As a world renowned intellectual and speaker on globalization and the future of the west, Bernard-Henri Lévy illuminates the challenges facing western civilization and the need to rebuild trust in the world today. As a highly acclaimed philosopher, filmmaker, activist and author of over 30 books, Lévy is a speaker who can bring an insightful narrative of global geopolitics to your event and audience.
Bernard-Henri's current book, The Will to See: Dispatches from a World of Misery and Hope, is an unflinching look at the most urgent humanitarian crises around the globe.
His previous book, The Virus in the Age of Madness, is a trenchant look at how the coronavirus reveals the dangerous fault lines of contemporary society. He also published, The Empire and the Five Kings looks at America's withdrawal from world leadership and the rush to fill the resulting power vacuum on the global stage. Assessing the big picture of international affairs, Lévy brings five decades of knowledge and experience to your audience. Speaking on a range of topics, Lévy can customize each presentation to suit your event program.
His 1977 book, Barbarism with a Human Face, launched an unprecedented controversy over the European left’s complicity with totalitarianism. Lévy has undertaken diplomatic missions for the French government and was appointed by French President Jacques Chirac to head a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in 2002 in the wake of the war against the Taliban. He followed the trail of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan to research his book Who Killed Daniel Pearl? (2003). A subsequent book, War, Evil, and the End of History (2004), took him to war sites of Colombia, Sri Lanka, Burundi and the Nuba Mountains. His reportage and commentary from Israel during the 2006 Lebanon war appeared in the New York Times Magazine. He reported on the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Darfur in 2007 in Le Monde and The Financial Times. His first-hand account of the fall of Moammar Gaddafi in Libya appeared in the form of a writer’s journal (La Guerre sans l’aimer, 2012) and a film, The Oath of Tobruk (Official Selection Festival de Cannes 2012).
In 2016, Lévy’s documentary, Peshmerga, premiered the Cannes Film Festival. Filmed in 2015 along the thousand-kilometer front separating the Iraqi Kurds from the forces of the Islamic State, Peshmerga was the centerpiece of the New York Jewish Film Festival in January 2017. Lévy's second documentary on Kurdistan, The Battle of Mosul, explored the fight to re-take the city of Mosul from the Islamic State and premiered in Europe in March 2017. Earlier documentaries include Bosna! (1994).
In Spring 2019, Lévy toured the theatres of Europe with his one-man show ’Looking for Europe’ and was a call of alarm and resistance against the rise of fascism and populism facing the continent. The play was also performed in November 2018, at The Public Theater in New York and in London as Last Exit Before Brexit. Both were based on his original play Hotel Europe which was premiered in Sarajevo and Paris in 2014 and similarly, was a cry of alarm about the crises facing Europe.
Lévy is a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Vanity Fair, CNN, Tablet Magazine, The World Post,The Huffington Post, Le Point, La Stampa, El EspaÃ±ol, The WorldPost and others.
The Search for Truth and the Future of Knowledge
With the creation of the internet and the GAFA, it was commonly believed that society was democratizing truth and giving each person the technical means with which to contribute, boldly but modestly, to the adventures of knowledge. Instead, the web became free-for-all, where everyone now shows up armed with his or her personal opinions, convictions, and truth. We started with the equal right to express our beliefs and wound up conceding that all expressed beliefs have equal value, that truth of each is precisely identical to that of his neighbor. The question now is: can we mend the fabric of the truth in our societies, and if so, how, or must we resign ourselves to its definitive rending? Bernard-Henri Lévy offers concrete, innovative and eminently strategic ideas with the conviction that hope is not lost, but that it is our collective responsibility to urgently re-establish the principles of truth and veracity for humanity.
The Rise of Populism in Europe
In the months leading up to the 2019 European parliamentary elections, Bernard-Henri Lévy traveled to 20 cities across the European continent and performed his new play “Looking for Europe” to sold-out audiences. The play addressed contemporary Europe in peril as the continent has confronted the rise of nationalism and populism and nomadic performance was a rallying call to all advocates for democracy - to dispel the demons of totalitarianism and fascism and stand up for liberal values. Along the way he met with heads of state from all political persuasions and has a unique, on-the-ground perspective, coupled with his historical philosophical analysis, to paint a sharp and original picture of today’s global political climate and rising waves of populism, in Europe and abroad. What is populism? How can it be empirically and theoretically decrypted? Why is it completely different from the sovereignty of people, in other words, democracy? What makes populism different and close to the Fascist movements of the 1930s? Why are these movements in such favor around the world today? What is real bridge between Putin and Trump? How did Great Britain fall into the throes of Brexit? Is there a way out?
The Future of the West: The Empire and the Five Kings
The United States was once the hope of the world, a beacon of freedom and the defender of liberal democracy. Nations and peoples on all continents looked to America to stand up for the values that created the Western world, and to oppose autocracy and repression. Even when America did not live up to its ideals, it still recognized their importance, at home and abroad. But as Bernard-Henri Lévy lays bare in his powerful and disturbing analysis of the world today, America is retreating from its traditional leadership role, and in its place have come five ambitious powers, former empires eager to assert their primacy and influence. Lévy shows how these five ”• Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia ”• are taking steps to undermine the liberal values that have been a hallmark of Western civilization. Lévy draws upon lessons from history and the eternal touchstones of human culture to reveal the stakes facing the West as America retreats from its leadership role, a process that did not begin with Donald Trump's presidency and is not likely to end with him. The crisis is one whose roots can be found as far back as antiquity and whose resolution will require the West to find a new way forward if its principles and values are to survive.
Money as a Facilitator for the Common Good
Capital, or money, is the greatest tool that civilization ever invented. With comprehensive philosophical and historical analysis, Lévy demonstrates, that, in essence, money equals mobility, liberty and is at the heart of democracy. It can help shape human desire in positive ways, right certain transgressions and has an ethical value far greater than we often see. When used as a means and not an end, money is to be praised as it can be a noble tool to foster good for mankind.
Facing Islamic Fundamentalism: Experiences from the Battlefield
From Lévy’s international best-seller, “Who Killed Daniel Pearl?” to his latest documentary, “The Battle of Mosul”, the philosopher has first-hand experience with fundamentalist groups like Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS and has investigated and written from the exact places where they grow and expand. From the naissance of his activism in the 1970s in Bangladesh, Lévy has supported and followed enlightened Muslims, such as the Kurds, who are on the frontlines combatting the fascism of our time: jihadism and Islamic fundamentalism. Lévy explains that the only clash of civilizations today exists within Islam: a democratic versus fundamental Islam.
What is the true impact of globalization? Is it really an unhappy process? According to Lévy, there is no better choice than the path of globalization and this should be embraced, rather than disputed. Globalization offers access to prosperity, education and, at the end of the day, democracy. And, those advocating for the contrary oppose the values of the Enlightenment. Lévy passionately shares how globalization throughout history has led to the advancement of civilization and will continue to bring both societal and economic progress if kindled.
Anti-Semitism and a Liberal Defense of Israel today
Until the tragic Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, America was a refuge, second only to Israel, for Jews around the world. In Europe, anti-Semitism festered and ran rampant, but the United States was seemingly free of this plague. However, Lévy shows that there is a new rising global anti-Semitism and it is comprised of three pillars: anti-Zionism, Holocaust denial and the competition of victimhood. This virus tugs at present-day sensibilities, emotions and is spreading across the United States and around the world. Lévy also addresses the Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) movement: a global campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel. Lévy aptly demonstrates that BDS is in fact rooted in the European anti-Semitism of the 20th century. In a logical and mathematical fashion, he provides fresh and inedited information on the Nazi background of this movement and proves that it is an alarming and growing global phenomenon. Lévy offers a passionate liberal defense of Israel and makes his case demonstrating the virtues of Israel’s extraordinary democracy. A strong multiethnic society that embraces immigrants from all over the world, Israel serves as a model of integration and openness and should be lauded.