Thierry de Montbrial
Thierry de Montbrial is the Founder and Executive Chairman of IFRI, France’s leading think tank. He is also the Chairman of the World Policy Conference (WPC), which he founded in 2008.
Every aspect of his intellectual engagement and action are permeated with the idea that progress in human societies is possible when reason and sensitivity are harmoniously combined. Trained in the exact sciences and in particular mathematics, in which his interest has never flagged, he wrote his doctoral thesis at Berkeley on the time dimension in the economic theory of general equilibrium, directed by Gérard Debreu, 1983 Nobel Prize winner. The concepts of time and equilibrium, and thus History, can be found throughout his work. In his view, economics remain the queen of the sciences of action, even though, as 2008 showed, reality sometimes offers a harsh reminder of its limits. He transformed the way the subject is taught at the Paris École Polytechnique, with a team he chaired for eighteen years (1974-1992).
Alongside this, from 1973, his functions as Head Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Centre d’analyse et de prévision, CAP) at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave him the chance to extend the scope of his explorations and action to international policy and strategy. Having formed an expert team with some of the most brilliant minds in the field, he worked in the firm belief that, in these areas too, while knowledge ordered in scientific fashion is of the essence, it must be applied with an in-depth understanding of others, with respect, tolerance and empathy. Over the course of his six years at CAP, he established an “intellectual diplomacy” never before seen in France, which led him to travel the five continents, meeting with others and building ever more ties. This experience was pivotal, enabling him to go to other cultures with an open ear.
In the same spirit, he brought the concept of the think tank to his country in 1979, when he founded the Institut français des relations internationales (Ifri), now considered one of the best in the world. In his view, think tanks have a major part to play in the 21st century, putting flesh on what are still the bones of global civil society. While geopolitics is often associated with war, Thierry de Montbrial has unflaggingly worked for geopolitics of peace. He feels that there is no collective undertaking more important than the creation of legitimate and effective global governance. Toward this end, in 2008, he initiated the World Policy Conference (WPC), which over six years’ time, established itself across the planet as a forum of prime importance. The seventh WPC will take place in Seoul, from 8 to 10 December 2014.
The two-fold scientific and human dimension of Thierry de Montbrial’s work is expressed in his many books, teaching and conferences, which often overrun the bounds of economics and international relations to touch on philosophy and spirituality.
Thierry de Montbrial
Thierry de Montbrial is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), which he founded in 1979. He is Professor Emeritus at the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. In 2008, he launched the World Policy Conference. He has been a member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques of the Institut de France since 1992, and is a member of a number of foreign academies including the Russian Academy of Sciences.
He serves on the board or advisory board of a number of international companies and institutions. Thierry de Montbrial chaired the Department of Economics at the École polytechnique from 1974 to 1992. He was the first Chairman of the Foundation for Strategic Research (1993-2001). Entrusted with the creation of the Policy Planning Staff (Centre d’analyse et de prevision) at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was its first director (1973-1979).
He has authored nineteen books, several of them translated in various languages. He is a Commandeur of the Légion d’honneur and a Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit and has been awarded many other state honors by the French and foreign governments. He holds nine honoris causa doctorates.
Thierry de Montbrial is a graduate of the École polytechnique and the École des mines, and received a PhD in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.
Thierry de Montbrial
Born in Paris, March 3, 1943
Married, two children
- 1963-1965 : École Polytechnique
- 1966-1969 : École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris
- 1970 : University of California, Berkeley, PhD, under the supervision of Professor Gérard Debreu (Nobel Prize laureate for Economics, 1983)
- 1969 : Ingénieur au Corps des Mines à Metz.
- 1969-1973 : École Polytechnique : Assistant Professor.
- 1970-1973 : Commissariat Général du Plan : chargé de mission.
- 1973-2008 : École Polytechnique : Professor with tenure; Chairman of the Department of applied mathematics for decision-making and management, and later the Department of Economics from 1974 to 1992.
- 1973-1979 : Policy Planning Staff (Centre d’Analyse et de Prévision, CAP – renamed Direction de la Prospective in 2009) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Director – first holder of this position.
- Since 1979 : French Institute of International Relations (Institut français des relations internationales, Ifri): Founder and Executive Chairman.
- 1995 – 2008 : Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers : Chair of Applied Economics and International Relations. Since 2008 – Professor Emeritus.
- Since 2008 : World Policy Conference (WPC), President and Founder.
3. Academic positions
- Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris : Professor for several periods between 1971 and 1991: Classes on « Advanced Economics » (1971-1973); « International Economics » (1980-1986); « Dividing Lines in the Contemporary World » (1989-1991).
- Institut Universitaire des Hautes Études Internationales (IUHEI), Geneva : Visiting Professor over several periods since 1983. Opening lecture for the 1997/1998 academic year: « Dominant Trends in International Relations at the End of the Century ».
- University of Tel Aviv : the fourth Jimmy Carter Annual Lecture (March 1989): « A New International Order ? ».
- University of Korea : third Inchon Memorial Annual Lecture (November 1989) : « The Gorbatchev Revolution and the International System ».
- Faculté universitaire Saint-Louis, Brussels : inaugural lecture of a series of public lectures (October 1991) : « Risk and Reason ».
- Beijing Diplomatic University : visiting Professor (since 2006).
Several hundred visits abroad since 1974: participation in international conferences and keynote speeches on the various aspects of the international system.
4. Other positions of responsibility
4.1. In France
- Board of Directors of the l’École Polytechnique (1974-1977) ;
- Member of the National Committee and Directorate of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique/CNRS (1974-1981) ;
- Chairman of the Franco-Austrian Centre for European Economic Convergence (Paris, Vienna) (1985-2015) ;
- Conseil de perfectionnement of the l’École Supérieure de Guerre (1987-1992) ;
- Departmental Committee for Human and Social Sciences of the CNRS (1988-1992) ;
- Chairman of the Centre for the Study of the Relationship between Technology and Strategy (CREST), École Polytechnique (1988-1992) ;
- Commission on the Defense White Paper (1993-1994) ;
- Chairman of the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) (1993-2001) ;
- Editorial committee, then President of the Editorial Board of the Revue des deux Mondes (1988-1994) ;
- Columnist at Le Figaro (1989-2001) and columnist at Le Monde (2002-2010) ;
- Chairman of the Council for European and International Analysis on Agriculture and Food (COPEIAA) (2003-2005) ;
- Chairman of the Medef Discussion Group: « The Future of the Multilateral Commercial System » (2004) ;
- Board of Directors of Capgemini (since 2005) ;
- Commission on the Defense and National Security White Paper (2007-2008) ;
- Board of Directors of Renault Foundation (since 2010).
- Steering Committee of the Atlantic Conference, Chicago (since 1976) ;
- Trilateral Commission (1976-2002) ;
- Steering Committee for the Bilderberg Meetings (1976-2011) ;
- Editorial Committee of Foreign Policy, Washington, since 1980, The International Economy, Washington, and
The South African Journal of International Affairs, Johannesburg, since 1998 ;
- Council of Institute for East-West Security Studies (1983-1987) ;
- President of the European Strategy Group (organisation bringing together the leading European institutes on strategic research) (1989-1991) ;
- Former member of the international consultative council of the Center for European Policy Studies, Brussels ;
- Council then Executive Committee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London (1983-1999) ;
- Consultative Council of the Research Institute of International Trade and Industry, Tokyo (1994-1997) ; Consultative Editorial Council of the European Review, since 1997 ;
- International Consultative Council of the Standford Institute for International Affairs, since 2000 ;
- Editorial Committee of the Journal of Southeast European Black Sea Studies, since 2001 ;
- Editorial Committee of Russia in Global Affairs, Moscow, since 2002 ;
- International Consultative Committee of the Institute for International Economics (now the Peterson Institute), Washington, since 2003 ;
- International Consultative Council of the Carnegie Moscow Center since 2003 ;
- Advisory Council of the WTO Secretary General, Geneva (2003-2005) ;
- Independent task force, Renewing the Atlantic Partnership, co-chaired by Henry A. Kissinger and Lawrence H. Summers, The Council on Foreign Relations, New-York, 2004 ;
- Chairman of the Advisory Board of the OCP Group, Morocco (since 2009) ;
- Institut de France (Académie des Sciences morales et politiques). Elected in June 1992. President of the Institut de France for 2001 ;
- Académie des Technologies (founding member, 2000) ;
- Academia Europaea (elected in 1993) ;
- Académie royale de Belgique (elected in 1996) ;
- Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences (elected in 1999) ;
- Romanian Academy (elected in 1999) ;
- Russian Academy of Science (elected in 2003) ;
- Moldovan Academy of Science (elected in 2006) ;
- Bulgarian Academy of Science (elected in 2006) ;
- Real Academia de Ciencias Económicas y Financieras, Spain (elected in 2008).
6. Prizes and awards
- Prix Louis Marin of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques (1991) ;
- Prix de la Fondation Louise Weiss (1991) ;
- Prix des Ambassadeurs 1996 (for Mémoire du temps présent) ;
- Grand Prix de la Société de Géographie for his collected works (2003) ;
- Prix Georges Pompidou 2003 (for L’Action et le système du monde).
- Doctor Honoris Causa of the :
- Romanian Academy for economic studies (1996) ;
- Academy of Science of Azerbaijan (2002) ;
- University of Brasov, Romania (2003) ;
- University of Galatasaray, Istanbul (2004) ;
- State University of Chisinau, Moldova (2005) ;
- State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Moscow (2007) ;
- University of Bucharest, Romania (2011),
- University of Iasi, Romania (2014) ;
- Sofia University, Bulgaria (2017).
7. State Honors
7.1. In France
- Commandeur de l’ordre des Palmes académiques (2002) ;
- Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur (2007) ;
- Commandeur du Mérite agricole (2008)
- Grand Officier de l’ordre national du Mérite (2011) ;
- Officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1991) ;
- Officer of the Order of the Crown of Belgium (1991) ;
- Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau of the Netherlands (1992) ;
- Commander of the order of merit Republic of Poland (1996) ;
- Commander of the Southern Cross, Brazil (1999) ;
- Commander of the Austrian Order of Merit (2001) ;
- Austrian Cross of Honour for the Sciences and the Arts 1st class (2008) ;
- Order of the Rising Sun – Gold and Silver Star, Japan (2009) ;
- Order of Friendship, Russia (2009) ;
- Great Officer of the Romanian Star (2011) ;
- Commander of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2016).
Main themes: mathematical and theoretical economics; Applied Economics; Analysis of the International System (history, geography, economy, politics, security); theory of action and decision-making.
- Economie théorique [Theoretical Economics], PUF, 1971.
- Essais d’économie parétienne [Essays on Paretian Economics], Ed. du CNRS, 1974.
- Le Désordre économique mondial [The Global Economic Disorder], Calmann-Lévy, 1974.
Translated into Spanish and Italian.
- L’Energie : le compte à rebours [Energy, the Countdown], J.C. Lattès, 1978.
Translated into English and Italian.
- La Revanche de l’Histoire [The Revenge of History], Julliard, 1985.
- La Science économique ou la stratégie des rapports de l’homme vis-à-vis des ressources rares: méthodes et modèles [Economic Science or Strategies for Human Relations faced with Scarce Resources: Concepts and Models], PUF, 1988.
- Que Faire ? Les grandes manœuvres du monde [What to do? Global Manoeuvres], La Manufacture, 1990.
- Mémoire du temps présent [The Memory of Present Times], Flammarion, 1996.
Ambassadors’ Prize 1996. Translated into German, Bulgarian, Polish, Romanian, and Russian.
- Introduction à l’économie [Introduction to Economics] (with E. Fauchart), Dunod, 1999. 4th edition 2007.
- Pour combattre les pensées uniques [To Fight Singular Ideas], Flammarion, 2000.
- L’Action et le système du monde[Action and the Word System], PUF, 2002, 4th edition, « Quadrige » collection, PUF, 2011. Translated into Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Chinese, Bulgarian and Polish. (Translation in English in progress.) Prix Georges Pompidou 2002.
- La guerre et la diversité du monde [War and Global Diversity], éd. de l’Aube, 2004.
- Géographie politique [Political Geography], PUF, « Que-Sais-je ? » collection, 2006. Translated into Greek and Bulgarian.
- Il est nécessaire d’espérer pour entreprendre – Penseurs et bâtisseurs [To Proceed, One Must Hope – Thinkers and Builders], Ed. Les Syrtes, 2006.
- Vingt ans qui bouleversèrent le monde [Twenty Years that Shook the World], Dunod, 2008. Translated into Romanian and Bulgarian.
- My Russian Journal. 1977 – 2011, Editions du Rocher, March 2012;
- My Romanian Journal, Editura RAO, 2012 (Bilingual edition: in Romanian and French);
- Une goutte d’eau et l’océan. Journal d’une quête de sens, Editions Albin Michel, 2015;
- La pensée et l’action, Académie roumaine, 2016.
8.2. Edited books
- Dictionnaire de stratégie [Dictionary of Strategy], (ed. with J. Klein), PUF, 2000. 2nd edition collection « Quadrige », PUF 2006.
- Observation et théorie des relations internationales. [Observation and Theory of International Relations]
Acts of a CNAM Seminar for 1997-1998 and 1998-1999, two volumes. Collection: « Travaux et recherches de l’Ifri », La Documentation française, 2000.
- La France du nouveau siècle [France in the New Century], PUF, 2002.
- Retraites, santé : n’est-il pas trop tard ? [Retirement and Health : Is it too Late?], PUF, 2002.
- Réformes-révolutions – Le cas de la France [Reforms and Revolutions – The Case of France], PUF, 2003.
- Pratiques de la négociation [Practical Negotiation], (ed. with S. Jansen), Fondation Singer Polignac, Bruylant-L.G.D.G., Brussels, 2004.
- L’Identité de la France et l’Europe [The identity of France of Europe], (ed. with S. Jansen), Fondation Singer Polignac, Bruylant, Brussels, 2005.
- Violence : de la psychologie à la politique [Violence: From Psychology to Politics], (dir. avec S. Jansen), Fondation Singer Polignac, Bruylant, Brussels, 2007.
- Co-Director of RAMSES – Ifri’s yearbook – since 1983, published by Economica then Dunod.
- Director of Politique Etrangère Journal on foreign policy.
- Notre intérêt national, (dir. avec T. Gomart), chez Odile Jacob, 2017.
8.3. Contributions to collective works and reports
- La sécurité de l’Occident : bilan et orientations [Western Security: What Has Changed? What Should Be Done?], collection « Travaux et recherches de l’Ifri ». Economica, February 1981 (in collaboration with Karl Kaiser, Winston Lord and David Watt). Published simultaneously in English and German. Numerous other translations.
- Sharing International Responsibilities, New York, 1982. (In collaboration with Nobuhiko Ushiba and Graham Allison).
- La Communauté européenne : déclin ou renouveau [The European Community: Decline or Renewal], collection « Travaux et recherches de l’Ifri ». Economica, April 1983 (in collaboration with Karl Kaiser, Cesare Merlini, William Wallace and Edmund Wallenstein).
- Une organisation mondiale du commerce pour quoi faire ? Les entreprises françaises et l’avenir du système commercial multilatéral [A World Trade Organisation for What? French Companies and the Future of the Multilateral Commercial System]. Report of the MEDEF Discussion Group on the Future of the multilateral commercial system, Paris, 2004.
- The Future of the WTO. Addressing institutional challenges in the new millenium. Report by the Consultative Board to the Director-General (in collaboration with Peter Sutherland et al.).
Numerous articles published in scientific and professional journals.