Yascha Mounk

Associate Professor of the Practice of International Affair
Johns Hopkins University

Keynote speaker Yascha Mounk is a Johns Hopkins professor and go-to authority on why democracy is in perilous danger (or the forces behind “democratic deconsolidation”—his own term). His third book, titled The People vs. Democracy: Why Democracy Is in Danger & How to Save It offers a critically important rationale for this seismic change, weaving together historical, economic, and cultural analysis. While offering a grim diagnosis, Mounk is also hopeful—in engaging talks, he offers practical methods for everyday citizens to combat this trend, and rediscover why our rights, freedoms, and protections are worth fighting for.

His forthcoming book, The Great Experiment: How to Make Diverse Democracies Work, will draw on history and comparative politics to offer an unflinching analysis of why it is so hard to build fair, diverse democracies. It’s not an easy task to undo centuries of inequality, but, ultimately, The Great Experiment is optimistic: if we embrace the right principles and policies, we can build a truly common life.

Writing regularly for The Atlantic, The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalForeign Affairs, CNN, The Nation, and Die Zeit—and appearing on radio and television in over ten countries—Mounk also writes “The Good Fight” column: articles on populism, resistance, activism, and the changing face of democracy for Slate magazine. He’s also the host of a podcast, also called “The Good Fight,” which interviews political luminaries such as George Packer, Mark Blythe, Brian Klaas, and more.

Mounk’s second book, The Age of Responsibility: Luck, Choice, and the Welfare State, explores how our conservative embrace of ‘personal responsibility’ has actually prevented us from empowering individuals—and achieving greater equity. His first book, Stranger in My Own Country: A Jewish Family in Modern Germany, “started as a memoir of his experiences growing up as a Jew in Germany, but became a broader investigation of how contemporary European nations were struggling to construct new, multicultural national identities,” according to The New York Times. It was also translated into German.

Mounk is an Associate Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University and a Senior Fellow at the Agora Institute. Mounk formerly lectured on Political Theory at Harvard University’s Government Department. He received his BA in History from Trinity College, Cambridge and his PhD in Government from Harvard University.