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Dr Jude Browne awarded Pilkington Prize 2016/17

last modified Feb 22, 2017 01:16 PM
Dr Jude Browne awarded Pilkington Prize 2016/17

Jude Brown

The Department is delighted to congratulate Dr Jude Browne, Reader in Gender and Politics and The Jessica and Peter Frankopan Director of the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies, on being awarded a 2016/17 Pilkington Prize for teaching.

In his letter of support, Head of Department Prof David Runciman wrote:

“For fifteen years Jude Browne has been an outstanding teacher of Gender Studies, pioneering both undergraduate and graduate courses and contributing an enormous amount to help raise the profile of interdisciplinary approaches to the teaching of gender across the University.  Her personal commitment has been tireless and transformative.  As course director and a fully engaged, hands-on teacher she has developed the MPhil in Gender Studies into one of the leading programmes in the country, designing and delivering courses that have received consistently outstanding feedback.  In the last two years she has introduced a new paper in Gender and Politics into the HSPS Tripos, which has garnered glowing tributes from students, who speak of its range, its topicality and its ability to broaden their horizons.  ‘The best thing I have studied here!’ is a wholly typical response.  Jude has been a superb supervisor and Director of Studies for King’s and has played a significant role in ensuring the overall success of the HSPS Tripos.  It is hard to think of anyone who has done more for social science teaching in Cambridge in recent years: Jude has helped to change its focus, to engage our students and to draw different subjects together.”

The Pilkington Prize awards were inaugurated in 1994 and endowed by Sir Alastair Pilkington to acknowledge excellence in teaching. The prizes are awarded to individuals who make a substantial contribution to the teaching programme of a Department, Faculty or the University as a whole. There are twelve prizes awarded each year, with nominations made by each School.  The prizes are awarded annually by the Vice-Chancellor.

Our Gates US Scholars-elect 2017

last modified Feb 09, 2017 01:53 PM

Thirty-six of the most academically outstanding and socially committed US citizens have been selected to be part of the 2017 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University of Cambridge - and six will be joining the Department of POLIS. 

Mr Montana Wilson

MPhil Development Studies

Montana Duke Wilson is an enrolled member of the Gros Ventre tribe of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and is descendent of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Prior to receiving his bachelor degrees, Montana held commissions as a criminal prosecutor and public defender for the Fort Peck Tribes. Upon the successful completion of his MPhil, Montana plans to return to his reservation to pursue a career in economic development for his tribes.

Mr Nicholas Ahamed

MPhil International Relations and Politics

Nicholas Ahamed joins Cambridge from Stanford University where his research focused on bringing rigorous methodologies to questions of politics, race and voting. His thesis examining Islamophobia in America synthesized the lessons of his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and his minor in Statistics. Subsequently, he served as a data scientist at Civis Analytics providing data-driven strategic recommendations and targeting guidance to PACs in the 2016 election.

Ms Anna Forringer-Beal

MPhil Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies

Anna Forringer-Beal’s undergraduate research at the University of Michigan focused on understanding the experiences of Central American women as they migrated to the United States. While researching at the Undocumented Migration Project, she was able to explore how cultural perceptions of immigration and gender influenced modern policy. As an MPhil student at Cambridge, Anna’s research will compare human trafficking policy in the United Kingdom and the United States to better understand their impact.

Ms Rebecca Resnik

MPhil Public Policy

Rebecca Resnik has served the United States in the Department of Defense and as a Foreign Service Officer at the Department of State. After graduating from Georgetown University with a degree in international politics and security studies, she began her career in the world of intelligence, concentrating on counter-terrorism and combating proliferation. Rebecca currently serves as the Public Diplomacy Coordinator for Mainland Southeast Asia, developing outreach programs that promote U.S. Government priorities in the region.

Ms Chelsie Riche

MPhil African Studies

At Rutgers University, Chelsie Riche received her BSc degree in Africana Studies and History. She served as president of the Galvanizing and Organizing Youth Activism (GOYA) organization, where she planned 5k walks to promote literacy, and collected school supplies for local and global communities. At Cambridge, Chelsie’s research will centre on the contemporary student led #FeesMustFall movement in post-apartheid South Africa.

Ms Jessica Van Meir

MPhil Development Studies

As an undergraduate at Duke University majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, Jessica Van Meir has focused on using policy for the advancement of gender equality, whether through combatting campus sexual assault, advocating for transgender rights in Ecuador, or increasing menstrual product access for girls and women in Kenya and the US. Through the MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge, Jessica plans to further study how states and citizens negotiate space in cities and explore methods for combatting poverty in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. 

CRIA MPhil Prize

last modified Jan 30, 2017 09:44 AM

Generously supported by the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (CRIA), the Department is delighted to announce a new prize for current MPhil students. The prize will be awarded to the student who achieves the highest average mark in their MPhil.

The Cambridge Review of International Affairs is a peer-reviewed journal which publishes original scholarship on international affairs. It is committed to publishing diverse approaches, methods and areas of analysis, and encourages the submission of interdisciplinary work from academics and policymakers.

This year the journal celebrates 30 years of publishing and is launching the new prize to mark the occasion.

The 2016/17 winner of the prize will be announced in October 2017. 

Al Jazeera Center for Studies Media Project final Conference

last modified Jan 25, 2017 01:45 PM

On January 7-8, 2017, the final Conference for the Media in Political Transition in the southern Mediterranean was held in Doha, the Al Jazeera headquarters.

The Conference brought together the eight academics from Morocco, and seven from Turkey, who make up the scholarly team for this second tranche of the research project.

Presided over by Director and Primary Investigator of the project, Dr. Roxane Farmanfarmaian, and by the Director of the Al Jazeera Center for Studies, Dr. Salah Eddin Elzein, the proceedings were moderated by Al Jazeera News anchors, and academic papers received commentary from respondents drawn from the academic community in Doha, including Georgetown University of Foreign Service in Qatar, and Northwestern University in Qatar.  Read the Project's Findings here.

Dr Farmanfarmaian has also recently been awarded, along with fellow CIRMENA researcher Dr Ali Sonay, a Philomathia Forum 2017 grant, which you can read more about here


Professor Jason Sharman, the new Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations

last modified Jan 09, 2017 01:29 PM

Professor Jason Sharman is the new Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge, succeeding Prof Christopher Hill who retired in September 2016.

Jason received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999, and his undergraduate degree in history and politics from the University of Western Australia. Previously, Sharman worked at American University in Bulgaria, the University of Sydney and Griffith University, and he has spent shorter periods as a visitor at St Petersburg State University, Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

He will be teaching on the second year undergraduate paper POL3: International Organisation and the MPhil in Public Policy. Jason’s recent publications include International Order in Diversity: War, Trade and Rule in the Indian Ocean (2015) which won the 2016 Jervis-Schroeder Award and the 2017 Francesco Guicciardini Prize, and his next book The Despot’s Guide to Wealth Management: On the International Campaign against Grand Corruption is due for publication in March 2017. 

Dr Ayse Zarakol becomes Associate Editor for the Journal of Global Security Studies

last modified Dec 16, 2016 09:30 AM

Starting January 2017, Dr Ayşe Zarakol will be stepping in as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Global Security Studies, replacing outgoing editor Kimberly Marten (Barnard/Columbia). The journal, launched in 2016 by the Oxford University Press on behalf of International Studies Association, aims to showcase first-rate work addressing the variety of methodological, epistemological, theoretical, normative, and empirical concerns reflected in the field of global security studies.  


Africa's Voices awarded MRS President's Medal 2016

last modified Dec 05, 2016 10:12 AM

Africa's Voices, a non-profit research organisation originating from the Centre of Governance and Human Rights in the Department of POLIS, has been awarded the Market Research Society President's Medal 2016 for the impact the organisation has made through its work with UNICEF Somalia. 

The President's Medal is awarded annually to an organisation that has made an extraordinary contribution to research.

Africa's Voices began as an applied research pilot at CGHR in 2012 and 2013. In late 2014, it was spun out as an independent non-profit organisation and registered UK charity. CGHR's Director, Dr Sharath Srinivasan, and CGHR Research Associate, Dr Claudia Abreu Lopes, are closely involved in the spin-out, and have built active and ongoing research links between Africa's Voices Foundation and researchers in Cambridge University, from linguistics and psychology to physics and computer science. 

Africa’s Voices Director, Dr Sharath Srinivasan, says: “We’re excited about how seizing the communications revolution, through rigorous, innovative research, can amplify hard-to-reach citizens voices and enhance well-being in African countries. To be recognised by the Market Research Society with the President’s Medal so early on in our journey puts wind in our sails.”

More information about Africa’s Voices Foundation can be found here. More information about their work with UNICEF Somalia can be found here.

2016 Gamble and Hill Prize Winner

last modified Dec 02, 2016 11:23 AM

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries for the Gamble and Hill Prize.

The overall winner was Rosie Kat - you can view her film below. 

The judging panel were looking for originality, personality and personal engagement with the topic. 

The judges made the following comments regarding Rosie's entry - 

Rosie Kat is a worthy winner of the Gamble and Hill prize. The film looks in a provocative way at the hollowness of much of contemporary political debate. Rather than take on a preachy tone, though, it engages subtly with how spectacle has come to dominate over substance. The film was imaginatively and cleverly designed, and brought out well how short films can be effective in illustrating a political standpoint.



Scholarships Available for 2017/18 Applicants

last modified Feb 07, 2017 11:52 AM

If you are applying to the POLIS PhD or Masters programmes for 2017/18 and are in need of funding, we are pleased to announce that we have a number of scholarships available:

The David & Elaine Potter Foundation Fund

This scholarship is available for students from African countries undertaking either a one-year MPhil in International Relations and Politics, or a three-year PhD in a field related to governance and human rights from 2017. Jointly funded by the David & Elaine Potter Foundation and the Cambridge Trust, the scholarships will pay the full cost of study and living in Cambridge for the length of your course. To be eligible, you must apply to either the MPhil or PhD programme via Graduate Admissions by the 7th December, 2017. For further information, please contact  

YouGov Scholarship

YouGov are working alongside the Department of POLIS to provide a fully funded three-year PhD scholarship for Home/EU students in a field related to the study of public opinion, starting in the 2017-18 academic year. The scholarship will pay the full cost of study and living in Cambridge for the three-year course. Please indicate your interest in the fund on your PhD application form, and submit this by the 31st January, 2017. For further information, please check out the Fees and Funding webpage on our main website:

The Gabrielle Sacconaghi Bacon Scholarship 

The Gabrielle Sacconaghi Bacon Scholarship is available to applicants in 2017-18 who are either final year students at McGill who are currently enrolled in the International Relations Programme; or alumni of the Page Programme (House of Commons or Senate) in Canada. Further information, including the criteria and how to apply, is available through Hughes Hall.  


POLIS Alumnus Zafar Ansari makes Test debut

last modified Oct 28, 2016 10:09 AM

POLIS Alumnus Zafar Ansari, who graduated with a BA in Politics, Psychology and Sociology in 2013, is making his Test debut for the English cricket team in their International Test Match Series against Bangladesh. 

Zafar was due to make his England debut in 2015 but was prevented by a dislocated left thumb; an injury he obtained on the same day as his England call up. 

Zafar is a slow left-arm spinner and has been picked alongside two other spinners - Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

You can follow the live coverage of the Test match via the BBC Sports website

Good luck, Zafar!

2016 R.A. Butler Prize Winners

last modified Sep 19, 2016 01:25 PM

The R.A. Butler Prize for essays in Politics and International Studies is a competition that can be entered by students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th. 

The Prize is jointly organised by Trinity College Cambridge and Cambridge University’s Department of Politics and International Studies. The Prize was established in memory of the former Master of Trinity College, Lord Butler, who most famously served as Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and who was responsible for the introduction of free secondary education for all students in the UK.

The objectives of the R.A. Butler Prize are twofold. Firstly, it aims to encourage students with an interest in modern politics and world affairs to think about undertaking university studies in Politics, International Studies or a related discipline; it is not limited to those already studying these subjects or indeed other social sciences. Secondly, its intention is to recognise the achievements both of high-calibre students and of those who teach them.

The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college (the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens), and a Second Prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college.

This year we received 104 entries, a record number for this prize. 

The winner of the 2016 prize is Silas Edwards from St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, Bristol, who wrote his essay to the question "Does the rise of social media make politics more polarised?". 

Second prize went to Eliza Harry from Greene's Tutorial College, Oxford, who wrote her essay to the question "Is there a meaningful distinction between economic and political power?". 

Special commendations were awarded to Caleb Darwin (Ysgol Gymmraeg Bro Morgannwg, Barry), Charlotte Phillips (Portsmouth Grammar School, Portsmouth), Jamie Arthur (Marling Grammar School, Stroud), Queenie Choi (Australian International School, Hong Kong), Cassia Roberts (Wycombe Abbey School, High Wycombe) and Toby Cohen (University College School, London).

Congratulations to all the winners!


Professor Lawrence Hamilton awarded NRF/British Academy SA-UK Bilateral Research Chair

last modified Sep 12, 2016 04:28 PM

In February 2016 Professor Lawrence Hamilton was awarded an NRF/British Academy SA-UK Bilateral Research Chair in Political Theory (the only one in the humanities, see award ceremony, 4 May 2016).

The condition of this Chair is that he spend 6 months a year in the Department of Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa and 6 months a year in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), Cambridge, UK, building research networks in political theory between the two institutions.

The Chair has four central purposes: to enable the two institutions to build on their excellence in political theory through a vigorous exchange of ideas from the perspectives of two very different contexts; to use this collaboration to increase the prominence and promise of political theory in South Africa, transforming both the discipline and showing how the growth of political theory in South Africa is central to its transformation agenda; to build a vibrant exchange programme for graduate students and colleagues between the two institutions; and for Lawrence to supervise graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at both institutions.

The Chair will enable growth in the number of graduate students and research fellows researching in political theory by offering scholarships at various levels. Over time the Chair intends to expand the exchange programme to include the London School of Economics, the School of Oriental and African Studies, Queen Mary University of London, New York University, University of Helsinki, University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town.

In terms of his own research and graduate teaching, Professor Hamilton offers a novel approach to political theory. His research interests include topics in contemporary political theory, such as states, power, representation, freedom, needs, rights, resistance, democracy, markets and political judgement, as informed by real world politics, particularly in the global South, the history of political thought, and South African politics, political economy and intellectual history.

He welcomes interested PhD students (or prospective PhD candidates) in Cambridge for supervision on any of these or related topics or thinkers. Notices will soon also be posted regarding the exchange programme. Please feel free to contact Lawrence on to find out more about supervision or the exchange programme.

Lawrence has taught and researched at 4 universities on 3 continents and currently, at Wits, is supervising 8 PhD students and 2 postdoctoral fellows. He is the author of several books including The Political Philosophy of Needs (Cambridge University Press 2003); Are South Africans Free? (Bloomsbury 2014); and Freedom is Power: Liberty Through Political Representation (Cambridge University Press 2014). He is a Life Member of Clare Hall and an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). He is editor-in-chief of Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, and has received more than ten awards for research excellence, including this Research Chair, a TOFAC Award (2014), an NRF President’s Award (2007-11) and the Gladstone Memorial Prize (1996). For more, see his CV at the Association for Political Theory in Africa (APTA), which he co-founded and co-directs.

Postgraduate Open Day - 2nd November 2016

last modified Oct 19, 2016 10:59 AM

The University of Cambridge is hosting its first Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday 2 November 2016 and the Department of Politics and International Studies will be taking part. 

Attending the open day is an excellent way to explore the graduate courses and opportunities available at the Department.

During the first part of the day participants will be able to attend a registration hub where detailed information about the graduate application process is available; current graduate students and Graduate Admissions Office staff will be on hand to answer questions about postgraduate study and student life in the vibrant city of Cambridge. In addition, prospective applicants will have the chance to learn more about individual courses and talk to academic staff from the departments and Colleges.

We will have a stall in the Law Faculty where you can speak to administrators about each of our courses. 

In the afternoon, the Department will be holding information sessions for all of our MPhil and PhD courses. Details of these sessions are below -

Location: West Road Concert Hall

2pm: PhD in Politics and International Studies, Professor Brendan Simms

2.20pm: MPhil in International Relations and Politics, Dr Pieter van Houten

2.40pm: MPhil in Public Policy, Dr Finbarr Livesey

2.55pm: MPhil and PhD in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies, Dr Lauren Wilcox

3.15pm: MSt in International Relations, Dr Julie Smith


3.30pm: MPhil and PhD in Latin American Studies, Dr Joanna Page

3.40pm: MPhil and PhD in Development Studies, Dr Graham Denyer Willis and Dr Ha-Joon Chang

4.00pm: MPhil in African Studies, Dr Adam Branch

4.15pm: MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies, Professor David Washbrook



If you would like to attend the University of Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day, you can book here.

The University of Cambridge Postgraduate Open day is open to current undergraduate students or graduates who are seeking to enter into postgraduate study at Masters or PhD level. Due to limited places it is essential that you book via the link above and bring your ticket with you on the day. You are welcome to bring a parent or supporter with you. Please register them for the specific parent/supporter ticket at the link above. Access to hubs, facilities and Colleges will be restricted to ticket holders only.

If you have any queries about the main part of the day, please do get in touch with

If you have any queries about the Department's sessions, please email 


Dr Josip Glaurdic wins 1.5 million ERC Starting Grant

last modified Sep 02, 2016 11:38 AM
Dr Josip Glaurdic wins 1.5 million ERC Starting Grant

Dr Josip Glaurdic

Congratulations to Dr. Josip Glaurdic for being awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant of 1.5 million Euros from among the nearly 3000 applicants in the 2016 call.

ERC Starting Grants are designed to encourage young talented research leaders to gain independence in Europe and to build their own careers. The scheme targets promising researchers who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders. The grant will fund Dr. Glaurdic’s latest project titled "Electoral Legacies of War: Political Competition in Postwar Southeast Europe”.

Dr Glaurdic is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow and a fellow of Clare College. He received his PhD in political science from Yale University, and his work is primarily concerned with the European Union, its role in international relations and its policies in South-eastern Europe.

Lisa Smirl Prize awarded to PhD Alasia Nuti

last modified Aug 03, 2016 10:29 AM

Congratulations to Alasia Nuti, who has been selected as the 2016 winner of the Lisa Smirl Prize for her fantastic work towards her PhD and thesis, "Historical structural injustice: on the normative significance of the unjust"

"This is an excellent thesis that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It is ambitious in its objectives... it is a beautifully presented piece of work and written with an impressive command of language." - Internal Examiner, Dr Jude Browne

Alasia became a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Frankfurt upon completion of her PhD programme here at POLIS, and is now currently a lecturer in Political Theory at the University of York.

The Prize is named in memory of Lisa Smirl, who gained her PhD in the Department in 2010 but who sadly died of cancer in February 2013. A full list of winners since the creation of the prize can be found here.

Thanks and farewell

last modified Sep 15, 2016 10:43 AM

As we reach the very end of the 2015/2016 academic year, we have some people to thank for their input to the Department over the past year and, in some cases, for a lot longer.

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Professor Christopher Hill, Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations

Professor Hill joined the University in 2004, first as Director of the Centre for International Studies (CIS). He later became Head of Department of the newly merged POLIS, serving between 2012 and 2014. In his final year Chris has taught the large Part I International Relations paper, an MPhil course on Foreign Policy Analysis and has carried an heroic administrative load as one of the senior members of the Department.

Professor Hill gave his valedictory lecture in May 2016: ‘What’s left of the international?’ He retires on 30th September 2016 but we hope to see him around the Department for many years to come.


Professor David Howarth’s secondment as Director of the MPhil in Public Policy (MPP) comes to an end this year and he returns to the Department of Land Economy to enjoy a year’s sabbatical. Prof Howarth created and oversaw the first three years of the MPP in POLIS.

Dr Nikitas Konstantinidis leaves us after three years as a temporary lecturer to take up a tenure-track post in Spain. 

Dr Lior Erez departs for Italy after two years as a Teaching Associate in POLIS, giving numerous supervisions to undergraduates taking the second-year international relations paper.

Dr Payam Ghalehdar has spent the past year teaching US Foreign Policy: History and Theory to our MPhil students and is returning to life as a postdoc in Germany.

Dr Julian Huppert’s secondment to the Department has also come to an end and he returns to the Department of Physics. Dr Huppert has just been re-selected by the Liberal Democrats to stand for election as MP for Cambridge in the next election.

Dr Nazia Mintz Habib has been lecturing on the MPP over the past two years as well as undertaking research on development and policy.

We also say goodbye to two Leverhulme Early Career Fellows, Dr Alexander Anievas and Dr Josip Glaurdic.

We wish all our colleagues well as they move on from POLIS: thank you for everything and all the best for the future.

Dr Lauren Wilcox awarded International Studies Association, Theory Section's Best Book Award for 2016

last modified Jul 15, 2016 12:49 PM

Congratulations to Dr Lauren Wilcox, Deputy Director of UCCGS, for winning the International Studies Association Theory Section's Best Book Award for 2016 at the recent ISA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.  Dr Wilcox's recent book, Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations, engages with feminist and queer theory to provide a re-reading of several contemporary modes of political violence and its management, which aims at moving from bodies being an 'absent presence' in studies of war and security (such as torture, force-feeding, suicide bombing, drones and more) to considering a political analysis of bodies and embodiment as both shaped by, and productive of, practices of violence.

POLIS Undergraduate Prize Winners Announced

last modified Jul 01, 2016 03:34 PM

Our undergraduates have now completed their end of year assessments and prizes have been duly awarded.

The John Dunn Prize for the best dissertation by a final year student has been awarded to Eleni Courea (King’s College), whose dissertation “Society, government and political obligation: The role of war in the political thought of David Hume and Adam Ferguson” was the stand-out work submitted this year. In the dissertation, Eleni showed the different ways in which Hume and Ferguson up-ended Hobbesian premises about the role of war in the formation of society.

For the first time, the Schmidt Prize, for the best long essay by a second year student, has been jointly awarded to two students: Addye Susnick (Newnham College) and James Riseley (Trinity College). Addye wrote on whether can be local solutions to environmental problems, drawing upon her earlier work on water scarcity in Peru. James wrote on why relational inequalities matter more than luck inequalities. Our prize panel considered both to be excellent pieces of work, and were unable to decide between them. Therefore it was decided to award both students the prize.

The Geoffrey Hawthorn Prize for the highest average in papers POL1 and POL2 is awarded to Alex Paturel (Jesus College).

Congratulations to Eleni, Addye, James and Alex, and to all undergraduate students on their hard work this year.

POLIS graduate Nivi Manchanda wins 2015 Salje Medal

last modified Jun 27, 2016 02:13 PM

Congratulations to POLIS graduate Nivi Manchanda, who has been awarded the 2015 Salje Medal for the best PhD dissertation in the Arts and Social Sciences by a student at Clare Hall, Cambridge. Her dissertation was on “Imagining Afghanistan: The History and Politics of Imperial Knowledge Production.” Dr Manchanda is now an Assistant Professor of International Studies at Leiden University.

ARB Green Team achieves Gold award

last modified Jun 07, 2016 01:36 PM

On 2nd June, the Alison Richard Building Green Team was presented with the NUS Green Impact Gold Award, in recognition of the work it has done to make the building and the departments working within it more environmentally sustainable. To achieve an award, teams must provide evidence of changes to policy, procedures and attitudes within the department or College. The ARB Green Team was one of only 16 teams to attain Gold. Some of the ARB achievements include installing PIR lights to save electricity, improving biodiversity by putting up a nestbox, monitoring duplex printing and encouraging greener travel with our Sports Relief bike challenge. POLIS was also recognised for a Special Award, as joint Runner-Up in the Environmental Improvement Award category for creating a new online admissions database, saving 6 000 sheets of paper each year. For more information on the Green Team, click here.

POLIS PhD student wins Bill Gates Sr Prize

last modified May 20, 2016 10:41 AM

POLIS is delighted to announce that Njoki Wamai, who is studying for a PhD in Politics and International Studies, is one of two Cambridge Gates Scholars who have been awarded the Bill Gates Sr Award in recognition of their outstanding research and social leadership.

Njoki was recognised for both her research and her work in promoting greater diversity in Cambridge. She is the founding president of the Cambridge East African Society (CamEAS), co-founder of the African Society of Cambridge University (ASCU) and the Black Cantabs project which aims to curate the achievements of black Cambridge alumni. Her PhD research on the politics of justice during the transitional period in Kenyan politics after the 2007-8 post election violence has identified her as one of the next generation of leading scholars in the field of peace and security in Africa.

The Bill Gates Sr Prize was established by the Gates Cambridge Trustees in June 2012, to enable Scholars to nominate a fellow Scholar in recognition of their impact and contribution to their peers whilst in residence in Cambridge.

Further detail about the award can be found here

POLIS Academic Poster Competition

last modified Apr 29, 2016 01:47 PM

We are delighted to announce the Poster Competition, open to all PhD students in POLIS.

Academic posters are a great way to disseminate your research and to promote your work at conferences. A good academic poster will capture attention, explain your ideas and open further discussions. Entering the competition will give you valuable experience in presenting your research to your peers. All entrants will receive individual feedback from our team of judges and the winning poster will win a prize.

Dates for your diaries

  • 10th June - Deadline for the initial submission of your first draft. 
  • 10th July - Feedback from POLIS academic judging team will be given to all entrants. This feedback can be used to improve the poster before the final deadline, or before you take it to conference with you. 
  • 10th September - Deadline for final poster submission.
  • October - Induction Day. The top posters (chosen by the panel of judges) will be printed and displayed in the Alison Richard Building. PhD students, postdocs and academics will be invited to vote for the overall winner who will receive a prize of £100. 

The competition is open to all POLIS PhD students and the winning poster will win a prize of £100.

Full details, guidance, examples and resources for creating an academic poster can be found on the Poster Competition Moodle site.

For more information, please contact

POLIS workshop - Europe and its crises

last modified Jun 03, 2016 12:51 PM

On Thursday 30th June - Friday 1st July, POLIS is convening a two-day workshop on the theme of "Europe and its Crises". The workshop will include a roundtable discussion on the implications of the UK referendum on membership of the EU. Participation is aimed at PhD candidates and early career academics and practitioners.  To express an interest in attending the workshop,  please respond to by Friday 29th April. 

Draft programme

Papers and Panels

We are seeking papers on topics relating to any aspect of the many crises facing the European Union in 2016, including:

I)                     Populism and political parties,

II)                    Industrial relations and social policy,

III)                  EMU and new economic governance,

IV)                 Security, development & migration (EU's external dimension)

V)                   The European Court of Justice and questions of law,

VI)                 Theories of European integration and democracy, and

VII)                The implications of the ‘Brexit’ debate. 

We also warmly welcome any further suggestions for topics which fit inside the overall theme of the workshop. 


From its earliest days, crises have been part and parcel of the life of the European project (McCormick, 2012). Indeed, Jean Monnet said that ‘Europe will be forged in crises, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises’. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria on Europe’s shores has tested the union’s single-border. The ongoing financial crises in Greece and the European periphery have shaken the foundations of the single currency to its core. In June the UK will hold a referendum on whether or not to leave the EU. Yet despite these enormous challenges, the EU’s border, its currency and its membership and institutions have, to date, survived relatively intact.

Running counter to the dominant narrative of the EU ‘having lost its way’ (e.g. Jensen and Miszlivetz, 2015Lee, 2013Woods, 2016) the workshop will seek to investigate the extent to which the survival of the EU and its institutions throughout these crisis years can be seen as a success for the European project. Bedeviled by challenges, can the EU and its institutions be seen as resilient and responsive, having hammered out hard-fought solutions and remedies to these crises, or are we indeed witnessing the slow-motion demise and disintegration of the European project?

As such, the workshop will seek to shed light on:

a)       the nature, origins and implications of Europe’s many challenges,

b)       the extent to which the EU can be seen to be in crisis, having itself survived each round of crisis to date, and

c)       how these challenges have changed the EU, what it does, and what it stands for.

Roundtable discussion on UK referendum on EU membership 

The timing and location of the workshop also afford us a unique and exciting opportunity to organise a roundtable discussion about the implications of the UK referendum on EU membership which is scheduled to take place on June 23rd (one week before the workshop). The panel will be composed of experts and practitioners from the worlds of politics, journalism and academia. 

Fee and logistics

A fee of £20 for students and £30 for staff will apply to attend the workshop to cover the cost of catering. There is also limited funding available for travel and accommodation bursaries. Please contact Barry Colfer at with any questions regarding funding and logistics.

Please express your interest in attending the workshop by responding to by Friday April 29th. The deadline for the submission of papers will be Friday June 24th.

Further details, including regarding speakers who will be participating at the roundtable event on the UK referendum, to follow.

To download the call for papers click here

13 Gates Scholars to join POLIS in 2016

last modified Apr 25, 2016 04:15 PM

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship aims to identify and select applicants who are academically outstanding and are likely to be transformative leaders for the benefit of others in all fields of endeavour.

Competition for the Scholarships is fierce. The successful candidates were selected from a total pool of 3,730 applicants on the basis of their intellectual ability, commitment to improving the lives of others, leadership potential and academic fit with Cambridge.

The Department of POLIS is delighted to welcome 13 new scholars for the 2016-17 academic year, including the first Gates Scholar from Rwanda. 

Mamasa Camara 

Degree and subject: MPhil African Studies

Atticus Deprospo

Degree and subject: MPhil Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies

Sagnik Dutta

Degree and subject: PhD Politics & International Studies

Georgiana Epure

Degree and subject: MPhil International Relations & Politics

Jessica Fernandez De Lara Harada

Degree and subject: PhD Latin American Studies

Emily Kassie

Degree and subject: MPhil International Relations & Politics

Safwan Aziz Khan

Degree and subject: MPhil Public Policy

Dima Krayem

Degree and subject: PhD Development Studies

Alice Musabende

Degree and subject: PhD Politics & International Studies

Sharmila Parmanand

Degree and subject: PhD Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies

Noor Shahzad

Degree and subject: MPhil Modern South Asian Studies

Abdul Hai Sofizada

Degree and subject: MPhil Public Policy

Parvathi Subbiah 

Degree and subject: PhD Latin American Studies

‘What’s left of the international?’ - Professor Christopher Hill's Valedictory Lecture

last modified Mar 29, 2016 10:28 AM
Wednesday May 4th 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Clare College, Riley Auditorium

‘What’s left of the international?’

Professor Christopher Hill (Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations)

Valedictory Lecture

In the century of two world wars and a Cold War one could have been forgiven for thinking that everything important was determined by the movement of world affairs. Now the reverse seems true. International relations are commonly discussed as if hostage to US election campaigns, to the emergence of some new populist movement in Europe, or to the health of the Chinese economy. In universities, although the subject of International Relations is in great demand, its definition in relation to other social sciences, notably politics but also sociology, economics, geography and law, can seem ever more blurred. This lecture considers what, if anything, is still distinctive about the international realm, and what that implies for its future academic study. A degree of intellectual autobiography will be woven into the discussion….

4.30pm - Tea and Coffee in the Garden Room at Clare College

5-6.00pm - Lecture in the Riley Auditorium

6.15-7.00pm - Drinks reception in the atrium of the Alison Richard Building

All welcome.

Banu Turnaoglu wins leading dissertation prize

last modified Mar 30, 2016 10:28 AM

We are delighted to announce that POLIS postdoc Banu Turnaoglu has won the Sir Ernest Barker Prize for Best Dissertation in Political Theory for her thesis “The Formation of Turkish Republicanism (1299-1923)”.  The Sir Ernest Barker Prize is a leading annual prize of the Political Studies Association.

Banu’s exceptional dissertation has received high praise from Professor Şükrü Hanioğlu, the leading world authority in the field. “The dissertation is clearly written, logically structured, and carefully researched….Truly it is a work of depth, narrative power, and substantive importance”.

David Runciman, Head of POLIS, said "I'd like to offer my personal congratulations to Banu Turnaoglu on this very prestigious award.  Banu's research on the intellectual origins of Turkish republicanism is fascinating as history and at the same time deeply topical.  It cuts across disciplines and regions to provide important insights into some fundamental tensions of modern politics at the intersection between East and West.  Her work represents the best of POLIS and we are delighted with her success."

Banu was presented with her prize at the PSA Annual International Conference in Brighton on 22nd March. 

New History and Politics Tripos - further details

last modified Mar 04, 2016 09:42 AM

The History and Politics is an exciting new joint Honours degree which will run for the first time in 2017. It offers subjects from the highly regarded History and Politics and International Relations courses, together with bespoke papers which will allow students to explore the space between the two disciplines.

New History and Politics website with further details, including paper options and admissions requirements. 

Further information

If you are interested in applying for this course you can find more information on how to apply on the University's Undergraduate Study pages. You can find more information about Politics and International Relations here on our website. For more information about studying History at Cambridge, please visit the Faculty of History website.

Subject Masterclasses 2016

The Politics and International Relations Masterclass 2016 is on Friday 8th April and booking is now open!

Click here to book your place. 

Subject Masterclasses are aimed at academically-able Year 12 students from any school/college. They are subject-specific events, which offer students a true flavour of undergraduate study and an introduction to the University of Cambridge.

What is a Masterclass?

The Masterclasses provide students with an opportunity to explore topics of interest beyond what is covered within the A Level syllabus, and offer students a true flavour of undergraduate study and an introduction to the University of Cambridge.


Coming soon - the History and Politics Subject Masterclass!

We are currently finalising the details of the Masterclass for the new History and Politics Tripos. Keep an eye out for further updates. 

The 2016 Antcliffe Lecture with Tristram Hunt MP

last modified May 05, 2016 01:43 PM

Pragmatism versus Populism: Building a winning Labour Project in the age of anti-politics

Tristram Hunt is Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central. From October 2013 until September 2015, Tristram served as Labour's Shadow Education Secretary focusing on developing Labour's policy on teachers' professional development, vocational education and early years education.

Speaking in the aftermath of the General Election results, he called on Labour's ruling National Executive Committee "not to rush our election", saying there was time for a "brutal post-mortem" about Labour's "underlying philosophy and thinking".

The Antcliffe Lecture was established following a donation in the name of John Antcliffe, who studied History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, before going on to become a respected public relations professional. You can read more about John Antcliffe, who passed away in March 2010, here.

The lecture took place on Thursday 28th April in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre at Trinity College and the recording can be viewed below. 


Giulio Regeni 1988-2016

last modified Mar 31, 2016 09:06 AM

As Head of Department at POLIS I wish to express my profound shock and sadness at the death of our student Giulio Regeni.  Our very deepest sympathy goes out to Giulio’s family and his many friends.

On Friday, following consultation with the Mistress of Girton, Giulio’s college, I wrote to the Egyptian Consul General in London to convey our sense of shock and to ask to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation into the circumstances of Giulio’s death, as a matter of urgency.  The text of this letter is published at the end of the page.  Our request has been acknowledged and we will pursue this and any other means to try to discover the truth behind this appalling event.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University, the Mistress of Girton and the Head of the Centre of Development Studies have all been in contact with Giulio’s family to offer our deepest condolences.  Events have been held in the Department and in Girton to remember Giulio and to mourn for his loss.  We will be discussing with Giulio’s college and his friends how we can best commemorate his life and work in due course.  


David Runciman

Head of Department


Giulio Regeni, who was found dead in Cairo, Egypt on 3rd February, was a highly promising young scholar of social and economic development in the Middle East. Giulio came to the University of Cambridge in 2011, after previously obtaining a first class degree for his BA in Arabic and Politics at the University of Leeds. In Cambridge, he studied for a master’s degree in Development Studies. His academic results were excellent, and he was awarded a high pass in completing the degree. His time on this MPhil also fostered his academic interests in the Middle East, and took him on to applying for professional postings in the region. He ended up in Cairo, working for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, where he furthered his keen interests in the labour sector, economic change and governance in a country that was undergoing significant political changes.

Wanting to develop these interests more systematically, and after a year working for the international consulting firm Oxford Analytica, Giulio came back to Cambridge in 2014. He returned to the Centre of Development Studies at the Department of Politics and International Studies to study for a PhD, with the aim of pursuing an academic career. Inspired by work on how trade unions organised in pre-2011 Egypt, Giulio sought to understand how the labour sector was changing in the country, in the context of economic globalisation and greater international institutional linkages. After completing the first year of the PhD in Cambridge, he arranged to spend part of the year 2015-16 as a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo.

Giulio was passionate about his research. He was always receptive to new ideas and approaches, but his work remained driven by a sense of justice. Giulio was enthusiastic also about communicating his knowledge to a wider audience. He signed up to teach a course on the comparative politics of the Middle East to undergraduate students, intending initially to return to Cambridge from Egypt in early January 2016 to begin teaching. But with research and conversations in Cairo progressing well, he postponed his intended return until March. He was last seen alive on 25th January, travelling by metro in central Cairo, on his way to visit friends. He was 28 years old at the time.

Glen Rangwala

Memories of Giulio

Giulio was my PhD buddy. A fellow lover of Egypt, social justice, and human dignity. On Friday the 5th of February, a few days after Giulio's body had been found, I went to a ceremony for him at Girton College. Every chair in the room was occupied. We were all invited to light a candle and share a few memories. It soon became clear that none of us could. One candle after the other was lit in complete silence. Never before have I been at a ceremony where people were all too struck by someone's death to say a single word. So consider this one of my memories. You were so loved that nobody was able to sing your praises. Nothing that could have been put in words would have done you justice. And nothing that we could have said would have been able to express the absolute terror we feel of having lost you in the way we did. How such kindness could have met such cruelty is simply beyond words. Sometimes, silence rings the loudest.


Giulio was one of the first PhD students in development studies to introduce himself to me during my MPhil, to take a genuine interest in my work, and to make me feel like I was a part of the department. Despite him not knowing me very well, he went out of his way to make it a welcoming environment, and I am grateful for that. He will be missed, in the department and beyond.


Giulio thank you for your courage, your curiosity and the powerful gift you have left us in our memories and your work. You just have left such an incredible, inspirational path behind you. It's so difficult to find the right words but I wanted to say thank you, somehow, for your engagement with my research too. Thanks for staying to chat, for sharing ideas (and our common heroes!) Your writing brings deep respect to the daily, exhausting and vital work of people whose efforts are barely recognised elsewhere. To the personal relations, the everyday indignation and stubborn perseverance in the efforts to build a better world. You documented hope, even where it is so hard to see, especially now. Not hope in the abstract sense, but a hope that takes strength and commitment. There just are so many more things to talk about, so many paths left to explore. But instead all I can say is that all of us who knew you - and all those others who will know you in your work and in your memory - will try our best to keep struggling for that kind of just, compassionate world that you fought for. Giulio, rest in deep peace, but we will keep fighting with you.


Nessuno potrà spegnere i sogni , la curiosità per la vita , l'amore per le pagine della storia , l'impegno civile e sociale, il desiderio di dare un significato alla propria vita, costruendo un percorso dedicato a tutti. Una preghiera per Giulio.


Giulio was passionate and committed researcher, a person with a sense of humour, and a good friend. I met Giulio in the French course offered by CULP. After realizing that we were from the same department, we became friends. Since we were based in the ARB building, we often went for coffee or lunch, or took a short break from writing by having a casual or ‘academic’ conversation in the green sofa area and exchanging ideas. He enjoyed analysing development issues, conflicts (or post-conflict situations), Europe, and many other societal problems. We also talked and argued about casual and study-related issues. As a person looking for solutions to problems, Giulio was one of those people who sought to contribute to making the world a better place.


Giulio was in my eyes unrivalled in his intellectual curiosity amongst our peers. It is with huge admiration that I remember him determinately and resolutely asking for feedback from all of us amongst the PhD students whenever he gave a presentation or simply voiced an idea in conversation. The reason he would do this more than the rest of us was because he wanted to be meticulous in his work and understanding, to ensure that he was not making errors, and quite simply because he was so evidently instilled with an insatiable yearning to understand the world around him. He has set a fine example for the rest of us, and I will forever try to be as brave and determined as he was.

Touching on the above theme, I will never forget Giulio's idealism and genuine desire to see the world become a better place. He inspired me in this regard - talking about the Green Party, the election of Jeremy Corbyn, the like. You could see in his eyes the excitement at the thought of a society becoming fairer, and again a kind of steely belief that things really good be better.

These qualities are endlessly admirable, yet they are not the things I will miss most about Giulio. At the end of the day it is always the personal that counts. Giulio was exceptionally positive and friendly, keen to make all people feel happy and comfortable. Anecdotally, the caring patience that he showed when speaking to various visiting fellows whose English was not strong was sincerely amazing, and it was emblematic of the kind of person that he was. The kind of person who would take the time to be friendly to everyone.

It is a wrenchingly heartbreaking injustice that Giulio has been killed. He was an exceptional person, and I, like all of our mutual friends, will miss him immensely. He is an inspiration to all those who want to do good.


You know how researchers specialising in a particular field/ area sometimes feign interest in studies that lie outside of our zone of interest? Giulio never did that. He was one of those rare scholars - genuinely curious with insatiable thirst for knowledge. He was sincerely interested in the research of everyone in his department (including mine which was based on education in India – far from his research interest!). Sitting in our department and discussing my thesis, with him asking me questions out of genuine interest, helped me in my research because his questions and ideas always made me think and improve.

His intellectual capability and profound passion for knowledge and research was unmatched. No wonder he became such an international citizen with affiliations to some of the best global educational institutions like United World College, University of Cambridge, and American University in Cairo. He was fluent in four languages – English, Spanish, Arabic and Italian: a quality I was always envious of. His passion for Middle Eastern studies and his love for Egypt were as infectious as his bright smile.

The goodness in him was not limited to his superior scholarly capability. He was also an extremely kind and compassionate person. We were both assistants to late Professor Ajit Singh (who had suffered from Parkinson’s disease), and I clearly remember how actively Giulio would be by Prof Singh’s side whenever needed. My last conversation with Giulio was regarding Prof Singh’s birthday gift, and Giulio had great plans for a celebration. Unfortunately, Prof Singh passed away before we could bring Giulio’s vision for his birthday to life.

Giulio was a good person, colleague, researcher and friend. It was a privilege knowing him. I thank him today for showing sincere interest in my research and helping me with my work, for always being kind to all of us, for showing us the true definition of courage, and for teaching us the valuable lessons of tolerance and fearless pursuit of knowledge and truth. He will be missed dearly.


Letter to Egyptian Consul General

5th February 2016

Dear Mr. Youssef,

It is with huge sadness that I have learnt of the loss of one of our PhD students, Giulio Regeni.

Giulio was on a field study trip in Cairo, contributing towards his doctoral work on the Egyptian economy. He was found dead in the capital on 3 February 2016.

We take the welfare of our students very seriously.  It is hard for Giulio’s family and for us to comprehend how such a talented student could meet his death in the Egyptian capital as he carried out his important academic research.  We note that the Italian authorities have urged you to conduct a thorough investigation with the participation of Italian experts and we, too, call on you to conduct a thorough and complete investigation into this tragic incident.  

I would like to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation.

Yours sincerely,

Professor David Runciman

Mathew Cooke 1989-2016

last modified Feb 04, 2016 05:02 PM

We are very sad to announce that our PhD student, Mathew Cooke, passed away on Wednesday 27th January 2016. His determination to continue his PhD despite his illness shone through, and his warm wit and kind manner will be terribly missed. His supervisors Professor John Loughlin and Dr Pieter van Houten wrote: 

'We first met Mathew as his PhD supervisors when he came to Cambridge three years ago. Two things about him struck us. First, his keen intelligence and thirst for knowledge. Second, his cheerful and friendly disposition. His mind was very sharp and he quickly grasped the theoretical and empirical literature of his subject, contemporary nationalism. In the many meetings we had with him, he never lost his optimistic outlook and, despite several stays in hospital, insisting on continuing his research. He always had a gentle smile and was invariably kind. We would like to thank Peterhouse for its continued generous support of Mathew and would like to extend our condolences to his family and friends.'

Mathew Cooke