Nicholas Barker

Senior Leadership Education Specialist, Leadership Program, Professional Development Program
BarkerN [at]
Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, Cambridge University
Area of Expertise: 

Leadership education and development; adaptive and agile leadership; leading diversity and corporate anthropology; crisis leadership, resilience and hope; global trends and disruptive innovation

Dr. Nicholas Barker has designed and delivered leadership programs for the East-West Center since 1998. He was director of the flagship Asia Pacific Leadership Program for the first ten years, helped set up the Leadership Program and has directed the Pacific Islands Leadership Program since 2015.  Nick has also directed the Leadership Certificate for the Asian Development Bank since 2002, the Advanced Leadership Program and the ASEAN Leaders Program.  He co-founded Changing Faces, a program for women leaders.

Professor Barker specializes in leadership in a changing world. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, he places leadership in context by analyzing global and regional trends, then suggests ways adaptive leaders can respond in a new world of work. Nick’s recent books include Crisis Leadership and Resilience (2018) and Entrepreneurial Leadership (2019). His passion is deep learning.

Nick currently holds the Chair of Leadership at Universiti Tun Abdul Razak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and has been Visiting Professor of Leadership in the International MBA Program at the University of Tsukuba in Tokyo, as well as Rikkyo (St. Paul’s) University and Nagoya University in Japan. He has an M.A. in social anthropology from St. Andrews University in Scotland and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.  Nick is affiliate faculty in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai’i and conducted long-term field research in the Philippines, as featured in the BBC/Discovery documentary, Beyond Endurance

Dr. Barker also works as a global leadership consultant in the private sector.  He is Asia Pacific Director of TomorrowToday Global and has collaborated with corporate leaders from over 75 countries in a wide range of industries. Nick has consulted for Goldman Sachs across East Asia, presented on leadership at the World Economic Forum, and advised the United Nations on leadership development. He has been a regular presenter on global trends and leadership to senior executives in Nestlé worldwide. Other recent clients include HSBC, Boeing, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), L'Oréal, Credit Suisse, Novartis, Caterpillar, Booz Allen Hamilton, Petronas, The Prime-Minister’s Office in United Arab Emirates, Mars, Oracle, Nokia, Emirates, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, Rio Tinto, Chinalco, SCG and Genpact.  Professor Barker is an educator and orchestrator for DukeCE, London Business School, Imperial College, and Headspring (Financial Times-IE Business School).    

Nick works with traditional deep-ocean navigators in Hawaii and serves on the Education Board of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, which sailed around the world from 2013-2017 without scientific instruments.