What turns a leader into a dictator?

Prof. Fathali M. Moghaddam

The 20th and 21st centuries are said to be the age of dictatorship, and this month's invasion of Ukraine is the latest frontline. With our world's leaders in the spotlight, what traits do they share, and when and why do they cross society's boundaries?

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It's been said that the 20th and 21st centuries have become known as the age of dictatorship. But while Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Idi Amin may be gone, present-day authoritarian leaders are adapting to the demands of the modern world and disguising their regimes as democracies. The current conflict in Ukraine is only the latest front in a worldwide battle between freedom and oppression. With leaders of these countries once again under the spotlight, What characteristics do dictators have in common and what can we learn about the psychology of a dictator?

In this Conversation, Professor Fathali Moghaddam joins us in The Garden to uncover the making of a dictator, and how we might be witnessing an incredible moment in the war between dictators and democracy. Fathali Moghaddam is a professor of psychology at Georgetown University in the USA, where he explores how context and culture shape human behaviour, and is also a celebrated author of The Psychology of Dictatorship, making Professor Moghaddam perfectly placed to talk about this fascinating subject.

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Talk outline


50 minutes

What to expect

30 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Prof. Fathali M. Moghaddam

Prof. Fathali M. Moghaddam is both a professor of Psychology at Georgetown University, and the editor-in-chief of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology.

Thank you notes from Garden members