skip to primary navigationskip to content

Forum on Geopolitics

Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Studying at Cambridge


Forum Affiliates

Dr Michael Axworthy
  • Michael Axworthy visited Iran many times as a teenager in the 1970s, studied history at Peterhouse 1982-85, joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1986 and served as the Head of Iran Section 1998-2000. He left the FCO in 2000, and began teaching at Exeter University in 2005. His first book The Sword of Persia, about the Iranian conqueror Nader Shah, was published in July 2006. He has written a number of articles on eighteenth-century and modern Iran for academic journals and edited volumes. He has also produced a series of pieces on contemporary Iran and other subjects for Prospect magazine (, the Guardian, the Independent and the New Statesman and has made numerous TV and radio appearances discussing Iranian subjects (including on BBC World TV’s Doha Debates, BBC Radio 4's Today programme and History of the World in 100 Objects, hosted by Neil McGregor of the British Museum). He has done consultancies for Credit Suisse and Citibank, and briefings and other speaking engagements for the US, British, Norwegian and Dutch governments, and NATO.
  • In January 2017 Oxford University Press published his fourth book, Iran: What Everyone Needs to Know.
Kaitlin M. Ball
  • Development Coordinator
  • Kaitlin M. Ball is a licensed U.S. attorney pursuing a PhD in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, where she focuses on security in post-Patten Northern Ireland.
Richard Bassett
  • Richard Bassett is an expert on Central Europe. After graduating from Christ’s College and the Courtauld Institute of Art, he worked for ten years as The Times correspondent in Eastern Europe during the closing decade of the Cold War before returning to London to take up various posts in the City. He is the author of several books, most notably “For God and Kaiser”, (Yale 2015), the first history of the Habsburg army to be published in English. He has taught at the Soros University of Budapest, the Universities of London, Ljubljana, Trieste and Zagreb.
Dr John Bew
  • Dr John Bew works with the Forum on Geopolitics to support the Westphalia for the Middle East research project. He is a reader in History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department at King's College London and Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. Dr Bew is also contributing writer at the New Statesman and a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, American Interest, National Interest, New Republic and Irish Times. From 2007-10, he was Lecturer in Modern British History, Harris Fellow and Director of Studies at Peterhouse, Cambridge.
Galip Dalay
  • Galip Dalay works as a research director at Al Sharq Forum, senior associate fellow at Al Jazeera Center for Studies, and non-resident fellow at Brookings Institution, Doha Centre. He previously worked as a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, guest scholar at Institute for Human Science (IWM) in Vienna, and as a political researcher at SETA Foundation in Ankara. He was book review editor of quarterly magazine Insight Turkey, 2013 - 2016. He is a regular contributor to German Marshall Fund’s On Turkey policy brief series since 2013.
  • Research Interests: Regionalism and Regional Order, Pan-Arab and Pan-Islamic Ideas of Regionalism and Internationalism, Turkish Politics, Turkish Foreign Policy, Middle East Politics with a particular focus on Syria and Iraq, History and Politics of Turkish - Western/European relations, The Question of Regional Order, Monarchies and Republics in the Arab World, Regional Kurdish politics, Political Islam, and Radical Movements.
  • He completed his undergraduate studies at Istanbul University, and MSc at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He will be a visiting scholar at Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, October 2018 - June 2019.
  • Besides book and academic publications, his piece has appeared, of others, on Foreign Affairs, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, The World Post, Middle East Eye, World Politics Review, and Open Democracy. In addition, the media organisations that have either quoted him or interviewed with him includes The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Reuters, Al Jazeera, BBC, France 24, NZZ.
Professor Montserrat Guibernau
  • Montserrat Guibernau works with the Forum on Geopolitics on activities relating to state unity and secessionism, with particular reference to Catalonia and Europe.
  • Prof. Guibernau holds a PhD in Social and Political Theory, King’s College, Cambridge and a BA in Philosophy, University of Barcelona. She is currently Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London.
  • Her current research focuses upon wider multidisciplinary intellectual agenda in Politics and Sociology, it concerns key academic and policy debates about migration, nationalism and ethnic diversity in the EU and the US as well as the study of challenges posed by secessionism and ethnic violence.
  • At present she holds a Visiting Fellowship at the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Cambridge (POLIS). She is also a Member of the Management Council at the Canada Blanch Centre, London School of Economics. In 2012-2014 she held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship on: ‘Identity, Emotions and Political Mobilization’.
  • She has taught, researched and supervised graduate students at Queen Mary, having previously held an ESRC senior research fellowship at the University of Warwick and lectureships and a readership at the University of Barcelona and the Open University. Montserrat has held visiting positions at the University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada, the University of Tampere, Finland, the Austrian Academy of Social Sciences, Austria, the London School of Economics and the University of Cambridge.
  • She has delivered lectures at many universities in North America, including New York University, Columbia University, Princeton and, most recently, Harvard University as well as lecturing at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, and being invited as speaker at the Beijing Forum, 2007.
  • E-mail:
Dr C J Jenner
  • Christopher John Jenner is First Sea Lord Fellow; Research Associate, Centre of Geopolitics and Grand Strategy, University of Cambridge; Research Fellow, King’s College London; and Senior Research Fellow, Institute for China-America Studies. He holds Master of Studies and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has won various awards and fellowships: Economic and Social Research Council Fellow, University of Oxford; Research Fellow, Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies, Joint Services Command and Staff College, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom; Research Fellow, New England Centre and Home for Veterans; Research Fellow, St Cross College, University of Oxford; Research and Teaching Fellow, University of London; Research Fellow, University of Massachusetts; Research Fellow, William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences; and Visiting Research Fellow, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (Học viện Ngoại giao Việt Nam), Hanoi. At Cambridge, he is leading the Forum on Geopolitics’ work on the Indo-Pacific, and two international research projects: (i) an investigation of sea power’s influence on relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America, 1949-1996; and (ii) an account of the conception and formative conduct of the unique alliance between the cryptographic services of Great Britain and the United States, 1940-1943. In addition to his academic work, Dr Jenner undertakes governmental analytical commissions, and has contributed to award-winning television series.
Nora Topor Kalinskij
  • Research Assistant
  • Nora T. Kalinskij is a foreign policy analyst. On the global level, she studies geopolitical shifts and political trends focussing on Europe and the Russian Federation. On the regional level, she specialises in Eastern European geopolitics, analysing how Russian-Western relations play out in this theatre. Nora is an analyst for the Russian International Affairs Council. Before joining the Forum on Geopolitics, Nora worked with the ‘Russia in Europe’ programme of the Körber Foundation in Hamburg and the analytical centre Rethinking Russia in Moscow. Nora previously headed a policy team working on ‘Syria: Reforms for Peace and Stable Government’. This project was a joint venture between The Wilberforce Society, a policy hub at the University of Cambridge, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Nora holds a BA Hons in Politics and International Relations (HSPS) from the University of Cambridge.
Dr Charlie Laderman
  • Lecturer in International History at King's College London
  • Charlie Laderman is a Lecturer in International History at King's College London, and is currently the Harrington Faculty Fellow at the University of Texas's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs & Clements Center for National Security. Dr. Laderman was formerly a Research Fellow at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge, and an Affiliated Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. His research focuses on 19th and 20th century America and its relations with the wider world, with an emphasis on the intersection between U.S. and International History, the interconnection between U.S. foreign policy and domestic politics, and the relationship between imperialism, humanitarianism and liberal internationalism. He was previously a Fox International Fellow at the Whitney and Betty Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies, and Smith Richardson Fellow in International Security Studies, both at Yale University, and an AHRC Fellow at the Kluge Center, Library of Congress.
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. Kun-Chin Lin
  • Dr. Kun-Chin Lin is the Deputy Director of the Forum on Geopolitics. He is a university lecturer in politics and Director of the Centre for Rising Powers at the University of Cambridge. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and obtained his PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. Kun-Chin was a Leverhulme postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford and taught at King's College London and the National University of Singapore.
  • His research focuses on the politics of market reform in developing countries. His current projects include federalism and regulatory issues in transport infrastructure and electricity grid expansion in China, industrial policy and privatization of Chinese state-owned enterprises, and the economic and security nexus in maritime governance in Asia and the Arctic. He is a member of Energy@Cambridge, Cambridge Centre for the Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance, Centre for Science & Policy of the University of Cambridge, and a collaborating partner of the Global Biopolitics Research Group based at King’s College London.
  • Kun-Chin is an editorial board member of Business & Politics, and an advisory board member of Routledge Research on the Politics and Sociology of China Series and Palgrave MacMillan Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy Series. He is an Associate Fellow of the Asia Programme of the Chatham House.
01223 767 262
Dr Patrick Milton
  • Patrick Milton is a postdoctoral research fellow at Freie Universität Berlin, whose 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 long-term impact of the Peace of Westphalia with a particular emphasis on its mutual guarantee. At the Forum on Geopolitics, he is a Research Affiliate of the ‘A Westphalia for the Middle East’ Laboratory for World Construction, 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. 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 2013 German History Society/Royal Historical Society Postgraduate Essay Prize.
Rainer Neske
  • Rainer Neske is working with the Forum on Geopolitics on a series entitled 'German Geopolitics Today'. Born in Münster, Germany, in 1964, Mr. Neske is Chairman of the board of Trustees of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, a member of the Management Board of the non-profit Hertie Foundation and also a member of the Advisory Board of Deutsche Vermögensberatung AG. Furthermore, he is a member of the Supervisory Board of Save the Children Deutschland e.V.
  • Until June 2015, Mr. Neske was a member of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank AG. As the Global Head of the business division Private & Business Clients, he had global responsibility for the Private & Business Clients corporate division, operating under the brand names Deutsche Bank, Postbank and Berliner Bank.
  • Mr. Neske studied Computer Science and Business Administration at the University of Karlsruhe. He joined Deutsche Bank in 1990 and initially worked in a number of management positions, primarily in the Information Technology area. In 1999, Mr. Neske was appointed a senior executive of Deutsche Bank 24 AG. In 2001, he became Deputy Spokesman. In March 2003, he became Spokesman of the company's Management Board. At the same time, he was made a member of the Group Executive Committee (GEC) of Deutsche Bank AG. On April 1, 2009 Mr. Neske was appointed to the Management Board of Deutsche Bank AG.
Dr Aaron Rapport
  • Aaron Rapport is a lecturer in Cambridge's Department of Politics and International Studies and a fellow at Corpus Christi College. He was previously an assistant professor of political science at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Prior to receiving his PhD in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, he held pre-doctoral fellowships at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. His research interests include international security, political psychology, and U.S. foreign policy. His book, _Waging War, Planning Peace: U.S. Noncombat Operations and Major Wars_, was published in 2015 by Cornell University Press in its Security Affairs series. His work has also appeared in leading journals of international relations such as International Security, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Peace Research, and Security Studies. He has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses on international relations theory, foreign policy analysis, security studies, and qualitative research methodology.
Dr Stefano Recchia
  • Stefano Recchia’s principal research interests are in international security studies, foreign policy analysis (especially military intervention decision making), and just war theory. His monograph, Reassuring the Reluctant Warriors: US Civil-Military Relations and Multilateral Intervention, was published in 2015 in the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs book series. The book develops a new explanation of when and why the United States seeks formal multilateral approval from organisations such as the United Nations or NATO for its military interventions. Drawing on nearly 100 interviews conducted with senior US officials, Recchia argues that America's top-ranking generals, as reluctant warriors who value international burden sharing, play an under appreciated role in steering US intervention policy toward multilateral engagement. Recchia’s research has also appeared in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, including Ethics & International Affairs, International Theory, the Journal of Strategic Studies, Security Studies, and the Review of International Studies.
Dr Maeve Ryan
  • Maeve Ryan is a Lecturer in History and Grand Strategy at King's College London. Her broad area of specialization is nineteenth-century British imperial history, with a specific interest in sub-Saharan Africa, the East and West African slave trades, and their legacies. She holds a PhD from Trinity College Dublin and an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge.
Tim Sebastian
  • Tim Sebastian is a journalist and broadcaster, currently the presenter of Conflict Zone on DW Television. He has been a BBC foreign correspondent, based in Warsaw, Moscow and Washington, and reported for BBC Television from more than 25 countries over a 30-year period.
  • He is perhaps best known for being the first host of the BBC’s flagship interview programme Hardtalk – for which he was twice named Interviewer of the Year by the Royal Television Society. Sebastian has also won the Society’s Television Journalist of the Year award, as well as BAFTA’s Richard Dimbleby Award for the most important personal contribution to factual television.
  • In the last 10 years he has worked extensively in the Middle East, founding and presenting the Doha Debates on BBC TV and the New Arab Debates on DW.
  • He is a board member of Democracy Reporting International, a Berlin-based NGO that promotes democracy, primarily in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
  • He graduated in modern languages from Oxford University and is the author of eight novels and two non-fiction titles.
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).