Research Associates

Souhaïl Belhadj

Souhail Belhadj Portrait




Souhaïl Belhadj holds a PhD in Political Science, at Sciences Po Paris. His current research concentrates on the political transition process in Syria and Tunisia, with a focus on the recomposition of political institutions. He previously worked on Syria's political leadership, on which he published the book La Syrie de Bashar al-Asad. Anatomie d'un régime autoritaire (Belin 2013). Other areas of his research include the structures of authoritarian states in the Middle East and North Africa as well as the question of rules in the political and procedural context of Baathi Syria, in particular the Syrian Parliament. 

Areas of expertise include:

  • Political leadership

  • Authoritarian states, transitional politics

  • Social conflict, ethnic and religious pluralism

  • Institutionalism, local government

  • Syria and Middle East politics


Reda Benkirane

Independent Researcher

Reda Benkirane




Reda Benkirane is a sociologist and an international consultant in Geneva. He is also a Research Associate at the Centre Jacques Berque (Rabat, Morocco) and a member of the Institut de Recherches Philosophiques de Lyon (IRPHIL, Laboratoire "Recherche sur la Circulation des Idées) of the University of Lyon 3. He was a founding member of the Aljazeera Centre for Studies (Doha, Qatar), researcher at the Geneva Museum of Ethnography, information officer at the World Council of Churches, journalist at the Swiss magazine "Le Temps stratégique" and secretary of the former Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella. He is the founder and editor of the knowledge portal (1996) and the research workshop Iqbal (2012).

Areas of expertise include: 

  • Conflict-Resolution Initiatives and Peace Studies

  • Intercultural and Inter-religious Dialog

  • MENA and Sahel regions, and Contemporary Islam

  • Radicalization and  Armed Violence

  • Complexity approaches in social sciences and Interdisciplinary studies

  • Digital Humanities


Fritz Brugger

Co-Director of the Center for Development and Cooperation (NADEL) at ETH Zurich





Fritz Brugger is co-director of NADEL at ETH Zurich and member of the “Swiss Minerals Observatory” Research Incubator at the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP) at ETH Zurich. He holds a PhD in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. His research and teaching focuses on the governance and development outcomes of natural resource extraction, the political economy of international tax policy, and policy coherence for development.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Natural resource governance

  • Illicit financial flows and the political economy of international tax policy

  • Policy coherence for development

  • Political economy of global governance


Susanna Campbell

Assistant Professor, School of International Service (SIS), American University, Washington DC

Susanna Campbell




Dr. Susanna Campbell is an Assistant Professor at the American University in Washington, D.C. She was the Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator, respectively, for two large research projects: Aiding Peace? Donor Behavior in Conflict-Affected Countries funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) and Bad Behavior? Explaining Performance in International Peacebuilding Organizations funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), both of which were based on her dissertation research. In late 2013, she was the Principal Investigator for a multi-method evaluation of the UN Peacebuilding Fund in Burundi. 

Areas of expertise include:

  • Africa

  • Peacebuilding, Statebuilding and Conflict prevention

  • International organizations and Organizational and Institutional Theory

  • International Relations


Benoit Challand

Associate Professor of Sociology, the New School of Social Research, New York

Benoit Challand




Benoit Challand holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute, Florence (2005), with previous studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London, 2000) and at the Universities of Fribourg (CH), Basel and Bonn. He works in the field of political and historical sociology, at the crossroad of Middle Eastern studies and contemporary European history. He was a Marie Curie fellow at the European University Institute (History Department, 2006-2008) and has participated in various post-doctoral programmes dealing with Islam and modernity, and with the interplay of religion and politics. He has contributed to International Journal of Middle East Studies, Religion, State and Society, Middle Eastern Studies, and European Journal of Social Theory. 

Areas of expertise include:

  • International aid for civil society in the Arab world

  • The role of civil society in conflict-transformation

  • Middle Eastern politics and society

  • Palestinian politics

  • Islamic social movements

  • Critical analysis of the representation of Islam


Delidji Eric Degila

Eric Degila




Dr. Dêlidji Eric Degila was initially trained as a diplomat at National School of Administration (ENA) of Benin, where he received a doctorate in Political Science/International Relations from Jean Moulin University Lyon 3 in France. In addition to his ongoing research on the involvement of African states in contemporary global governance, he is conducting a research project on the nexus between migration and health in the Global South. Dr. Degila regularly serves as an expert to international organizations such as the African Union, and advises governments and companies on matters relevant to his fields of research.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Armed conflicts and violence

  • Conflict prevention

  • Foreign policies and Governance

  • Religion and politics

  • State-building / sovereignty



Alexandre Dormeier Freire

Alexandre DF




Dr. Dormeier Freire is Senior lecturer at the Graduate Institute and Asian Academic Coordinator of the International Executive Master in Development Studies (IHEID, Asian Institute of Technology). Dr Dormeier Freire earned a PhD in development studies at the University of Geneva. He is a member and former scientific collaborator of the Working Group for International Cooperation in Skills Development and NORRAG (Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training). He is a scientific board member of the Institute for Research on Educational Development (Vietnam).

Areas of expertise include:

  • Sociology of education and Sociology of war and violence

  • Education, violence, conflict, fragility and terrorism

  • Family violence

  • Development policies in fragile and protracted crisis contexts

  • Vietnam war


Jerome Drevon

Research Advisor on the Sociology of Non-State Armed Groups at the International Committee of the Red Cross, Switzerland

Jerome Drevon




Areas of expertise include:

  • Civil wars and insurgencies

  • Comparative politics

  • Contentious politics and political violence

  • Institutional and organisational studies

  • Islamist and jihadi movements

  • Middle East politics

  • Salafism

  • Social movement studies

  • Social network analysis.


Brian Ganson

Professor and Head of the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement, University of Stellenbosch Business School 




Brian Ganson holds a Juris Doctorate (with honors) from Harvard Law School, a Master of Arts in Law & Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Tufts University, and a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies (with high distinction) from the University of Michigan. Mr. Ganson has broad experience developing and delivering executive education programmes for diplomats, business executives, and civil society leaders through Harvard Law School and other leading institutions. In his consulting work he advises organizations operating in particularly challenging environments.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Business engagement in fragile environments

  • Organizational capabilities for effective engagement in post-conflict and other complex environments

  • The impact of donor policy, priorities, and recipient relations on the effectiveness of local efforts at the intersection of peacebuilding and development

  • Rights compatible, interest-based approaches to the settlement of company/community conflicts



Steffen Jensen

Professor at Aalborg University and Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY), Copenhagen, Denmark 





Steffen Jensen is a Professor at Aalborg University, Copenhagen Campus in the Department of Culture and Global Studies as well as a Senior Researcher at DIGNITY-The Danish Institute Against Torture. He holds a degree in International Development Studies and is specialized in the interdisciplinary study of rural and urban development issues, including those relating to conflict and state and non-state violence, justice, local politics, human rights and issues of inequality. Of particular interest are issues around torture and ill-treatment as well as forms of displacement and stuckness.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Conflict and violence

  • Displacement and refugees

  • Documentation and knowledge production in human rights

  • Urban and rural politics

  • Gangs, militias, vigilante groups and police

  • Corruption and violence as exchange relations

  • Development and human rights

  • South Africa, the Philippines, Algeria and Denmark


Annette Idler

Director of Studies at the Changing Character of War Programme (Pembroke College) and Research Associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, UK

Annette Idler




Dr Annette Idler is the Director of Studies at the Changing Character of War Programme, Pembroke College, and Research Associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. She holds a doctorate from the Department of International Development and St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford and a MA in International Relations from the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. Dr Idler’s work focuses on the interface of conflict, security, transnational organized crime and peacebuilding, and the role that violent non-state actors play in these dynamics.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Interactions and trends among violent non-state actors

  • Nexus of conflict, security and transnational organised crime

  • Illicit drug trade and drug policy

  • Conflict prevention and peacebuilding

  • Borderlands

  • Colombia's armed conflict and citizen security in Latin America


Moncef Kartas

Independent Consultant, Berlin

Moncef Kartas




Moncef Kartas holds a PhD degree in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and a Master's degree in political science, philosophy and international law from the University of Munich. Moncef specialises in security sector governance, border security, armed violence reduction and conflict transformation in fragile contexts particularly in North Africa, the Sahel, East Africa and South Asia. 

Areas of expertise include:

  • The role of armed and security forces in post-colonial state formation and politics

  • The link between security and development (peacebuilding and conflict transformation; urbanisation and violence; informal economy, trafficking and borders)

  • The politics and public management challenges of security sector reform and community engagement

  • Political violence, armed groups and violent extremism

  • North Africa and the Sahara-Sahel, Rwanda, Madagascar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka


Derek Miller

Director of The Policy Lab, Oslo (Norway) and Boston (US)

Derek B. Miller, Ph.D, is Director of The Policy Lab®, (est. in 2011) and a novelist. Miller has been working as a scholar/practitioner in international affairs and public policy for twenty years, including almost ten years with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. Miller was educated at Sarah Lawrence College (BA, Liberal Arts), Georgetown (MA, National Security Studies), Oxford (St. Catz and Linacre Colleges), the Graduate Institute (Diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures or DES in international relations) and the University of Geneva (Ph.D, international relations). His work is situated at the nexus of international peace and security, development, and humanitarian action and his primary intellectual commitment involves crafting tools and methods for better using knoweldge in the design of solutions for the public good.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Administrative behavior

  • Evidence-based policymaking

  • Cultural research

  • Comparative ethics

  • International Relations

  • The Middle East

  • Countering violent extremism


Robert Muggah

Research Director of the Igarapé Institute and Professor at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

Dr. Robert Muggah is the Research Director of the Igarapé Institute, a Principal of the SecDev Group, and a professor at the Instituto de Relações Internacionais, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro. From Brazil he directs several projects on international cooperation, peace-support operations, transnational organized crime, citizen security and violence prevention, and humanitarian action in non-war settings across Latin America and the Caribbean. He currently oversees the humanitarian action in situations other than war (HASOW) project, the States of Fragility project, and the Urban Resilience project. He also advises the High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda. Dr. Muggah received his DPhil at Oxford University and his MPhil at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Security promotion and armed violence reduction in complex environments

  • Risks and responses to population displacement and resettlement

  • State-building, stabilization and fragility and the political economy of securitization

  • Urbanisation and forms of institutional resilience


Thania Paffenholz

Thania Paffenholz




Thania Paffenholz is a political scientist by training and received her Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Frankfurt, Germany (1996) focusing on the theory and practice of mediation and peacebuilding in armed conflicts. Thania Paffenholz is an internationally recognised expert in support of peace processes with 25 years of work experiences both as an academic and a policy advisor. She has supported peace processes in many countries in Africa and Asia. She received the Wihuri International Prize in 2015 for her work as a peace researcher.

Areas of expertise include:

  • International and local Intervention strategies in peace processes

  • Civil society in peace processes and political transitions

  • Research-policy transfer in peace research

  • Development- peace-conflict nexus

  • Evaluation in peacebuilding


Stéphanie Perazzone

Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Antwerp

Stephanie Perazzone




Stéphanie Perazzone received her PhD in Political Science and International Relations (2013-2018) Summa Cum Laude with the Félicitations du Jury from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) between 2016-2017. Her research agenda links to visual and qualitative methods, critical theory, post-colonial studies, urban studies, state theory, fragility and failure, international intervention, security promotion and state transformation in Africa’s Great Lakes Region where she continues to conduct field research.

Areas of expertise include:

  • International security promotion

  • Peacebuilding / statebuilding

  • Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reintegration (DDR)

  • Urban studies

  • Anthropology of the State

  • Africa's Great Lakes Region

  • Democratic Republic of Congo


Matthias Rieger

Assistant Professor at the Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University, the Netherlands 

Areas of expertise include:

  • Impact evaluation

  • Field experiments and behavioral games

  • Applied microeconometrics

  • Free trade agreements

  • Refugees and illegal migration

  • Landmines, civil war, terrorism

  • Dynamics of child health

  • Community-driven development


Emilio Rodriguez

Emilio Rodriguez-Triocci completed a PhD on the Colombian armed conflict at King’s College London (KCL) in 2016. He also holds an MA in Politics (The New School for Social Research) and an MA in Conflict Studies and Human Rights (Utrecht University). His current research focuses on the legalization of conflicts, sovereignty, and transitional justice in Latin America. Previously, he conducted research in Guatemala and Colombia. He was also a Junior Visiting Fellow at the Centre on Conflict, Development & Peacebuilding in Geneva between September 2014 and March 2015. Before pursuing his PhD, Emilio worked at the International Criminal Court, Eurojust, and CICIG.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Conflict, violence, and crime in Latin America

  • Peace negotiations, transitional justice, and human rights

  • War, state-building, and the law and politics of intervention

  • The political economy of armed conflicts

  • Regional powers, security, and war


Ibrahim Saïd




Ibrahim Saïd received his Ph.D. in Anthropology and Sociology of Development from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, where he was the recipient of the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship for Foreign Students. He completed his Masters in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford for which he was a holder of the Saïd Foundation Scholarship, and has a B.A in Criminology, Sociology and Social Work.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Political Economy of development and international aid

  • Legal and political anthropology 

  • Anthropology of policy 

  • Economic anthropology 

  • Evidence based interventions and policy evaluation 

  • Post-colonial and settler colonial studies/ colonial governmentality 

  • Social and solidarity economy 

  • Preventing violent extremism 

  • Israel Palestine/ Middle East and North Africa



Alaa tartir

Researcher at the Small Arms Survey and Program Director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, a member of the Palestinian Strategic Thinking Group 





Alaa Tartir is a research associate at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP).  Amongst other positions, Tartir was a post-doctoral fellow at The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), a visiting scholar and lecturer at Utrecht University, and a researcher in international development studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he earned his PhD. Tartir is the co-editor of Palestine and Rule of Power: Local Dissent vs. International Governance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), and the author of Policing Palestine: Securitising Peace and Criminalising Resistance in the West Bank (Pluto Press, 2019).

Areas of expertise include:

  • Political Economy of development and international aid

  • State-building and governance in conflict-affected areas

  • Security Sector Reform and securitized development

  • Public Policy Analysis

  • Political Economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory

  • Palestinian politics, and Arab-Israeli conflict



Jordi Tejel

Adjunct Professor in Contemporary History, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland 





Dr. Tejel has been a Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London, 2006-2007) and at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (Paris, 2007-2008). He was Lecturer at the University of Fribourg (2005-2006), the University of Neuchâtel (2008-2009) and again in Fribourg (2009). He was a “professeur boursier” at the Swiss National Science Foundation affiliated to the International History and Politics unit of the Graduate Institute where he leads a research project on “minority” conflicts in the Middle East (1948-2003). He is currently an Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Neuchâtel. 

Areas of expertise include:

  • History of the contemporary Middle East

  • Colonialism in the interwar era

  • Nationalism, minority conflicts, and political arrangements as a tool for conflict resolution in plural societies

  • Social mobilization, in particular student movements in the Middle East

  • State-building and Trans-border relations

  • Bordering processes and "frontier effects"



Koenraad Van Brabant

Independent Consultant, Geneva

Koenraad van Brabant




Koenraad Van Brabant is a consultant at Navigation360 and an Associate of the European Conflict and Security Consulting Ltd. Originally having been trained as a social anthropologist in Belgium and the United States, he conducted doctoral field research in central Spain. He then completed a programme of Development Studies in Geneva and was involved in several veterinary and immunisation programmes in the rural areas of Afghanistan and programme works in the Somali refugee camps in eastern Ethiopia with the Save the Children Fund UK. He also served as country director for Oxfam in Sri Lanka during a new escalation of civil war in the mid-90s.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Strengthening governance relationships through participatory approaches and civic engagement

  • The role of the private sector in conflict, peace and governance

  • Contextual understanding and evaluative thinking in process and programme management

  • Strategic management for international development cooperation organisations

  • Enablers and obstacles in collaborative actions



Patricia Vasquez

Independent Consultant, Washington DC





Patricia has worked for more than 20 years on issues related to extractive industries, particularly oil and gas. She focuses on governance, conflicts, the rule of law, environmental and social safeguards, among other issues. Born and raised in Argentina, her main geographic focus has traditionally been Latin America. She also recently spent three years in East Africa, working on similar issues for the World Bank and the United Nations. 

Areas of expertise include:

  • Socio-economic impacts of extractive industries, particularly in producing areas

  • Decentralization processes around the development of extractive industries

  • Minority dynamics around extractive industries

  • Conflicts and natural resource developments

  • Socio-political dynamics around natural resource developments



Robert watkins

Assistant Director and Head of the Middle East and North Africa Division, Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)




Robert joined the CCDP after a 35-year career working for international organisations in political, humanitarian, development and post-conflict recovery areas in some 13 different countries, principally in the Middle East, Central, and South Asia.  He served for the United Nations as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Lebanon (2011-2014) and Afghanistan (2009-2011) at the level of Assistant Secretary General, as well as UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Bangladesh (2015-17), Djibouti (2014), and Georgia (2006-2009). Since retiring from the UN at the end of 2017, he has taught as a Practitioner at the Graduate Institute and at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and presented papers on Conflict Prevention at AUB, Lebanon, and the University of Tianjin, China. He holds an MA in International Affairs from the Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa.

Areas of expertise include:

  • New approaches to Peacebuilding

  • Role of Land Ownership in conflict settlement

  • Digital literacy in the Prevention of Violent Extremism

  • Mediation

  • Role of the UN in World Politics, Conflict Prevention & Peacekeeping



Jean Pascal Zanders

Independent Consultant, Geneva

Jean Pascal Zanders




Jean Pascal Zanders is an independent researcher/consultant on disarmament and security questions. He heads The Trench, a research initiative dedicated to the future of disarmament. He is also a member of the Pugwash Council 12th Quinquennium (2013–2018) and a Senior Research Associate with the Fondation pour la recherche stratégique in Paris, France. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EU-ISS) from June 2008 until May 2013. His research areas covered armament, disarmament and non-proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, as well as space policy.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Armament and disarmament dynamics

  • Terrorism

  • Foresighting analysis