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William Burke-White

Fee Range: $4000 - $6000

Expert in the field of international law and institutions


Criminal JusticeCurrent EventsGlobal EconomyGovernment & PoliticsHistoryInternational AffairsThe Presidency




William Burke-White

Expert in the field of international law and institutions

William Burke-White is Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and Inaugural Director of Perry World House, Penn’s international affairs institute.

An expert on international law and global governance, served in the Obama Administration from 2009-2011 on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff, providing the Secretary direct policy advice on multilateral diplomacy and international institutions. He was principal drafter of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), Secretary Clinton’s hallmark foreign policy and institutional reform effort.

Burke-White has written extensively in the fields of international law and institutions, with focus on international criminal and international economic law. His work has addressed issues of post-conflict justice; the International Criminal Court; international human rights, and international arbitration.

His current research explores gaps in the global governance system and the challenges of international legal regulation in a world of rising powers and divergent interests.

In 2008 he received the A. Leo Levin Award and in 2007 the Robert A. Gorman award for Excellence in Teaching.



The Five Most Powerful People in the World

Who are the real influencers on the world stage? Who makes the decisions that determine war and peace? Economic growth or stagnation? Global cooperation or political stagnation?

This lecture answers those questions by examining how we think about power and influence in international politics. We will consider traditional answers based on military might and examine how globalization, technology, ideology, and economic interdependence are changing the ways we should think about power and influence.

After engaging in an analysis of power and influence in today’s world, we will consider 5 particular individuals—some expected, others perhaps unexpected or even unknown—who are calling the shots in global affairs today. The lecture concludes with a detailed look at what their influence means for our global future. 

American Power: Dominance or Decline: 5 Trends Challenging US Leadership

This talk looks at 5 trends that are impacting the ability of the US to lead the international system.

The talk begins by introducing the key elements of the Post WWII order created by the US and how the US has used the international order to facilitate global leadership.

The talk then turns to 5 disruptive trends: 1) declining US relative power, 2) populist nationalism (at home and abroad), 3) AI and Information transparency, 4) the rise of non state actors and 5) climate change.

The talk concludes with three visions of the future US role in the world and some predictions about where we may be heading.

To book this speaker please visit or call 508.485.8996