munish Walther-Puri, provided context on the importance of this ten-year milestone. “This conference continues a discourse about the industry itself: how the landscape has changed and whether we are actually getting better at understanding geopolitical risk.”

In 2008, Walther-Puri, along with a group of dedicated peers, founded the FPRG. The first conference was in 2009. He added, “Though alumni like myself advise and coach under the guidance of Professor Schena, graduate students are bringing these top-tier organizations together in an event that rivals any industry event—that is accessible and inclusive of students.”

This year’s conference is co-sponsored by Enquire AI, EY, Longview Global Advisors, and various programs and centers at Tufts University, including the Hitachi Center for Technology & International Affairs, the Fletcher Russia & Eurasia Program, The Institute for Business in the Global Context, and the World Peace Foundation.

The Fletcher Political Risk conference is open to the public: view the latest agenda and register here.