John Kampfner, Speaker

John Kampfner

Founder and former CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, author, broadcaster and commentator

John Kampfner: Biography highlights

John has had a 25-year award-winning career in international public life – spanning media, global affairs, UK politics, education, business, arts and the third sector. His biggest passion is probing and explaining what’s going on all over the world.

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TV Presenters and Broadcasters

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Full biography of John Kampfner

John Kampfner’s background

John began his journalistic career as a foreign correspondent with the Daily Telegraph, first in East Berlin where he reported on the fall of the Wall and unification of Germany, and then in Moscow at the time of the collapse of Soviet Communism. He went on to become Chief Political Correspondent at the FT and political commentator for the BBC’s Today programme, before becoming Editor of the New Statesman where he took the magazine to 30-year circulation highs.

He won the journalist of the year award for a two-part BBC film on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, called “The Ugly War”.

He now writes weekly for the Times and appears regularly in other newspapers such as the FT, Guardian and New European. He frequently appears on the BBC and Sky.

His latest BBC radio documentary, Analysis: The Smack of Firm Leadership, broadcast on Radio 4 on June 8. With guests including Francis Fukuyama (he of “End of History” fame), it looked at whether the pandemic has helped democracies or authoritarian regimes.

John’s new book, Why the Germans Do It Better, is his sixth book published by Atlantic and is already being optioned for serialisation by three national newspapers. His previous books include the best-selling Blair’s Wars, now a standard text in schools; Freedom For Sale, which was short-listed for the Orwell Prize and The Rich, from Slaves to Superyachts, A 2000-Year History.

He is a Senior Associate Fellow at the defence and security think tank, the Royal United Service Institute. He’ll shortly bring out a research paper on Russian and German influence – from cyber to organised crime – in Germany and across Europe.

He speaks fluent Russian and German and conversational French and Spanish.



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Available for:

Awards Hosting
Moderating and Emcee
TV and Media

Watch John in action

1/2 videos
Russia and China in Germany
Russia and China in Germany
“Why the Germans Do It Better” Notes from a Grown Up Country
“Why the Germans Do It Better” Notes from a Grown Up Country
BBC News

A forensic and highly readable account of Germany's ability to get things right. Kampfner's clear and unanswerable argument has made a big impression on me, and I think it should be compulsory reading for every politician, civil servant and commentator in Britain.'

John Simpson
World Affairs Editor

'Germany's success in tackling the great pandemic of 2020 has surprised many. John Kampfner shows why it should not have done so. This is a compelling account of how, in two generations, a country adopted the principles of liberal democracy, then mastered them, and now has more to teach us than we might wish to admit.'

Baroness Catherine Ashton
Former EU High Representative

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