Anwar Ibrahim is a prominent Malaysian politician who served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1993-1998 and Finance Minister from 1991-1998. Since 1998 he has led Malaysia’s Justice Party in its mission to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in the country. Although he spent over eight of the last twenty years in detention as a political prisoner, his party achieved a historic electoral victory in the May 2018 Malaysian elections, shattering the ruling party’s 61-year hold on power. He was released from jail days after the election and granted a full pardon from politically motivated, trumped up charges. The new government has indicated that Anwar is the Prime Minister in-waiting and is expected to take over the Premiership of the country within the next two years.
Anwar is highly respected for his principled stance against corruption and his skillful management of the Malaysian economy during the Asian financial crisis. He has called for bold reforms to Malaysia’s political economic system in order to remain competitive in the 21stcentury. He believes an independent judiciary, free media and respect for the rule of law are cornerstones on which Malaysia’s economic strength can be expanded. He further believes that public policy should not overlook the plight of the poor and marginalized while at the same time seeking to develop infrastructure, attract foreign investment and grow the economy. The multi-ethnic Justice Party that he leads has provided a template for how Malaysia’s diverse ethnic and religious groups can work together towards a common national objective.
Throughout his career Anwar has articulated a compelling argument in support of greater understanding between East and West. At a time when many have described an inevitable clash of civilizations, Anwar’s view is that a dialogue of civilizations is necessary and vital. In the Muslim world he is unique in his ability to communicate the complex issues confronting Muslim majority countries.
Throughout his career Anwar has held key position in international institutions including President of the UNESCO World Council, Chairman of the Development Committee of World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Honorary President of AccountAbility and Advisory Board member of the International Crisis Group. He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor and Malaysia Chair at the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown. He has also taught at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and St. Antony’s College at Oxford, lecturing on issues of governance, democracy and contemporary politics in Southeast Asia.