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Forum Affiliates

Dr Michael Axworthy
  • Dr Michael Axworthy (26 September 1962 - 16 March 2019) was the founding director of the 'A Westphalia for the Middle East' project at the Forum on Geopolitics.
  • Michael was a historian of Iran, and published widely on this subject, in the form of both important books and articles. He was also a frequent contributor to print and broadcast media. His books include The Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant; Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran; Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic; Iran: what everyone needs to know; and as editor, Crisis, collapse, militarism and civil war: the history and historiography of 18th century Iran.
  • After years at the FCO, including two years as head of the Iran section, he switched to an academic career, teaching Middle East history at Durham and Exeter, where he became Director of the Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies. In 2017 he was a Visiting Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and in the following year became a Senior Research Associate at that college. From late 2015 onwards he launched the Westphalia for the Middle East project at the Forum on Geopolitics, together with Prof. Brendan Simms and Dr Patrick Milton, and remained a crucial intellectual and practical driving force behind that undertaking, co-writing the project’s chief output, the book Towards a Westphalia for the Middle East at the end of 2018.
Timothy Less
  • Timothy is director of the Nova Europa consultancy, which provides political risk analysis of Eastern Europe and a member of Darwin College, where he is conducting research on the geopolitics of Southeastern Europe. He studied Contemporary Eastern European Politics at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London and International Relations at the University of Cambridge.
  • Previously, Tim spent a decade working as an analyst, diplomat and policymaker at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office where, among other things, he served as the Political Secretary in Skopje (Macedonia), ran the British Embassy Office in Banja Luka (Bosnia) and the EU Institutions Department, and led the Prime Minister’s initiative on Countries at Risk of Instability. He is also a former lecturer in Eastern European Politics at the University of Kent and a former risk analyst for the ratings agency, Dun & Bradstreet, where he covered the Balkans and the former Soviet Union.
Dr Patrick Milton
  • Patrick Milton is a Research Fellow at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge, as part of the Westphalia for the Middle East project, and an Affiliated Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies. He co-teaches an MPhil course on the History of European Geopolitics, 1453-1871, together with Prof. Brendan Simms. His research interests include the history of intervention for the protection of foreign subjects in early modern central Europe, the political and constitutional history of the Holy Roman Empire, early modern international relations, and the impact of the Peace of Westphalia with an emphasis on its guarantee. At the Forum on Geopolitics, he works on the Westphalia project, which seeks to draw lessons from the treaties of Westphalia (1648) for a new peace settlement for the Middle East. He was previously a visiting fellow at the Leibniz-Institute of European History, Mainz, and a postdoctoral fellow at Freie Universität Berlin. He holds a PhD and a BA in History from the University of Cambridge, and an MA in International Relations from the University of Warwick. His work has been awarded the German History Society/Royal Historical Society Postgraduate Essay Prize.
Dr Thomas Peak
  • Thomas Peak is a postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Politics and International Studies and Acting Chief Administrator at the Forum on Geopolitics. His PhD in International Relations was obtained in 2019 at the Central European University with a thesis on ‘Humanitarian Intervention & the Myth of 1648’. He is currently finishing a book manuscript based on this doctoral research. His primary research and teaching interests cover protection of civilians and the ethics and practice of international intervention, international history with a particular focus on sovereignty and international politics in Early Modern Europe, and international relations theory. He holds a BA in History from Queen Mary University and an MSt in Modern British & European History from Oxford University.
Suzanne Raine
  • Suzanne worked for 24 years in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on foreign policy and national security issues. This included postings in Poland, Iraq and Pakistan. She specialised in counter-terrorism and holding a number of senior domestic appointments.
  • She was also a senior member of the UK government assessment community, and is on the Board of Trustees of the Imperial War Museum.
Isabella Warren
  • Research and Admin Assistant
  • Isabella Warren joined POLIS in November 2016 as Research Assistant at the Centre for Rising Powers, assisting the Director Dr Kun Chin Lin on the project “Maritime Governance in 21st Century Asia”. Isabella has organised conferences, talks, provided research support, including bibliographic resources, for Dr Lin’s research group.
Dr Ayse Zarakol
  • Ayşe Zarakol is Reader in International Relations in the POLIS Department and a Fellow at Emmanuel College. Dr. Zarakol's primary research interests are in international security (with an emphasis on approaches rooted in social theory and historical sociology). More specifically, she works on the evolution of East and West relations in the international order, declining and rising powers, and politics of non-Western regional powers. She has secondary research interests in the evolution of the modern state and the international system. She is the author of After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West (Cambridge Studies in International Relations, no.118, Cambridge University Press, 2011; published with a new introduction in Turkish as Yenilgiden Sonra: Doğu Batı ile Yaşamayı Nasıl Öğrendi (Koç Üniversitesi Yayınları, 2012). Her articles have appeared in journals such as International Organization, International Theory, International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, among many others. Her research has been supported by a number of academic and government institutions in the UK, North America and Europe, such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the European Research Council. During the 2012-3 Academic Year, she was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, with placement on the Capitol Hill. Since 2010, she has been an active member of the PONARS Eurasia international academic network (funded by the Carnegie Foundation) which advances new policy approaches to research and security in Russia and Eurasia. She is currently an editor at Journal of Global Security Studies, and her most recent book is Hierarchies in World Politics (Cambridge Studies in International Relations, no.144, Cambridge University Press, 2017).