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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Our visiting scholars are part of our vibrant research community

Current Visiting Scholars

The below list covers all bona fide visitors to the Department of POLIS:

Name Start date End date 
Dr Toon Dirkx 01/01/2023 31/12/2024
Prof Boris Kashnikov 12/06/2023 11/06/2025
Dr Michael Hochberg 16/01/2024 06/12/2024
Dr Florian Kern 16/01/2024 31/07/2024
Mr Ofir Zigelman 01/07/2024 21/03/2025
Dr Kavus Abushov 10/07/2024 01/08/2024


Visiting Scholar Profiles


Dr Kavus Abushov - Visiting until 01/08/2024

Dr Kavus Abushov is an associate professor of political science at ADA University in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he teaches security studies, ethnic politics and political economy. He obtained his PhD in political science from the University of Muenster, and completed a postdoc programme at the Center of International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His research and publications have mostly focused on ethnic civil wars, security studies, and political economy of late industrialization with a geographic focus on the post-Soviet space. While at Cambridge, he will be working on a research article about why autonomy-based conflict settlement mechanisms can resolve certain ethnic conflicts, but not others. 





Dr Michael Hochberg - Visiting until 06/12/2024

Michael Hochberg earned his PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech and is currently a visiting scholar at the Centre for Geopolitics at Cambridge University.  He is the President of Periplous LLC, which provides advisory services on strategy, technology, and organization design.

He co-founded four companies, representing an exit value over a billion dollars in aggregate, spent some time as a tenured professor, and started the world’s first silicon photonics foundry service.  He co-authored a widely used textbook on silicon photonics and has published work in Science, Nature, National Review, The Hill, American Spectator, RealClearDefense, Fast Company, Naval War College Review, etc.  His writing is accessible at  He is working on a book about applied geopolitics.




Toon Dirkx - Visiting until 31/12/2024

Toon Dirkx is a Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) and a College Research Associate at Emmanuel College. His main research interests are governance by armed groups in civil wars, the legacies of rebel governance, and the politics of peace- and state-building. He has engaged with these themes through qualitative fieldwork in Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. In December 2022 he defended his PhD dissertation on the political stability of post-insurgent states at the University of Basel. At POLIS he is working on a postdoctoral research project about rebel diplomacy that analyses the relationship between insurgent legitimation strategies and external support from foreign governments.  
Previously, Toon worked as a PhD fellow at the swisspeace Statehood and Conflict programme, and as a researcher at the Centre for Conflict Studies at Utrecht University. He has held visiting fellowships at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies at Addis Ababa University, and the Institute for Peace, Development, and Security Studies at the University of Juba. His research has been supported by the European Union, the Dutch Research Council, the University of Basel, the French Centre for Ethiopian Studies, and the Swiss National Science Foundation. In addition to his academic research, he has informed various multilateral organisations, governments, and non-governmental organisations through commissioned research.


Mr Ofir Zigelman - Visiting until 21/03/2025

Ofir Zigelman is the Head of Expansion Strategy for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon's cloud and AI unit. In this role, he guides AWS's infrastructure investments, go-to-market strategy, and strategic initiatives across EMEA.

Ofir is also a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge, where his research focuses on "AI, Statecraft, and World Order: Historical Lessons for the 21st Century" Prior to his tenure at AWS, Ofir served as a Senior Intelligence Officer in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office and as a Team Commander in Unit 8200, an elite Israeli technology intelligence unit.

Born and raised in Israel, Ofir was a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, an MSt in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, and an LLB from Tel Aviv University.


Professor Boris Kashnikov - Visiting until 11/06/2025

The research interests of Professor Boris Kashnikov, as well as practical activities, belong to the sphere of moral and political philosophy, mostly the ethics of war and peace. His PhD and Post PhD (Habilitation) are on the problems of justice.

Нe is a member of the board of directors of the International Society for Military Ethics in Europe (EuroISME). In 2003 – 2004 he was a Director of the Moscow office of International Crisis Group (ICG). In 1993-1994 Professor Kashnikov worked with UNPROFOR in Former Yugoslavia as a member of the UN monitoring mission and in 1989 served in the Nagorny Karabakh peace making mission.

He is a three-fold winner of the Fulbright one year grant for teaching and research in the USA. (George Mason University 2010-2011, Emory University 1999-2000 and Mershon Center for International Security Studies at Ohio State University 1996 -1997). He was a DAAD visiting professor at Ruhr University Bochum Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict and Philosophy Department, (2017-2018, 2013-2014 and 2004-2005). In 2017 he was on fellowship at the University of Oxford and graduated from the “Changing Character of War Executive Leadership Course” of Changing Character of War Institute.

Professor Kashnikov taught courses on ethics of war and peace at Moscow Research University “Higher School of Economics”, University of Bayreuth (Germany), University of Urgench (Uzbekistan). On many occasions he provided expertise for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Published widely on moral problems of War and Justice. His publications include countless articles and a monograph: “Terrorism. The New World Disorder”, London: Continuum, 2007 (in co-authorship). Contributed several chapters to monograph: “Moral Constraints on War. Principles and Cases”, edited by Bruno Coppieters and Nick Fotion, Lexington Books, 2020; and a chapter on Self-Determination of Peoples to a recent monograph “International Conflict and Security Law”. Volume One: Protected Values, Law, and Institutions. Ed. by Sergey Sayapin, Rustam Atadjanov, and Umesh Kadam T. M. C. Asser Press / Springer. 2022.

He currently works on monograph on terrorism.


Become a Visiting Scholar at the Department of POLIS

The Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) Visitors Programme welcomes a small number of scholars each year. The Programme is aimed at scholars in established posts in other academic institutions.

Find out how to apply

Former Visiting Scholars

A list of former visiting scholars is available here