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Ambassador Robert C. O'Brien Image

Ambassador Robert C. O'Brien

American Diplomat, Lawyer, 28th National Security Advisor (2019-2021), Former Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Former Co-Chairman of the U.S. Department of State Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan

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Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien served as the 28th United States National Security Advisor and is a highly regarded diplomat, having played an integral role in negotiating the Abraham Accords, representing the United States at the 60th UN General Assembly, and many other accomplishments.

O’Brien’s expertise in the geopolitical atmosphere, American defense, the global economy, and the Indo-Pacific inform his intellectually stimulating speeches.

Featured Videos

The View From the West Wing: Atlantic Council 2020

Global Security Forum in Qatar 2020

EXIM Bank Keynote Remarks: November 2020

Bio

Robert C. O’Brien served as the 28th National Security Advisor from 2019-2021. During O’Brien’s time in office, the United States orchestrated the historic Abraham Accords in the Middle East, brokered economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, achieved significant defense spending increases among NATO partners, and increased cooperation with America’s allies across the Indo-Pacific.

O’Brien previously served in numerous senior government positions, including as Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs with the rank of ambassador. He was personally involved in bringing over two dozen hostages and detainees back to America.

In 2016, O’Brien authored “While America Slept” published by Encounter Books. During the Trump Administration, he edited the book “Trump on China.” O’Brien’s opinion pieces have appeared in every major American newspaper and he is a frequent guest on cable TV and the Sunday shows.

O’Brien is also one of the leading lawyers in America. He holds a J.D. from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law and received his B.A. degree in political science, cum laude, from UCLA.

Speech Topics

During Robert C. O’Brien’s time as National Security Advisor, the United States orchestrated the historic Abraham Accords in the Middle East, brokered economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, achieved significant defense spending increases among NATO partners, and increased cooperation with America’s allies across the Indo-Pacific. When he served as Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, O’Brien was personally involved in bringing over two dozen hostages and detainees back to America. In a 30-year career as a lawyer in Los Angeles, O’Brien resolved some of the highest profile cases in the country. All of these matters involved delicate and sensitive negotiations and no two situations were the same. Some events took place under the harsh light of media scrutiny, while others were handled quietly in hallways and conference rooms. O’Brien will share stories and lessons learned from three decades of making deals.


As National Security Advisor, Robert C. O’Brien placed a bronze plaque on his desk that read:


“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” ― Ronald Reagan


At the White House, O’Brien lead a team of NSC professionals and coordinated the entire U.S. government interagency in one of the highest stress environments anywhere. As Hostage Envoy, his small State Department team achieved unparalleled results bringing Americans home from overseas. As the West Coast Managing partner of a national law firm, he grew the California offices faster than any other firm. In this address, O’Brien will discuss how following Reagan’s adage and adhering to the principles of servant leadership can bring success to any team.


With the advent of a new era of “Great Power Competition,” America faces its most challenging geopolitical landscape since 1939. Former National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien will walk audiences through the issues and threats facing the United States from the South China Sea to Taiwan, Iran and the Middle East, the former Soviet states in Eastern Europe, and the Western Hemisphere. He will also share insights on how the United States can prevail in the coming decades and usher in another “American Century.”


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