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Annual Report 2013-14 published

last modified Nov 27, 2014 10:45 AM

The Annual Report for 2013-14 is now available to download.

The report covers the Centres and Research Centres, Undergraduate and Graduate teaching, Research in the Department and much more.    

"It has been immensely pleasing to see the new Department come together and grow so well. I should like to thank colleagues and students alike for their commitment, and for a highly successful academic year 2013-14."

Professor Christopher Hill, former Head of Department 2009-2014.

Cambridge Festival of Ideas: Political Identity

last modified Nov 13, 2014 03:43 PM

Alison Richard Building
Many thanks to all the volunteers and speakers who took part in the Department of POLIS's Festival of Ideas Event on Saturday 1st November. The event was a big success and we look forward to taking part in the Festival of Ideas again next year! For a full list of this year's activities and talks please see our brochure. 

If you attended any Cambridge Festival of Ideas events and would like to give feedback, this can be done on the Festival of Ideas website.

Africa's Voices

Lisa Smirl Prize for Best PhD 2013-14

last modified Nov 12, 2014 10:39 AM

The Department of Politics and International Studies is delighted to announce the second winner of the Lisa Smirl prize for the best PhD completed in POLIS during the year 2013-2014.

The prize is awarded to Or Rosenboim, for her thesis “The emergence of globalism. Competing visions of world order in Britain and the United States, 1939-1950”. Or was supervised by Dr Duncan Bell.

We congratulate Or, who remains involved with the Department in her new role as a Junior Research Fellow at Queen’s College, and also wish to remember the person in whose memory this award is offered. The Prize is named in memory of Lisa Smirl, who gained her PhD in the Department in 2010, but who died of cancer in February 2013.

Seminar: 'Qatari Foreign Policy: Reorientation or Adjustment to the Rhythm?'

last modified Nov 05, 2014 09:43 AM

CIRMENA Visiting Fellow Dr. Jamal Abdullah

Head of Gulf Studies Research at al-Jazeera Centre for Studies in Doha

1-2 pm, 7 November, 2014

ARB, Room 119

Abstract  Qatar’s foreign policy has undergone shifts in reaction to regional geopolitical developments. Though Qatari foreign policy was characterized by neutrality and mediation during the first decade of this millennium; it changed direction after the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ began, becoming more interventionist by showing support for Arab populations who were rebelling against authoritarian regimes and demanding greater freedom, dignity and the right to self-determination. But changes in the region since Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani came to power in mid-2013 have once again reshaped the geopolitical landscape and regional power balances. These include the ousting of Egyptian President-elect Mohamed Morsi, the escalating tensions and conflicts in Libya, the expansion of the Islamic State (ISIL) in the region and its seizure of large areas in both Syria and Iraq, the Al-Houthi control of major state departments in Yemen, and the recent Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. All of these events have impacted Qatari foreign policy as it deals with ongoing developments at the regional and international levels. In reactivating its mediation role, at which Doha excelled during the first decade of the millennium, and utilizing soft power tools while also maintaining its commitments within international alliances to counter threats against Qatar’s national security and regional security, Qatar’s foreign policy has entered a new phase of wielding ‘smart power’, as characterized by Jospeh Nye.


Bio: Dr. Jamal Abdullah is Researcher and Head of the Gulf Studies Unit at Al Jazeera

Center for Studies in Doha. He holds a Ph.D in International Relations Law from Avignon University in France, and  Masters degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Jean Moulin University in France. He obtained two Master degrees from Lumière University, France; one in Political Sociology and another in Political Science. He is the author of  “Qatar’s Foreign Policy1995 – 2013: Leverages and Strategies” published in May 2014. Dr. Abdullah has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge, since September 2014, and a Visiting Lecturer at the NATO Defense College in Rome since September 2012.

Cambridge Festival of Ideas

last modified Oct 31, 2014 03:44 PM

The Department of Politics and FoI logo 2014International Studies will this year be hosting it's first ever Cambridge Festival of Ideas event. This exciting opportunity opens up the Department to the general public in exploring the Festival's theme of Idenity. More information and a full schedule can be found here and on the Cambridge Festival of Ideas webpage.

Revolution by Russell Brand review by Professor David Runciman

last modified Oct 17, 2014 04:31 PM

"Soft-soap therapy when we need a harder edge."

Read the rest of Professor David Runciman's review of Russell Brand's new book, Revolution, due for release on the 23rd of October here

Dr Alex Anievas interviewed for First World War documentary

last modified Oct 17, 2014 10:00 AM

Dr Alexander Anievas, Early Career Leverhulme Fellow at POLIS, was recently interviewed for the documentary "The Great War: A War to End Wars?"which aired on the Islam Channel. 

You can view episode one below, which features Dr Anievas' first interview. Episode seven also has more from Dr Anievas, and can be viewed together with the other episodes on YouTube. 

Conference in honour of Professor Andrew Gamble

last modified Oct 15, 2014 11:27 AM

On 24 September 2014 the Department held a conference on The Future of British Politics to mark the retirement of Professor Andrew Gamble and honour his work over four decades on British politics. Around eighty people came to Queens’ college to discuss his work over three panels on the politics of decline, Thatcherism, and ideas in British politics and to listen to him in conversation with Professor Mick Moran.


Gamble conference 1

First Clara Marina O'Donnell Fellow starts at the Centre for European Reform

last modified Oct 06, 2014 05:05 PM

The first Clara Marina O'Donnell Fellow, Yehuda Ben-Hur Levy, has today started at the Centre for European Reform.

His work will focus on mis-perceptions in the Israeli-EU bilateral relationship; how populist parties in Europe may influence the foreign policies of mainstream parties; and ‘hybrid warfare’ (e.g. lessons for Europe from Russian involvement in Ukraine, IS in Iraq and Syria, and Israel/Hamas).

As the Clara Marina O'Donnell Fellow, Yehuda will also spend a week in Washington D.C. at the Brookings Institution, and will take part in seminars at King's College London, and the University of Cambridge. 



The Clara Marina O’Donnell Fellowship was established in memory of Clara, who died of cancer at the age of 30 in January 2014. Clara took the MPhil in International Relations at POLIS in 2005/2006 having graduated in European Studies from King’s College London. She then worked as a researcher at the Centre for European Reform, mainly covering foreign and defence policy, for seven years. For some of that period she was based at the Brookings Institution, in Washington DC. 

The fellowship programme is therefore jointly managed by the Brookings Institution, the University of Cambridge (the Department of Politics and International Studies) and King's College London (the Department of European & International Studies), together with the CER.


Prof Marc Weller wins major award for "truly stellar" academic contribution to law.

last modified Sep 25, 2014 03:44 PM

Professor Marc Weller, the Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law in the University of Cambridge, last night won the prestigious Halsbury Legal Award for his distinguished academic contribution to law. In their citation for the award, which is considered the ‘Oscar’ of the legal world, the panel of senior independent judges noted that the winner’s contribution to his field was ‘unrivalled—truly stellar’.

Marc Weller is Professor of International Law and International Constitutional Studies in the Department of Politics and International Studies of the University. He joined the faculty of law in 1990 and has served as Director of the Lauterpacht Centre since 2010. He is the author, editor or co-editor of some 25 books on international law, most recently the Oxford University Press Handbook on the Use of Force in International Law. He is an Associate at Doughty Street Chambers in London, a fully qualified Mediator and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. In his practice, he has acted as senior legal advisor in a long list of international peace negotiations, including Kosovo, Darfur, South Sudan, Yemen and Syria. He served as Senior United Nations Mediation Expert and as Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues. At present, he advises on the drafting of the new constitution for Yemen. He is frequently consulted by governments and other entities, and regularly comments on issues of international law in the media.

 Weller Award

POLIS Alumna writes on Ukraine for Gates Cambridge

last modified Sep 29, 2014 09:39 AM

Professor Svitlana Kobzar, who completed her PhD in International Studies in 2011, has written an article for the latest edition of the Scholar magazine, published by Gates Cambridge Scholars and Alumni.

Titled, "Crisis in Ukraine: A Scholar's inside view on current events", the article is available to read and download through the Gates Cambridge website.

Since leaving POLIS, Professor Kobzar has worked with think-tanks in Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic, before joining RAND as a Research Fellow, and the Institute for European Studies of Vrije Universiteit Brussel as a senior research associate. Professor Kobzar is currently the Head of the Department of International Affairs at Vesalius College.

You can read more about the Polis Alumni network here.

Goodbye to two POLIS members

last modified Sep 03, 2014 09:22 AM

POLIS says goodbye this September to two colleagues: Dr. Elisabetta Brighi, who leaves us after two years to take up a position as Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster, and Professor Andrew Gamble, FBA, who is retiring after a long and distinguished career first at the University of Sheffield, and since 2007 here at Cambridge, where he has been Professor of Politics, as well as Head of Department from 2009-2012. 

We thank them warmly for all that they have done for the Department, and look forward to staying in touch in various ways. 

           220px Andrew Gamble at Policy Network event       EB 1

Dr Julie Smith to join the House of Lords as a Working Peer

last modified Aug 08, 2014 10:59 AM
Dr Julie Smith to join the House of Lords as a Working Peer

Dr Julie Smith

Congratulations to Dr Julie Smith who will be joining the House of Lords as a Working Peer. For a full list of the newly announced working peers please follow this link.

Cambridge-Africa Alborada Research Fund Awards

last modified Jul 15, 2014 01:55 PM


POLIS is delighted that three of our faculty members have received awards from the Cambridge-Africa Alborada Research Fund

Dr Devon Curtis, jointly with Dr Paul Omach from Makerere University, will look at “Local communities, institutions and peacebuilding in Northern Uganda” and Dr Kun-Chin Lin, with Dr Juma Anthony Okuku also of Makerere University, will research “Politics, the State and Limits of Oil Led Development in Uganda and Ghana”.

Dr Ha-Joon Chang, from the Department’s Centre of Development Studies was also awarded travel funding for his project with Professor Julius Kiiza (Makerere University), “The prevalence of enteric viral infections in Ugandan children”.

You can find the full list of funded projects here

Crisis without end? A conversation with Professor Andrew Gamble

last modified Jul 02, 2014 01:34 PM

Published in June 2014, Crisis Without End? The Unravelling of Western Prosperity is Professor Andrew Gamble's new book in which he argues that contrary to popular belief, the world economy cannot simply go back to business as usual following the 2008 financial crisis. Professor Gamble argues that the problems facing western economies go much deeper and details the flaws that make crisis more likely and leave society more vulnerable to its effects. And he shows how acceptance of the status quo hinders us in addressing the challenges of governance, sustainability, and legitimacy in a changing global order. 

Following the release of his book, Professor Gamble spoke to Jonathan Derbyshire of Prospect about his views on the current crisis; you can read the full interview here.

Dr Kelly on Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century

last modified Jun 30, 2014 12:30 PM

Click here for Dr Duncan Kelly on Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century in the Times Literary Supplement.

Green Impact Award 2014

last modified Jun 25, 2014 10:59 AM

Green Impact is the University's environmental accreditation scheme, encouraging teams across the collegiate University to reduce their environmental impacts.

Supported by the Environment and Energy Section, teams of staff and students use an online workbook to progress through simple, clear and easy criteria towards recognised targets and awards. Working together, team members take action to make their departments and colleges more sustainable.

Led by our Facilities Manager, Jamie Brittain, this year the Alison Richard Building achieved the Silver Award.

More information about Green Impact and this year's award ceremony is available here.


Former Italian Prime Minister, Dr Enrico Letta visits the Department of Politics and International Studies

last modified Jun 13, 2014 11:45 AM

Dr Enrico LettaOn Friday 6 June, the University welcomed the former Italian Prime Minister, Dr Enrico Letta, on a visit to the Department of Politics and International Studies, and the Cambridge Graphene Centre.

Dr Letta had been invited to give the Alcuin Lecture 2014, an annual event funded by Lord Brittan to encourage discussion of the relationship between Britain and Europe. Before a large audience of students, academics and members of the public, Dr Letta argued that the possibility of a 'Brexit' (the UK leaving the EU) needed now to be taken very seriously both here and on the continent. His catalogue of reasons why such an outcome would be disastrous for both the UK and the EU as a whole provoked a lively discussion, which continued during the reception following the lecture. The evening concluded with a dinner hosted by Lord and Lady Eatwell at Queen's College, where guests included staff and students from POLIS, History, the Department of Italian and the Faculty of Law.

Dr Enrico LettaOn Saturday 7 June, Dr Letta was given a tour of the Cambridge Graphene Centre by its Director, Professor Andrea Ferrari of Pembroke College. Here he discussed exciting new developments in science and technology with Professor Ferrari's team; comprised of colleagues from Materials Science, Physics, Engineering, and partner companies such as Nokia and Toshiba. During his tour, Dr Letta was met by a number of Italian students, post docs and staff members.

Conference: The Italian Left and Foreign Policy, 9th June

last modified May 06, 2014 04:47 PM

The Italian Left and Foreign Policy

University of Cambridge

Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Alison Richard Building (ARB), 7 West Road, CB3 9DT Cambridge (UK)

9th June 2014




With the European Semester Presidency on the horizon and the recent appointment of the Partito Democratico’ leader Matteo Renzi as Head of Government, there could hardly be a better time to discuss how the Italian Left and its foreign policy are changing. Established academics and young scholars from different fields of inquiry – from History to International Relations, from Cultural Studies to Economics – will come together in Cambridge to discuss the theme in its historical perspective, contemporary challenges as well as cultural aspects.


Among the topics to be discussed:


§  Between Americanism and Anti-americanism: historical and contemporary perspectives

§  Internationalism or a national way: the Italian Left faces the world

§  European priorities of the Italian Left: change or continuity?

§  Exit geopolitics? Strategic priorities in and beyond the three circles

§  The Italian Left, foreign policy and the use of force

§  Foreign policy and the politics of the Italian Left: (bridge over) troubled waters?

§  The Italian Left, civil society and foreign policy

§  Proposals for a ‘progressive’ reform of the foreign policy machinery

§  The Italian Left and foreign policy in a comparative perspective: insights from European cases


A full programme can be accessed here.


The conference is regarded as one of the major events of the upcoming Easter Term at the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS).


Attendance is free and open to all but registration is required. Please let us know you would like to attend by sending an email to Davide Martino ( by 2nd June 2014 latest.


We look forward to seeing you there.

New African Studentships from the David and Elaine Potter Foundation

last modified May 06, 2014 04:29 PM

The Centre of Governance and Human Rights is pleased to announce that through a generous donation from the David and Elaine Potter Foundation, matched by the Cambridge Trust funding will now be available for three students from Africa who wish to pursue doctoral and masters-level study in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge. The funds will support one doctoral student focused on governance and human rights beginning a three-year course in 2015/16, one student taking the MPhil in International Relations and Politics in 2015/16, and one taking the same course in 2016/17. The studentships will be advertised widely to encourage the brightest candidates to apply for them.
The David and Elaine Potter Foundation has been involved with POLIS since a £2 million benefaction to the University in 2008 led to the establishment of the David and Elaine Potter Lectureship in Governance and Human Rights. The Foundation and the University agreed that the Lecturer should focus particularly on Africa and serve as the Director of the new interdisciplinary Centre.

Duncan Kelly reviews Jacob Soll's new book 'The Reckoning'

last modified Apr 28, 2014 03:21 PM

Duncan Kelly reviews Jacob Soll's new book The Reckoning for the Financial Times.

The 2014 Alcuin Lecture

last modified May 16, 2014 11:43 AM

We are excited to announce that this years Alcuin Lecture will be delivered by Mr Enrico Letta (former Italian Prime Minister) on the following topic;

"The UK in or out of the EU: an Italian/European point of view"

The lecture will take place on Friday 6th June from 5-6.30pm, the location is The Alison Richard Building, Room SG1.

All welcome, but registration would be helpful.

Please contact Miss Helen Williams to register by 12 noon on the 30 May.

To register please email:



Prof Loughlin elected Fellow

last modified Apr 22, 2014 11:27 AM

Professor John Loughlin, a Fellow of St Edmund's College and Director of the Von Hugel Institute, has been elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. Professor Loughlin held the Chair of European Politics at Cardiff University for fifteen years and was elected an Honorary Fellow there in

2010 when he moved to Cambridge. The University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszeck Borysiewicz, the Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Professor Martin Daunton and St Edmund's Honorary Fellow, Professor Sir Martin Evans, are all Fellows of the Learned Society of Wales.


The Centre of Governance & Human Rights is excited to launch its new website.

last modified Apr 10, 2014 04:28 PM

The Centre of Governance & Human Rights launched its new website on Tuesday 8th April. Please click here to access the new site.

The site includes information on the work carried out by the Centre, based around its core research themes: Politics, Digital Technologies and the Media; Conflict and Peacebuilding; and The Right to Life.

The site also includes updates on the progress of the Centre’s current projects, including news, related events, outputs and snapshots of research findings, as well as information on the events calendar for the coming term.


The Cambridge Review of International Affairs is pleased to introduce its new management and new projects for 2014.

last modified Apr 08, 2014 10:55 AM

Stepping in as Editor-in-Chief is Maha Rafi Atal. As a PhD candidate in POLIS, Maha studies the role of multinational corporations as governing authorities in developing countries. Her work aims to situate contemporary developments in the context of postcolonial history. Prior to commencing her PhD, Maha worked as a journalist, contributing to Forbes, The Guardian, and The New Statesman, among others, on topics at the intersection of economics and foreign policy. She is the founder and Executive Director of Public Business, a nonprofit supporting research and reporting about the wider impact of corporate actions. Maha holds a B.A. from Brown University in History and Comparative Literature, and an M.A. in Business and Economics Journalism from Columbia University. Find her on Twitter at @maharafiatal.


Managing Editor Olivier Grouille is a PhD student in POLIS, researching jihadi terrorism, French, British and American counter-terrorist policy and practice, and the changing character of contemporary conflict involving non-state actors.  He holds a BA(Hons) in Modern and Medieval Languages and an MPhil in International Relations, both from the University of Cambridge.  He is the founder and CEO of CamSAI (The Cambridge Security Analysis Institute) a new defence and security research organization. Prior to commencing his PhD, Olivier spent three years as a Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), consulted for UK Ministry of Defence and the British Army, and taught Strategy at the Omani National Defence College. He speaks four languages fluently and is learning his fifth.


Managing Editor Gabrielle Peterson is a PhD candidate in POLIS researching power relations in the EU since the debt crisis, with a focus on the rise of German influence. She recently co-authored a paper on legitimacy in cyber warfare with the Harvard Institute of Politics and the Wilberforce Society Think Tank. Previously, she earned an MSc with Distinction in International and European Politics from the University of Edinburgh.  Her dissertation addressed why materially weak actors win wars and explored the concepts of victory and legitimacy in warfare.  She was also awarded a BA summa cum laude in International Studies and Theatre from the University of South Carolina, where she worked in the research office and was involved in the promotion of a five-year multi-million dollar campaign extending learning beyond the classroom.


While committed to maintaining CRIA’s high standards of peer-reviewed scholarship in print, the 2014 team is eager to establish CRIA as a leader in the burgeoning area of online academic journalism. At the center of this effort is a newly re-launched website and blog, CRIAViews. CRIAViews publishes short research articles, interviews with scholars and policymakers about their work, and academically informed commentaries on current affairs. The new site also publishes coverage of politics-related events taking place in Cambridge, and CRIA will be organizing its own series of talks and panels in the coming months.


Students, faculty and practitioners interested in writing for the new site, event organizers interested in CRIA coverage, and speakers interested in participating in CRIA panels should all contact the editor directly at



Seminar in POLIS by the German Finance Minister, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble

last modified Mar 31, 2014 05:33 PM


On the 27th of  March the German Finance Minister, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, visited Cambridge to take part in an hour-long discussion with a range of students and staff from across the University interested in the evolving political economy of the European Union. The meeting was sponsored by POLIS, and chaired by Professor Christopher Hill. Dr.  Schäuble’s opening remarks were responded to by Lord Eatwell, the President of Queen’s College and a past front-bench economic spokesman for Labour in the House of Lords.

The discussion which followed, including a number of questions from the floor, dealt with, inter alia, the role of the Euro, relations between the Eurozone and the rest of the EU, the human rights implications of current austerity policies, and the role of the German Constitutional Court.   

Prof David Runciman reviews The Snowden Files by Luke Harding for The Guardian

last modified Feb 17, 2014 02:11 PM

We live in a new world, and a scary one: this is a riveting read that unravels the mysteries behind the Snowden revelations.


'Matteo Renzi: the limits of doing' by Dr Chris Bickerton and Dr Carlo Accetti Invernizzi

last modified Feb 17, 2014 12:43 PM

Dr Chris Bickerton and Dr Carlo Accetti Invernizzi publish a short piece on Matteo Renzi. The full publication can be accessed below;


Alumni of the M.Phil in International Relations from 2005-6, and others working in the area of European foreign and security policy, will be shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Clara Marina O’Donnell.

last modified Feb 14, 2014 10:47 AM

Alumni of the M.Phil in International Relations from 2005-6, and others working in the area of European foreign and security policy, will be shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Clara Marina O’Donnell. Clara died on 16 January this year at the age of 30, after a short illness. We remember Clara with affection and respect, as a consummate professional and a charming, warm, personality.

The links below take you to an appreciation by Clara’s colleagues at the Centre for European Reform, and at the Brookings Institution.

Bringing the gold standard into the classroom: teaching replication and reproducibility at Cambridge

last modified Feb 13, 2014 10:33 PM

Quality standards in the sciences have recently been heavily criticised in the academic community and the mass media. Scandals involving fraud, errors or misconduct have stirred a debate on reproducibility that calls for fundamental changes in the way research is done. As a new teaching course at Cambridge shows, the best way to bring about change is to start in the classroom, explains course instructor Nicole Janz.