Amy Zegart
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Amy Zegart

Award-Winning Author, Professor, and Co-Director of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and Davies Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

A leading expert on cyber threats, geopolitical risk, and U.S. intelligence, Amy Zegart helps audiences understand the shifting international security landscape and what emerging trends mean for global businesses and American foreign policy.

Bytes, Bombs, and Business: Navigating Political Risk

Political risk is everywhere, affecting businesses of all sizes and industries. A low budget documentary goes viral, sinking SeaWorld stock. A Manila Mayor’s well intended traffic ordinance ends up disrupting port operations and creating Toyota backlogs across Asia. An airline passenger armed with a cell phone captures United Airlines’ worst passenger moment, reaching 100 million viewers in China. North Korea wages a cyber attack on Sony Pictures, sending the studio off the grid and causing an international crisis. In the old days, political risk involved a handful of industries who worried mostly about whether dictators would seize their assets. Now political risk is everyone’s business—and it includes cyber threats, social media activism, terrorism, and more. Based on a course Zegart co-teaches with Condoleezza Rice at Stanford Business School, this talk examines the mega trends in business, politics, and technology that are supercharging political risk, the top 10 political risks that businesses confront, and what executives can do so they aren’t blindsided.

American Foreign Policy Challenges

What are the major forces driving international conflict? How is new technology transforming espionage and warfare? What are the most dangerous places in the world and what should the United States do about them? This talk gives a candid look at the past, present, and future of American foreign policy, examining successful grand strategies that overcame impossible odds, the current threat landscape, and key policy choices.

Decoding Cyber Threats

Cyber threats are growing more prevalent and scary, from Russian hacking in the 2016 American presidential election to the massive theft of corporate intellectual property to the growing danger of cyber acts of mass disruption. Today, there are only two kinds of companies: those who have been hacked and those who just don’t know it yet. How can policymakers, business leaders, and the rest of us make sense of this evolving landscape? Who are the most serious cyber bad actors? Is deterrence ever possible in cyberspace? These are some the questions we explore, with a walk through we should know, what we do know, and what we don't know about digital dangers.


We all know that spies in the movies are different than spies in real life. But how different? And does it really matter? This talk examines the top five myths about espionage and examines how the rise of “Spytainment” is influencing real policy, from Supreme Court arguments to congressional hearings to the use of interrogation techniques.

Meet Amy Zegart

A leading expert on cyber threats, geopolitical risk, and U.S. intelligence, Amy Zegart helps audiences understand the shifting international security landscape and what emerging trends mean for global businesses and American foreign policy.

A sought-after advisor to military leaders, intelligence officials, venture capitalists, and business executives, Amy Zegart is an expert in cybersecurity and geopolitics at Stanford University. She founded Stanford’s cyber policy program, ran one of the nation’s premier international security centers, and teaches a Political Risk course with Condoleezza Rice. She is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and contributing editor at The Atlantic.

Zegart gives audiences an illuminating look at today’s international security landscape – from cyber threats to terrorism to China’s rise. She also helps businesses identify and manage 21st century political risks so that they aren’t blindsided.

Zegart was named one of the ten most influential experts in American intelligence reform. An Award-winning author, her books include Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11 (2007); Eyes on Spies (2011); and Political Risk, with Condoleezza Rice, which will be published by Twelve Books in 2018.

She served as a member of the National Security Council Staff (1993), a foreign policy advisor to the Bush presidential campaign (2000), and a McKinsey & Company management consultant for four years (1990-91, 1996-1999).

Raised in Kentucky, she holds an A.B. in East Asian Studies from Harvard College and a doctorate in Political Science from Stanford University. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she serves on several corporate, academic, and nonprofit boards.

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