Join us for an enlightening discussion hosted by Harvard Kennedy School's Middle East Initiative. Our distinguished speakers, Belfer Center Director Professor Meghan O'Sullivan, MEI Senior Fellow Mohammed Alyahya, Managing Director and Global Head of Commodity Strategy at RBC Capital Markets Dr. Helima Croft, and Global Energy & Climate Innovation Editor at The Economist Vijay Vaitheeswaran, will delve deep into the repercussions of the 1973 Oil Embargo and shed light on the intricate web of the present-day geopolitics of energy. MEI's Faculty Chair, Professor Tarek Masoud, will set the stage with some opening remarks. Don't miss out on this comprehensive dialogue that promises to bridge historical events with contemporary energy geopolitics.

Meghan L. O’Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. On February 21, 2023, she was named the Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, effective July 1, 2023. The Belfer Center – which includes more than 300 scholars, practitioners, and former policymakers and consistently ranks as the world’s top academic think-tank – advances policy-relevant knowledge in the areas of international relations, security, technology, science, and energy and the environment. 

Dr. O’Sullivan draws on her broad experience in government, diplomacy, academia, and business to contribute insights that benefit her students and colleagues, the U.S. government, global businesses, and the public debate. She takes pride in teaching and mentoring the world’s future leaders as a member of the Harvard Kennedy School faculty since 2008.

O’Sullivan’s scholarship continues to be at the nexus of traditional disciplines, examining topics at the intersection of geopolitics, science, markets, and policy. Her work on how large changes in the energy system – from advances in technology to extract oil and gas to the global move away from carbon-intensive fuels – has shaped how policymakers and academics alike view these issues. Her publications in this area include her award-winning 2017 book Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power and “Green Upheaval: The New Geopolitics of Energy,” a co-authored Foreign Affairs article with Jason Bordoff was selected as one of the “Top Ten” print articles published in that journal in 2022. O’Sullivan also has written on the intersection of economic tools, markets, and foreign policy, including her 2003 Shrewd Sanctions: Statecraft and State Sponsors of Terrorism which is still used in syllabi across the country today. Her most recent book, Hand-Off: The Foreign Policy that George W. Bush Passed to Barack Obama, was co-edited with Steve Hadley, Peter Feaver, and Will Inboden, and was released on February 15, 2023. 

O’Sullivan has served in multiple senior policymaking roles and has advised national security officials in both Republican and Democratic administrations. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her public service, including the U.S. Defense Department’s highest honor for civilians (the Distinguished Public Service Medal) and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award (which she has received three times).

O’Sullivan is currently a member of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s Foreign Policy Advisory Board. Between 2004 and 2007, she was special assistant to President George W. Bush and was Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan during the last two years of her tenure. In her job at the National Security Council, O’Sullivan was responsible for identifying and building consensus around new policy directions in these countries as well as overseeing their execution. From July 2013 to December 2013, O’Sullivan was the Vice Chair of the All Party Talks in Northern Ireland, which sought to resolve outstanding issues in the peace process. 

O’Sullivan also has extensive experience advising the private-sector on geopolitical risk and in board leadership and advisory roles in non-profit organizations. She is a Partner at the strategic consulting firm, Macro Advisory Partners, and is the Chair of the North American Group of the Trilateral Commission. Beginning in 2017, she was a director on the board of United Technologies, and continued on the board of the successor company, Raytheon Technologies, after the merger between United Technologies and Raytheon in 2020; her tenure on this board will end in the spring of 2023. She is also a member of the International Advisory Group for the British law firm, Linklaters. O’Sullivan serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, is a trustee of the International Crisis Group, and is a member of the board of The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization helping veterans.

O’Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, a masters of science in economics, and doctorate in politics from Oxford University. She was a Henry Crown Fellow from 2015-2017 and a Henry Luce Fellow in Indonesia from 1991-1992.


Helima Croft is a Managing Director and the Head of Global Commodity Strategy and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Research at RBC Capital Markets. She specializes in geopolitics and energy, leading a team of commodity strategists that cover energy, metals and cross-commodity investor activity. Helima is a member of the National Petroleum Council, a select group of individuals who advise, inform and make recommendations to the Secretary of Energy with respect to any matter relating to oil and natural gas. She also is a CNBC contributor, a member of the channel’s exclusive family of experts, is on the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Council, is a member of the Trilateral Commission, and is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Helima joined RBC Capital Markets from Barclays, where she was a Managing Director and Head of North American Commodities Research. Prior to that, she worked in Lehman’s Business Intelligence group, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Central Intelligence Agency, where she focused on geopolitics and commodities. Helima has received many industry accolades throughout her career and received her PhD in economic history from Princeton in 2001.


Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran is the new Global energy & climate innovation editor, covering the energy and utility industries, the clean energy transition, climate innovations and low carbon technologies. He leads our coverage of America’s climate and green infrastructure efforts, and keeps a watchful eye on ESG trends and corporate pledges of net-zero emissions for signs of promise as well as greenwashing.

An award-winning senior journalist, he previously served as both US Business Editor and China Business Editor. He also serves as chairman of The Economist Innovation Summit, a provocative series of global conferences on innovation.

He joined the editorial staff in 1992 as its London-based Latin America correspondent, and opened the magazine’s first regional bureau in Mexico City. From 1998 to 2006, he covered the politics, economics, business and technology of energy and the environment. From 2007 to 2011 his portfolio encompassed innovation, global health, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

His latest book, published by Harper Collins, is “Need, Speed and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems”. Amazon named it a Book of the Month and Kirkus Reviews called it “the perfect primer for the postindustrial age.” In reviewing the book, the Financial Times declared that “Vaitheeswaran is a writer to whom it is worth paying attention.” It has been translated into Chinese and several other languages. His second book, “ZOOM: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future,” co-authored with Iain Carson, was named a Book of the Year by the Financial Times.

Vijay is a life member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is an advisor on sustainability and innovation to the World Economic Forum at Davos, and his commentaries have appeared on NPR and the BBC, in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He has addressed groups ranging from the US National Governors’ Association and the UN General Assembly to the Technology, Entertainment & Design (TED), Aspen Ideas and AAAS conferences.


Mohammed Khalid Alyahya is a senior fellow at the Belfer Center's Middle East Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School, and a senior non-resident fellow at Hudson Institute. His work focuses on Middle Eastern foreign policy issues.

He is the former editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya English, the digital English language service of the largest pan-Arab free-to-air regional news network. He is a senior research fellow at the Gulf Research Centre and was a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council and the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. His analysis has been published by the European Council on Foreign Relations, the Atlantic Council, and the Royal United Services Institute in London. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Telegraph, the Guardian, and The Independent among other outlets. He has also appeared as a commentator on the BBC, CNN and CNBC, among other outlets.

Alyahya has a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and a BA in political science with a concentration on international relations from the University of Pennsylvania.