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Conflict, Security & Development Research Group



Mats Berdal

Professor Mats Berdal 

Mats is Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group (CSDRG) and Professor of Security and Development in the Department of War Studies. From 2000 to 2003 he was Director of Studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. He is Programme Director for the MA in Conflict, Security and Development. 

Research interests include:

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

Professor Abiodun Alao


Abiodun Alao is Professor of African Studies at King’s College London. He teaches on the African Leadership Centre M.Sc. programmes and supervises Masters/PhD students. In addition to publishing extensively on African security issues, he has undertaken numerous assignments for international organisations, including the United Nations, African Union, European Union, World Bank, ECOWAS and for individual countries.

Research interests include:

  • Emerging Powers and Global Leadership
  • The Politics of Natural Resources Management
  • Religious Radicalisation and Political Violence
  • Politics, Security and International Relations in Africa 

Dr Christine ChengCheng-2014

Christine Cheng is Lecturer in War Studies at King’s College London. Her research on post-conflict transitions sits at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics (with a focus on the politics of West Africa). Dr Cheng is the author of' Extralegal Groups in Post-Conflict Liberia: How Trade Makes the State'(2018, Oxford University Press).

Research interests include:

  • Extralegal groups
  • Corruption and Peacebuilding
  • Women in Politics

Dr Andrew Cunningham

Dr Cunningham is an Associate Fellow at CSDRG. He has twenty-two years of international experience in development, humanitarian operations, and humanitarian affairs, including fourteen years with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). He completed his PhD at King’s College London, in the War Studies Department, which formed the basis for his book International Humanitarian NGOs and State Relations: Politics, Principles and Identity (2018, Routledge).

Adam DayAdam Day

Adam Day is an Associate Fellow at CSDRG and Head of Programmes at the UN University’s Centre for Policy Research in New York. For more than a decade he served in UN peace operations, including as Senior Political Advisor to the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in political roles in the Middle East, Sudan, South Sudan and in UN Headquarters. Prior to the UN, Adam worked for Human Rights Watch, Open Society Justice Initiative (Cambodia) and as a practicing litigator in New York. He is a recipient of the Leverhulme Scholarship “Interrogating Visions of a Post-Western World” at The Centre for Grand Strategy at King’s College London. His PhD thesis is supervised by Professor Mats Berdal, Director of CSDRG.

 Research interests include:

  • UN peace operations
  • International mediation
  • Conflict resolution
  • State-building
  • Complexity theory 

Hendrickson2016Dylan Hendrickson 

Dylan is a Senior Fellow at CSDRG, Editor of the Conflict, Security & Development journal, a peer-reviewed journal published by Routledge, and Adjunct Faculty at the African Leadership Centre, a joint King’s - University of Nairobi initiative. He is also a Senior Security and Justice Adviser with the UK Government’s Stabilisation Unit and on the ISSAT and UN SSR rosters, deploying regularly in support of these three organisations’ operational work.

Research interests include:

  • Politics of security decision-making 
  • Governance of security institutions
  • Security sector reform (SSR) policy agenda
  • SSR and peace processes in Africa and Asia

Tom Hill

Tom is Director of the Track II Mediation Unit  which conducts track II diplomacy in civil war-torn and civil war-threatened states. The unit combines CSDRG's core scholarly strengths with diplomatic experience to contribute to international attempts to prevent and resolve intractable intrastate conflicts. The unit's work is funded by the Peace and Reconciliation Section of the Royal Norwegian Foreign Ministry

Friedman,RebeccaDr Rebekka Friedman

Rebekka is Senior Lecturer in International Peace & Security in the Department of War Studies at King's College London. She has conducted field research in rural and urban areas in Peru, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka. Her book, Competing Memories: Truth and Reconciliation in Sierra Leone and Peru, was published in 2017. She is currently principal investigator of a two-year ESRC funded Future Research Leaders grant project, entitled, Hidden Voices. The project examines gendered experiences of marginalization and recovery in Sri Lanka and Colombia ( 

Research interests include:

  • Reconciliation, healing and trauma
  • Gender and peace-building
  • Transitional justice
  • Collective memory and identity politics 

FlaviaGDr Flavia Gasbarri 

Flavia Gasbarri holds a PhD in War Studies from King's College London, where she is currently Teaching Fellow and co-Chair of the Africa Research Group. Her doctoral project was entitled "The United States and the end of the Cold War in Africa, 1988-1994" and for her thesis’ fieldwork, she spent one semester (April-September 2012) in the United States as Junior Visiting Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. She has also extensively researched on US policy in the Rwandan genocide and in the Great Lakes region.

Research interests include:

  • Cold War in the Third World
  • Southern Africa
  • Horn of Africa
  • African Great Lakes region
  • Rwandan genocide
  • US-Africa relations
  • Post-Cold War US foreign policy

Ashley A. JacksonAshley A Jackson

Ashley leads a CSDRG project on the Taliban and governance and is currently pursuing her PhD in the Department of War Studies under the supervision of Dr Kieran Mitton, for which she has completed extensive fieldwork in Afghanistan.

ln addition to her doctoral work, Ashley is a researcher, consultant and writer with extensive experience in conflict and complex emergencies, She has workedwith the UN, Red Cross and various NGOs, and is currently affiliated to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), an independent think tank in London.  Her primary focus is on conflict mediation and negotiating with armed groups and insurgencies.  Her work has been published in various academic and media outlets and she has been widely quoted by the press, including Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, the New York Times and others. She spent several years working in Afghanistan with Oxfam and the UN Political Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, and as an advisor to the UK Parliament on Afghanistan. 

Research interests include:

  • Insurgent Governance
  • Fragile States
  • Conflict
  • Afghanistan
  • Somalia
  • Islamism

Leenders175Dr Reinoud Leenders

Dr Leenders is a Reader in International Relations and Middle East Studies in the War Studies Department at King’s College London. He obtained his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). His research interests and teaching focus on Middle East politics generally and Syria, Lebanon and Iraq in particular. He has published various monographs and articles in academic journals and edited volumes. He formerly worked for the International Crisis Group based in Beirut and for the University of Amsterdam.

Research interests include:

  • Middle East and North Africa: Authoritarian governance, corruption, social movements, armed conflict and refugee issues   
  • Syria, Lebanon and Iraq

LievenwebProfessor Anatol Lieven

Professor Lieven is an Associate Fellow at CSDRG and a Professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Qatar. He is also a visiting professor in the War Studies Department of King’s College London, and a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington DC.

Research interests include:

  •    Insurgency and counter-insurgency
  •    Terrorism
  •    Islamist movements
  •    Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran
  •    Russia and the former Soviet Union
  •    US political culture and strategy 

Vinicius-de-Carvalho-Cropped-223x175Dr Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho

Vinicius is a Senior Lecturer in the King's Brazil Institute and the Department of War Studies. He is the Chief Editor of Brasiliana - Journal for Brazilian Studies, a new peer-reviewed academic journal with an interdisciplinary scope, addressing diverse subjects within Brazilian Studies.

Research interests include:

  • Brazil in peace keeping operations;
  • Internal stabilization policies in Brazil;
  • Literature and violence in Brazil;
    Brazilian music;
  • Brazilian religions;
  • The epistemology of Brazilian Studies.

Ian Martin

Ian Martin is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at CSDRG. He was previously the Executive Director of the Security Council Report in New York from 2015 to 2018. He served as a member of the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which reported in June 2015. He has headed United Nations missions in several countries, most recently as Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Libya and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) 2011-12. His previous senior UN appointments include Head of the Headquarters Board of Inquiry into certain incidents in the Gaza Strip; Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal; Special Envoy for Timor-Leste; Representative in Nepal of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea; Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the East Timor Popular Consultation; Chief of the UN Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda; and Director for Human Rights of the International Civilian Mission in Haiti. He also served in the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina as Deputy High Representative for Human Rights. He was Secretary General of Amnesty International (1986-92) and Vice President of the International Center for Transitional Justice (2002-05). His writings include Self-Determination in East Timor: The United Nations, the Ballot, and International Intervention.

Mitton2018Dr Kieran Mitton

Dr Mitton is Research Director of CSDRG and a Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of War Studies, King's College London. He is also Co-Chair of the Africa Research Group and co-founder and coordinator of the Urban Violence Research Network (  Kieran is author of Rebels in a Rotten State: Understanding Atrocity in the Sierra Leonean Civil War (2015, Hurst/Oxford University Press). He leads CSDRG projects on approaches to understanding atrocity and a comparative study of global responses to urban violence.

Research interests include:

  • Urban violence and gangs
  • Rebel groups and civil wars
  • Emotional and psychologial dynamics of atrocity
  • Conflict, security and development in Africa and Latin America
  • Ex-combatant reintegration
  • Youth, peace and security

Dr Sabiiti Mutengesa

Sabiiti is an Associate Fellow at CSDRG.  He holds an MA in Conflict, Security and Development and a PhD (War Studies) from King’s College London. He is a former member of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) where he served from 1986 to 2002. His research focusses on the dynamics of defence and security policy formulation in sub-Saharan Africa, DDR, SSR and post-conflict state reconstruction. He is currently a contributor to IHS/Jane’s Defence Group focusing on violent conflict risk in Uganda and supports teaching at the Africa Leadership Centre (ALC) fellowship programme.

Research interests include:

  • Insurgency and counter-insurgency;
  • Sub-Saharan Africa,
  • Conflict and security in Africa Great Lakes region
  • Conflict early warming

Funmi2018Professor Funmi Olonisakin

Professor ’Funmi Olonisakin is Vice-President and Vice-Principal International and Professor of Security, Leadership & Development at King’s College London. She is also founding Director of the African Leadership Centre
(ALC), which aims to build the next generation of African scholars and analysts generating cutting edge knowledge for conflict, security and development in Africa. Prior to this, she was Programme Director of the ALC King’s College London MSc programmes on Security, Leadership and Society and MSc Leadership and Development as well as the Postgraduate Research Programme on Leadership Studies with Reference to Security and Development.

Research interests include:

  • Bringing in discourses on the “edge” into the global security and development agenda
  • The leadership role of regional organizations and the United Nations in the consolidation of peace in post-conflict societies
  • Future peace and the role of the state in Africa

Patel,PreetDr Preeti Patel

Dr Patel is Reader in Global Health & Conflict in the Department of War Studies and Co-Director of the Conflict and Health Research Group (CHRG), a cross-faculty (5 KCL faculties) multi-disciplinary initiative to study the intersection of global health, security, and political governance in conflict-affected fragile states and regions. She is Co-Principal Investigator for a £7million Global Challenges Research Funded (GCRF)/ESRC grant entitled ‘Research for Health in Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa (R4HC-MENA)’.

Research interests include:

  • Research capacity building in conflict-affected countries
  • Health systems in conflict-affected countries
  • Non-Communicable Diseases in conflict-affected countries
  • Health and Security (attacks on health workers and healthcare in areas of armed conflict)
  • Innovation within humanitarian health emergencies
  • Aid tracking and analysis in areas of conflict
  • Gender and health in armed conflict

poddersDr Sukanya Podder

Dr Podder is a Senior Lecturer in Defence Studies. Before joining the Defence Studies Department she was a Lecturer in International Security and Development at the Centre for International Security and Resilience at Cranfield University. She has taught subjects such as defence engagement, security sector reform, international interventions for peace and statebuilding, and regional security theories.

  • Post-conflict reconstruction
  • Security sector reform
  • Child solders and ex-combatant reintegration
  • Peacebuilding legacies
  • Youth, peace and security
  • Rebel groups and civil wars

Domitilla SagramosoDr Domitilla Sagramoso

Dr Sagramoso is a Lecturer in Security and Development at the Department of War Studies. She obtained an MA in War Studies (KCL) in 1992 and a PhD at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London in 1999. She joined the Department in 2005, having previously been the Principal Researcher at the Caucasus Policy Institute, within the International Policy Institute (KCL). 

Research interests include:

  • Conflict, security and development in Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia
  • Terrorism, violence and Islam in Eurasia
  • Violence and conflict in the North Caucasus
  • Russia's relations with the European Union and NATO

Dr Catherine ScottDr Catherine Scott 

Dr Scott is a Teaching Fellow in the Defence Studies Department and Managing Editor of the journal Conflict, Security & Development.

She received her PhD in International Politics and Security from King’s College London and her MA in Slavonic and East European Studies from University College London. Dr Scott has held teaching positions in the History and Politics Departments at Goldsmiths College and in the War Studies Department at King’s College London. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the British International Studies Association, the Royal African Society and the African Studies Association of the UK, and she formerly convened the Africa Research Group at King’s College London. Her monograph 'State Failure in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Crisis of Post-Colonial Order' was published with I.B Tauris in June 2017. 

Research interests include:

  • Ideas of the state and state failure
  • Socio-political history and security of sub-Saharan Africa
  • Changing world orders and sovereignty regimes
  • Legacies of old and new imperialisms
  • National identities and ethno-nationalist conflict

Tansey221x218Dr Oisín Tansey

Dr Tansey is Reader in International Relations in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, which he joined in 2012. He holds a masters degree in International Relations from Cambridge and obtained a DPhil from Oxford (Nuffield College) in 2007. He held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Oxford in 2007, before joining the Politics and International Relations Department at the University of Reading as a Lecturer in International Relations for five years from 2007-2012. 

Research interests include:

  • International politics of authoritarian rule
  • International influences on coups and other forms of unconstitutional changes of government.
  • Relationship between peacebuilding and authoritarianism

UckoDr David Ucko

Dr. David H. Ucko is an Associate Fellow at CSDRG and an Associate Professor and Director of the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP) at the College of International Security Affairs (CISA), National Defense University. He is also an adjunct lecturer at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Ucko obtained his Doctoral and Masters degrees at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, and his B.Sc. in International Relations at the London School of Economics & Political Science. Between 2003-2016, he co-ran a CSDRG project on third-party intervention in war-to-peace transitions. He is the co-author of Counterinsurgency in Crisis: Britain and the Challenges of Modern Warfare (Columbia University Press, 2013), author of The New Counterinsurgency Era: Transforming the U.S. Military for Modern Wars (Georgetown University Press, 2009) and co-editor of the CSDRG edited volume Reintegrating Armed Groups after Conflict (Routledge, 2009).

Research interests include:

  • Civil war
  • Insurgency and counterinsurgency
  • War-to-peace transitions

AndersDr Birthe Anders

Birthe is an Associated Fellow at CSDRG, a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and a Non-resident Fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point. She holds a PhD from the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, which examined the use of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) by humanitarian NGOs. She’s been a  Fritz Thyssen-Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University in 2015/16 and a teaching fellow on the CSD MA programme. Her articles and reviews have been published in Parameters, Small Wars & Insurgencies, International Peacekeeping, with Routledge and Oxford Bibliographies in International Relations. 

Research interests include:

  • Private Military and Security Companies
  • Civil-Military Relations
  • Aid worker security
  • Field-level coordination of military and humanitarian actors
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