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Professor Mats  Berdal

Professor Mats Berdal

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Professor of Security & Development

Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group (CSDRG).

Research subject areas

  • Conflict
  • Security

Contact details


Mats Berdal joined the Department of War Studies in 2003 as Professor of Security and Development. He is Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group (CSDRG) and Programme Director for the MA in Conflict, Security and Development. From 2000 to 2003 he was Director of Studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London with overall responsibility for the Institute’s research programme. He was consulting Senior Fellow at the IISS from 2009 to 2011, responsible for the institute’s Economics and Conflict Resolution Programme. From 2006 to 2019 he was Adjunct Professor at the Norwegian Defence University College. From 2015 to 2016, he served on the Norwegian Commission of Inquiry on Afghanistan, established by the Norwegian Government in 2014 to evaluate and draw lessons from Norway’s military, humanitarian and civilian involvement in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014. Berdal received his BSc (Econ) from the London School of Economics and his doctorate from Oxford University. He is Member of the Academia Europaea.


Research Interests

  • Strategic Studies
  • Conflict, Security and Development
  • The UN and International Security
  • Comparative Civil Wars
  • Cold War History

Berdal’s research interests are wide ranging. One long-running area of research interest is the role of the United Nations (UN) and other international organisations in the field of international peace and security, specifically their involvement in the mitigation, containment and resolution of civil wars. Recent work in this area has focused on questions relating to the use of force by the UN; international ‘state-building’ efforts in Afghanistan; the evolution of UN peace operations, and conceptual and practical issues raised by efforts implement the “responsibility to protect”.

Other major research interests include the political economy of armed conflict; violence in post-conflict societies; strategy and the changing character of war, and Philip Windsor's contribution to the study of International Relations, in particular his ideas on strategy and war. Berdal also retains a long-standing interest in the history of the Cold War and Nordic security.



For a full list of publications, please refer to the Research Portal or download the word doc  here



  • 7SSWM140 Conflict & Security
  • 7SSWM171 Comparative Civil Wars

Berdal supervises PhD projects in the following areas:

  • Peacekeeping and peace support operations after the Cold War
  • The history of the United Nations
  • The political economy of armed conflict
  • The dynamics of civil war in a comparative and historical perspective