Jonathan Powell served as chief of staff to British Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1997 to 2007 and was responsible for coordinating all political and non-political work in No. 10 Downing Street. Mr. Powell became Blair’s chief of staff when Blair became leader of the opposition in 1994. He was the only senior member of staff to serve with Blair throughout his time as leader of the Labour Party and was intimately involved in all the major events of those 13 years, including three successive election victories.
Mr. Powell was the principal negotiator on Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007 and was instrumental in bringing about a lasting peace in that troubled province after centuries of conflict. He played a key role in the formulation of the Blair government’s foreign policy and political strategies.
Before joining Tony Blair, Mr. Powell was a British diplomat for 16 years and played a central role in the negotiations with China on the return of Hong Kong, the Conference on Disarmament in Europe (CDE) arms control negotiations in Stockholm, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) human rights negotiations with the Soviet Union in Vienna, the two-plus-four negotiations on German unification and the G7 summits from 1989-1991.He was the political officer at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., in 1991, where he followed Bill Clinton’s U.S. presidential election campaign and introduced President Clinton and his staff to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Since leaving No. 10 Downing Street in 2007, Mr. Powell has worked as a senior managing director at Morgan Stanley in London and as a negotiator and senior adviser on different conflicts across Europe and Asia for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva. He also works with Tony Blair Associates, Save the Children and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.
In April 2008 Mr. Powell published Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland, a first-hand account of the 10 years of negotiation that led to the Northern Ireland peace settlement. He subsequently made a television documentary, “The Undercover Diplomat,” for BBC2 and conducted a lecture tour on the lessons learned from the Northern Ireland peace process.
Mr. Powell began his career as a journalist with the BBC and Granada TV after studying at Oxford University and the University of Pennsylvania.