Leading geopolitical expert and world traveller Parag Khanna is critically-acclaimed around the world for his groundbreaking theories on global trends, systemic risks and technological disruptions, and has provided advice and consultations to various institutions, organisations and luminaries, including the current President of United States. The multi-published best-selling author also has three engaging, thought-provoking books under his belt that tackle various world-order concerns of the 21st century. In this issue, the fast-moving high-flyer shares with Top 10 of Asia his life beyond work and studies.
Born in India but raised in almost every other corner of the world in places such as UAE, New York and Germany, the globetrotter himself has lived independently in various countries, including US, UK, Switzerland and Singapore, where he is based now with his wife, famed author Ayesha Khanna and two children. Ayesha is also well-known as Parag’s constant collaborator, even publishing a book that they wrote together titled Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization and published by TED Books.
An undeniable asset to the global community, the international relations and diplomacy expert did not always know what he wanted to be as an adult. As an accomplished adventurer in his adolescence, Parag had already travelled far and wide, including driving from the Baltic Sea through the Balkans and across Turkey and the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea, travelling across the rugged terrain of Tibet and Xinjiang provinces in western China, and climbing numerous 20,000-foot plus peaks.
However, when it comes to his decision to pursue his current career path, he embraces it as part of a master plan. “It’s more something that one becomes rather than something one decides to be. I’ve only ever wanted to travel and immerse in diverse cultures and integrate geopolitical, economic, environmental and other trends to gain a holistic view of the world,” he admits.
The same teenager with a wanderlust is currently one of the most authoritative intellects of the world, holding a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs and a minor in Philosophy from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a Masters Degree from Georgetown’s Security Studies Program, and a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics.
At present, Parag Khanna is the Managing Partner of Hybrid Reality, a geostrategic advisory firm, besides serving at various other posts, including as a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, Adjunct Professor in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, Visiting Fellow at LSE IDEAS, Senior Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and Senior Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.
Behind every successful man or woman there surely is a dedicated and invested team. Parag’s management and leadership style over his helpers and in his career is inspired by a wide array of role models and mentors, from military generals to travel writers to his parents and family.
Fluent in English, German, Hindi, French, Spanish and basic Arabic, Parag Khanna is truly a man of the world. “10 years down the road, I imagine myself getting back to long-term continuous travel as I did in my 20s, moving between different projects and advisory roles in many countries. Places change quickly and there are many I would like to go back to and revisit,” says the academician who regrets not moving to Singapore sooner.