Robert Lawrence Kuhn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Born 1944 (age 70–71)
New York
Nationality American
Education Johns Hopkins University
University of California at Los Angeles
MIT Sloan School of Management
Spouse(s) Dora Serviarian Kuhn

Robert Lawrence Kuhn[1] (born 1944) is an international corporate strategist, investment banker, and public intellectual. He has a doctorate in brain research and is the author or editor of over 25 books, he is a long-time adviser to China's leaders and the Chinese government; adviser to multinational corporations on China strategies and transactions; and a frequent commentator on business, finance, and China (he is a columnist for China Daily and South China Morning Post and he appears regularly on the BBC, China Central Television and other major media). For over 20 years, he has worked with China's senior leaders, advising on economic policy, science and technology, media and culture, Sino-American relations, and international communications. Kuhn is the creator and host of the CCTV News show Closer to China with R.L.Kuhn.[2] Kuhn is the creator, writer, and host of the public television series Closer to Truth, which presents leading scientists and philosophers discussing fundamental issues, particularly cosmos, consciousness, and philosophy of religion.[3]


Kuhn received a bachelor's degree in human biology from Johns Hopkins University (where he was Phi Beta Kappa) in 1964, a PhD in anatomy and brain research from the University of California at Los Angeles' Brain Research Institute in 1968; and a master of science in management as a Sloan fellow from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1980.[4]


Early career[edit]

Kuhn first came to prominence in 1972 when "Why the Vast Difference between Animal Brain and Human Mind?" appeared in The Plain Truth magazine published by Ambassador College, an institution of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). The WCG’s Systematic Theology Project[5] was coordinated by Kuhn, but later banned by WCG Founder Herbert W. Armstrong. Kuhn severed his connection to the WCG and its affiliates, including the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (classical music concerts, featuring musicians like Vladimir Horowitz and Luciano Pavarotti), which Kuhn had created and managed.

During the 1980s, Kuhn represented American and Japanese companies in M&A. He advised the governments of China, the United States, Germany, and Israel on the commercialization of high technology.


Kuhn spoke at the launch ceremony of President Xi Jinping's book, entitled Xi Jinping: The Governance of China at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 8, 2014.[1] For the 18th CPC National Congress in Nov. 2012 and China’s new leaders, especially CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping (Paramount leader), Kuhn provided commentary for the BBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, CNBC, AP, Reuters, Euronews, etc. He was the featured foreign commentator daily on China Central Television (CCTV News).[2] [3] [4] His special essays introduced China's new leaders and China's new government: “The seven who will run China” (China Daily, November 19, 2012) offers personal insights into China’s new leaders, the seven members of the new Standing Committee of the Politburo, and "New challenges for new leaders" (China Daily, March 19, 2013) presents the multiple problems that China's new government must address. Since 1989, when he was invited to China by the State Science and Technology Commission (under Song Jian), Robert Lawrence Kuhn has worked with China’s senior leaders and advised the Chinese government on a variety of international, policy and business matters.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn is the author of How China’s Leaders Think: The Inside Story of China's Past, Current and Future Leaders, featuring exclusive discussions with more than 100 Chinese leaders and officials and introducing China’s next generation of senior leaders including CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping.[5] [6]

Robert Kuhn wrote The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin.[6] It was the first biography of a living Chinese leader and was a best-seller in China in 2005.[7][8] Kuhn is co-editor-in-chief of China’s Banking & Financial Markets: The Internal Research Report of the Chinese Government.

Kuhn advises and works with China leaders on special projects. For then Vice President Xi Jinping’s US visit in Feb. 2012, Kuhn advised and gave commentaries / interviews about Xi. He advised then Zhejiang Party Secretary Xi Jinping on his prior U.S. visit (2006). Kuhn has worked with CPC Politburo Members Xi Jinping, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Gaoli, Li Yuanchao and Wang Yang.

Kuhn is creator, writer and host of the five-part public television TV series "China's Challenges", co-produced with Shanghai Media Group, which won first prize in China News Award [7] and is presented by PBS SoCaL (2013). The series focuses on critical issues confronting China’s new leaders and government (social problems like healthcare, economic transformation and pollution, political reform and transparency, science and innovation, beliefs and values). China's Challenges II, focusing on the Chinese Dream, will be broadcast on PBS stations in 2015.

Business, finance, M&A[edit]

Kuhn advises leading multinational companies, CEOs and C-Suite executives, on formulating and implementing China strategies in a variety of sectors, including science and technology, information technology, energy and resources, industrial, media and entertainment, healthcare / medical / pharmaceuticals, consumer products, financial services. He works with major Chinese companies on capital markets and M&A activities. Kuhn is Senior Advisor to Ernst & Young (Office of the Chairman).

Kuhn has more than 30 years of experience in M&A. He was president and co-owner of The Geneva Companies, the largest M&A firm in the US representing middle-market companies (which he sold to Citigroup in 2000). Under his leadership, more than 1,400 M&A transactions were completed, and more than 10,000 corporate evaluations were conducted.

Media and publications[edit]

Kuhn is the author or editor of 25 books on business strategy/finance and science/philosophy, including Dow-Jones Irwin’s seven-volume Library of Investment Banking. He is a frequent commentator on the BBC (BBC World News / BBC World Service), CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC, Euronews, others. Kuhn is senior advisor to China Central Television (CCTV), and appears as senior international commentator for political, economic, social and business matters on CCTV News (broadcast worldwide and across China).[8] [9] He has written for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes and Chief Executive. Robert Kuhn is a regular columnist for China Daily and South China Morning Post on China politics/economics and international affairs ("Knowing how China's leaders think" and "Telling China's true story" ).

Robert L. Kuhn was profiled in Barron’s [10] He is one of the China Visionaries in the TV series produced for China’s 60th anniversary by Shanghai Media Group (one of two Americans selected, along with Henry Kissinger), and he was featured on CCTV Channel 1’s Focus Talk. Kuhn created, wrote, and presented a six-episode series on Expo 2010 Shanghai, “Expo’s Meaning, Shanghai’s Mission,” broadcast on CCTV. For the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, Kuhn co-produced (with Shanghai Media Group), wrote, and presented a five-episode TV series, China's Challenges, on China's key domestic issues and problems that China's new leaders face.[11] Kuhn was selected by Oriental Outlook magazine (published by Xinhua News Agency) as one of the all-time top-ten influential supporters of China’s ruling party/CPC (he is the only one living).

Robert Kuhn's articles on China’s economic future (“What Will China Look Like in 2035” and “China’s Elite Aims for Stability”) and China’s political future (“Building ‘Intra-Party Democracy’ in China” and “China’s New Roadmap for Political Reform”) are in BusinessWeek.

Kuhn has written many articles. His “Science as Democratizer”, featured in American Scientist magazine, argued how the scientific way of thinking can influence global society. His scientific / philosophical article "Why This Universe? Toward a Taxonomy of Possible Explanations" is published in the Vol. 13.2 2007 issue of Skeptic Magazine, and "Levels of Nothing" in the Vol. 18.2 2013 issue.

Kuhn's latest book, edited with John Leslie, is The Mystery of Existence: Why is there Anything At All?

Other affiliations[edit]

CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company

Kuhn is a partner in CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company, a joint venture between China Central Television, the state broadcaster in China, and IMG, the global sports and media company.

The Kuhn Foundation

Kuhn is chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, which disseminates understanding in science and philosophy, supports cultural endeavors, and promotes good relations between America and China. The Foundation produces the Closer to Truth TV series. It also produced the documentary of his wife Dora Serviarian-Kuhn, Khachaturian, which won the Best Documentary award at the 2003 Hollywood Film Festival, and (with China Central Television) In Search of China for PBS.

The Geneva Companies

From 1991 to 2001, Kuhn was president and co-owner of the Geneva Companies, a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) firm representing privately owned, middle-market companies. In 2000 Kuhn sold the Geneva Companies to Citigroup.[9]


Several reviewers argue that Kuhn has obtained privileged access to China's leaders by refraining from making critical comments about them, producing propaganda instead of serious works of non-fiction. His The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin was an authorised biography. A review in Foreign Affairs said it was actually better understood as an autobiography, presenting an image that China's leaders want the world to see. Additionally, it said the writing of the book was, beginning in 2001, overseen by a secret state propaganda team.[10] The Asian Review of Books said that the first part of Kuhn's biography of Jiang was "close to hagiography".[11] A review on the website of Forbes said his later book, How China’s Leaders Think: The Inside Story of China's Past, Current and Future Leaders, was equally reluctant to criticize Hu Jintao, the leader who followed Jiang. The reviewer writes: "Kuhn merely repeats what the Communist Party says about itself and accepts its words at face value, taking obsequiousness to new heights." [12]

Closer To Truth[edit]

Closer to Truth is a continuing television series on PBS and public television stations, created, produced, written and hosted by Robert Lawrence Kuhn. The series premiered in 2000. The current series, Closer to Truth: Cosmos. Consciousness. God is now in its 14th seasons. See List of Closer to Truth episodes. Closer To Truth is centered on candid, in-depth conversations with leading scientists, philosophers, theologians, and scholars, covering cosmology and physics (cause, size and nature of the universe or multiverse), brain/mind and consciousness, and philosophy of religion and the search for meaning. The Closer To Truth website features >3,500 videos of conversations on Cosmos, Consciousness and Meaning.

Media and Publications[edit]

  • Interview by Fareed Zakaria, GPS / CNN, October 5, 2014 [12]
  • Interview by Christiane Amanpour, AMANPOUR / CNN, May 29, 2013 [13]
  • "Xi's blueprint for rejuvenating China cuts through the fear and confusion," South China Morning Post, October 13, 2014 [14]
  • "Decoding Xi's Future Vision," China Daily, October 20, 2014 [15]
  • "Xi Jinping's Chinese Dream," The New York Times (Global Edition / International Herald Tribune), June 5, 2013, p. 6 [16]
  • "Xi Jinping, a nationalist and a reformer," South China Morning Post, June 6, p. A15 [17]
  • "China's Challenges" - five-part public television series presented by PBS SoCaL [18]
  • "TV Series Aims to Decode China," China Daily, June 18, 2014 [19]
  • "New challenges for new leaders," China Daily, March 19, 2013 [20]
  • "The seven who will run China," China Daily, November 19, 2012 [21] [22]
  • CNN: Global Exchange, "Chinese Leadership Transition Explained," November 15, 2012 [23]
  • Bloomberg: "Xi Jinping knows China has to reform," November 15, 2012 [24]
  • CNBC: "China: The Next Decade," November 15, 2012 [25]
  • Euronews: "China: the straining giant's new leaders," November 15, 2012 [26]
  • Australia Network News: "Inside China's Leadership," November 14, 2012 [27]
  • "Doing Business in China," The Economic Times (India), November 16, 2012 [28]
  • China Central Television (CCTV): commentaries during the 18th CPC National Congress [29] [30]

[31] [32] [33] [34]

  • China Central Television (CCTV): Dialogue with Ambassador Wu Jianmin [35]
  • China Central Television (CCTV): Special Series for the 18th CPC National Congress [36]

[37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44]

  • “China still has much to do in promoting cultural influence: U.S. banker,” Xinhua News Agency, October 26, 2012 [45]
  • "Economic model must change," China Daily, September 14, 2012 [46]
  • "The 'big four' concerns of Chinese," China Daily, September 25, 2012 [47]
  • “China can produce. Can China Create?” China Daily, October 18, 2012 [48]
  • "New media increases transparency," China Daily, October 23, 2012 [49]
  • "What do the Chinese people believe," China Daily, October 12, 2012 [50]
  • "Knowing how China's leaders think," China Daily, July 26, 2012 [51]
  • "How China's Next Leader Will Guide," International Herald Tribune, March 23, 2012 [52]
  • "On a mission to explain 'real' China," Shanghai Daily, November 25, 2012 [53]
  • "Telling China's true story," China Daily, June 15, 2012 [54]
  • "A New Theory for China’s Next Generation of Leaders: The Three Blurs?" Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2011 [55]
  • "Is China Really Changing," Interview with Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Barron's, June 19, 2010 [56]
  • BBC World Service, "China Communists Meet," October 15, 2010 [57]
  • CNBC: "China Under Pressure," August 12, 2010 [58]; "China’s Future Lies in China," May 2, 2010 [59]; "Getting Serious on the Yuan," October 23, 2009 [60]; "How China’s Leaders Think," September 22, 2009 [61]; "Xi Jinping vs. Hu Jintao," January 18, 2011 [62]
  • Euronews: "US and China to press reset button," January 18, 2011 [63]; "Nobel Peace Prize: China's Anger," December 10, 2010 [64]; "North Korea 'embarrasses' China, says expert," November 10, 2010 [65]
  • China Central Television (CCTV), “Expo’s Meaning, Shanghai’s Mission” (2010) [66]
  • Closer to Truth: Cosmos, Consciousness, God [67]
  • Closer to Truth: Science, Meaning and the Future -- [68] (hosted at PBS)
  • The Mystery of Existence: Why is there Anything At All?, co-edited with John Leslie, Wiley-Blackwell (April 2013) [69]
  • "Why This Universe? Toward a Taxonomy of Possible Explanations," Skeptic Vol. 13 No. 2 2007 [70]
  • "Science as Democratizer", American Scientist, September–October 2003 [71]
  • Articles on investment banking, M&A in Chief Executive magazine. [72]
  • "A Problem of Perception: Why China and the U.S. aren't on the same page," BusinessWeek, April 24, 2006, page 33 [73]
  • "Mastering the Art of Doing Business in China," Chief Executive Magazine, December 2005. [74]
  • Commentary on The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin -
    • Foreign Affairs [75]
    • Wall Street Journal [76]
  • People’s Daily - Scientific Perspective on Development - March 21, 2005
  • "Part I: Guangdong Visions: A Talk with Wang Yang", BusinessWeek, June 5, 2009 [79]
  • "Does God Exist," China Daily. [80]
  • "CCTV Channel 1’s Focus Talk" [81]
  • "Foreign 'China Visionaries' speak", Shanghai Daily [82] [83]
  • "China Visionaries", Robert Kuhn, Shanghai Media Group (International Channel Shanghai) [84]
  • "China's Next First Lady Moves to a Bigger Stage," Newsweek, January 17, 2011 [85]
  • "CPC helps build confident nation," China Daily, June 24, 2011, published as a China Daily supplement in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune [86]
  • "Telling It Like It Is," China Daily, September 2, 2011 [87]
  • "Is China Really Changing," Kuhn interview, Barrons, June 21, 2010 [88]


  1. ^ "Dr. Robert Kuhn". ichannel. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  2. ^ "Homepage, Closer to China with Robert Kuhn, -". Retrieved May 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ International Society for Science & Religion. "Robert Lawrence Kuhn". International Society for Science & Religion. 
  4. ^ Global Horizons: America's Challenge in Science and Innovation. "Speaker Biographies". University of Southern California. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Systematic Theology Project".  1978, which can be obtained on data disc from
  6. ^ Chang, Gordon G. (January 20, 2010). "Politically Incorrect: Robert Lawrence Kuhn's "How China's Leaders Think."". Forbes. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  7. ^ Gilley, Bruce (September–October 2005). "In China's Own Eyes". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  8. ^ Kuhn, Robert Lawrence, and Bruce Gillery (January–February 2006). "One Country, Two Prisms". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ Reckard, E. Scott (September 14, 2000). "Citigroup to Acquire Irvine-Based Geneva Group for $200 Million". Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ "In China's Own Eyes". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved May 11, 2015. 
  11. ^ "The Asian Review of Books". Retrieved May 11, 2015. 
  12. ^ Gordon G. Chang (January 20, 2010). "Politically Incorrect". Forbes. Retrieved May 11, 2015.