An internationally recognized thought leader and social entrepreneur, Robert is an unreconstructed academic and practitioner at heart. He is committed to mobilizing hard data and solid evidence to generate lasting social impact. At a time of global uncertainty and turbulence, Robert is convinced by the power and potential of cities big and small to scale solutions on everything from climate change to public security. For more than two decades he has worked in some of the world’s most challenging settings to promote inclusive urbanization, responsible crime prevention, more effective stability and peace operations, smarter migration policy, and the design and deployment of open and accountable gov-tech and civ-tech.


    Robert co-founded the SecDev Group to drive digital transformation and reduce cyber threats around the world. As a principal, he leads the firm’s work on digitally secure cities. He also co-founded the Igarapé Institute – an award-winning global think and do tank focused on delivering better public security, criminal justice, data privacy and city resilience. He is a senior adviser to McKinsey’s Group and sits on the board of several technology start-ups. Robert has worked with dozens of national and city governments, technology companies like Google and Uber and international agencies such as the United Nations and World Bank to help them scale success. He is also known internationally for producing evocative data visualizations and predictive platforms to improve safety, track city risks and promote algorithmic transparency.


    The recipient of several academic and humanitarian awards, Robert is (or has been) either faculty or an invited fellow at Singularity University, New York University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Oxford, the University of San Diego, the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland. In 2010, he co-founded the Stability Journal and serves on the editorial boards of several prominent scholarly journals. Between 2000-2010, Robert was the research director of the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. Since then, Robert has edited, authored or contributed to dozens of books and peer-review articles. He regularly inputs into annual United Nations Human Development Reports, World Bank Development Reports, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Reports, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Fragility Reports, and other flagship publications.

    Robert’s research is often cited in the international media, including the Atlantic, BBC, Bloomberg, CBC, CNN, Fast Company, Financial Times, Guardian, Economist, El Pais, Financial Times, Folha do Sao Paulo, Foreign Affairs, o Globo, LA Times, New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Wired. He is a regular speaker at Global Smart City Expo, the Pritzker Forum on Cities, the World Economic Forum´s annual summit (Davos) and agenda summits (Dubai), and TED in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and 2019. He is also an invited associate of the World Economic Forum´s Council on Cities and Urbanization (fellow) and the Global Risk Report (advisor), Chicago Council for Global Affairs (fellow), Canadian Global Affairs Institute (fellow), Global Parliament of Mayors (co-chair), Know Violence in Childhood (co-chair), the Transnational Organized Crime Initiative (fellow), the RESOLVE network (board of directors) and others. He received a DPhil from the University of Oxford, an MPhil from the University of Sussex and a BA from King’s College and Dalhousie University.

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