Executive Committee

BISA is run by a board of trustees who make up our Executive Committee. The majority of trustees are elected by you – the members – however we have some trustees who are co-opted to take on specialist roles. All of our trustees are unpaid. Because we’re a registered charity, our trustees are legally responsible for our management and administration. They have expertise and interests that represent the main areas of our activity and a breadth of experience from the wider world. You can find out more about becoming a trustee on our elections page.

Our staff attend the Executive Committee meetings so they can give advice based on their individual expertise. This also ensures they can focus on the priorities of our trustees.

Professor Ruth Blakeley
Professor Ruth Blakeley, Chair
University of Sheffield

Ruth is Head of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests are in international security, terrorism and political violence, and human rights. Her research on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation programme has had considerable impact, through litigation on behalf of torture victims at the European Court of Human Rights, and through various police and government level investigations into the role of the UK’s intelligence and security services. She was lead editor of the Review of International Studies from 2015-2019.

Professor Kyle Grayson
Professor Kyle Grayson, Vice-Chair
Newcastle University

Kyle (PhD York University, Canada) is a Professor of Security, Politics, and Culture and the Head of the School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology at Newcastle University. Kyle joined the board of trustees as a co-opted member in 2016  shortly thereafter becoming the Secretary and serving as the Conference Programme Chair from 2017-2020. He is looking forward to continuing to represent and serve the interests of BISA members in the Vice-Chair role.

Dr Danielle Beswick
Dr Danielle Beswick, Treasurer
University of Birmingham

Danielle is a Senior Lecturer in International Development at the University of Birmingham, and former co-chair of the BISA Africa and International Studies Working Group. Her current research focuses on contemporary UK development policy, including parliamentary scrutiny of this, UK-Africa relations, and knowledge exchange between universities and legislatures. Danielle has previously held a UK Parliamentary Academic Fellowship (2018-20) exploring how Select Committees can get beyond their ‘usual suspects’ when taking evidence to scrutinise government policy. She has published in journals including British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Parliamentary Affairs, African Affairs, and Development and Change. Her latest book is an edited collection with Jonathan Fisher and Stephen Hurt, Britain and Africa in the Twenty-First Century: Between Ambition and Pragmatism (Manchester University Press, 2019).

Ilan Zvi Baron
Ilan Zvi Baron
Durham University

Ilan is a Professor in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. He has been Head of School, Deputy Head of School and Director of Education. He has held visiting positions at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of British Columbia, and the London School of Economics, and has university teaching experience in Canada, Spain, Israel and the UK. He has published widely on such topics as post-truth politics, violence, the international cultural politics of food, Jewish Diaspora/Israel relations, and political responsibility. His work is largely concerned with the international politics of the everyday. 

Ilan's focus as trustee is on teaching and learning. BISA has done a lot of work in supporting this side of the vocation and Ilan is delighted to be able to continue in this tradition. He wants to help develop more productive ways of supporting academics as educators, encouraging students become lifelong learners and academics to become lifelong educators.

Professor Richard Beardsworth
Professor Richard Beardsworth
University of Leeds

Richard was recently appointed Professor of International Politics and Head of School at the University of Leeds. He was previously E.H. Carr Professor and Head of Department at the University of Aberystwyth. His interests lie in international theory, innovative statecraft and global politics. His recent publications (articles, book chapters, essays) rehearse a Weberian and republican account of ethical responsibility towards global challenges that re-aligns national and global interests and duties. His co-edited book (with G. W. Brown and R. Shapcott) The State and Cosmopolitan Responsibility was published in 2019 by Oxford University Press. He writes regularly on online platforms on political leadership and climate change and is presently writing a short manuscript on political responsibility, leadership and climate change.

Dr Nick Caddick
Dr Nick Caddick
Anglia Ruskin University

Nick is Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Veterans and Families Institute. His work uses narrative as a conceptual and methodological device for understanding the legacies of war for military veterans as well as others affected by conflict. Nick is currently working on his first monograph for Edinburgh University Press entitled ‘The cultural politics of veterans’ narratives: Beyond the wire’, and is leading two major projects; the AHRC-funded ‘Stories in Transition’ project, which uses co-productive methods and creative practice filmmaking to explore veterans’ stories of transition to civilian life through arts, culture and sport, and research funded by the Forces in Mind Trust examining the impact of Non-UK service and immigration in the British Armed Forces. He is an editorial board member for the Critical Military Studies journal, and a BISA member since 2020.

Hassan Elbahtimy
Dr Hassan Elbahtimy
King's College London

Hassan Elbahtimy is a Senior Lecturer in the War Studies Department and Co-Director for the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) at King’s College London. He has published extensively on international security and arms control issues including in Foreign Affairs, Journal of Strategic Studies, Security Studies and the Nonproliferation Review amongst others. In 2019 his research was awarded the McElveny Grand Prize by the Nonproliferation Review. Hassan is Affiliate Researcher at Sciences Po and Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. He is also director of the Masters programme Science and International Security at King’s College London. Hassan was chair then co-chair of BISA’s Global Nuclear Order Working Group 2017-2020.

Toni Haastrup
Dr Toni Haastrup
University of Stirling

Toni is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Stirling. A feminist researcher and teacher, her work seeks to understand prevailing global power hierarchies that inform cooperation and conflict within the international system. Her work has explored the security practices of regional actors with a focus on the African and European Unions; the politics of knowledge making in the context of the Women, Peace and Security; Global South perspectives on Feminist Foreign Policy and the gendered and racialised nature of and responses to contemporary crises. Toni has published extensively in these areas. 

Toni is an Editor in Chief of JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies and is on the executive board of Women Also Know Stuff. In addition, she frequently participates in knowledge exchange activities having worked with decision-makers in Ireland, Canada and the UK, and consulting for international organisations like the EU and the World Bank. Toni is an experienced speaker and an occasional media commentator.

Naomi Head
Dr Naomi Head
University of Glasgow

Naomi is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Glasgow. She has published on the politics of emotions and empathy with a focus on contexts of occupation and war. Her research currently focuses on empathy and counterinsurgency, building on her 2019 Leverhulme Research Fellowship, ‘Empathy under Fire? “Hearts and Minds” and the Politics of Empathy’. More broadly, her research interests and publications focus on narratives of war and conflict, feminist, cultural and international relations theory, and critical pedagogies. Naomi co-founded and co-convened the BISA Emotions in Politics and IR Working Group from 2018-2021, and joined the BISA Executive as an elected trustee in 2020.

Professor Kurt Mills
Professor Kurt Mills
University of Dundee

Kurt is Professor of International Relations and Human Rights at the University of Dundee. His research focuses on the development of international norms and institutions related to human rights, humanitarianism, international criminal justice, and the responsibility to protect, particularly in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including International Reponses to Mass Atrocities in Africa: Responsibility to Protect, Prosecute, and Palliate. He is Director of the Scottish Human Rights Defenders Fellowship, an Editor of the journal Global Governance, and a member of the Executive Committee of BISA. He is past Vice-Chair of the Academic Council on the United Nations System, past Vice-President of the International Studies Association (ISA), and founder of the ISA Human Rights section.

Elspeth Van Veeran
Dr Elspeth Van Veeran
University of Bristol

Elspeth is an Associate Professor in Political Science in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies. Specialising in the security cultures, politics and foreign policy of the United States, and in particular on the visual and material dimensions of meaning-making in security discourses, she has published work on torture, US detention practices at JTF Guantanamo, and on art and conflict. Her more recent work is an exploration of secrecy cultures, invisibilities and ignorance, and the practices of ‘manhunting’ and navigating across new geographies of secrecy in the second decade of the Global War on Terror.

Co-opted members

Juliet Dryden
Juliet Dryden (BISA Director)

Juliet has worked in the field of international relations for the last 25 years specialising in programme management, international development/humanitarian affairs and donor relations.

Juliet has previously worked at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), the London School of Economics (LSE Ideas) and for 15 years with the United Nations in Cairo, Gaza and Jerusalem (UNRWA, UNOCHA, UNOHCHR). Her most recent position prior to joining BISA was at the West Asia - North Africa (WANA) Institute in Amman where she was the Director of Programmes. Juliet holds an MA in International Relations from the University of East Anglia.

Juliet was also elected as a member of the Chatham House Council in July 2021.

Outside of BISA, Juliet loves reading political biographies, outdoor swimming, spending time with her family and living a quiet life after years of living dangerously!

+44 7753 688648
Jon Gorrie
Jon Gorrie
Restless Development

Jon is a trustee and Chair of the Audit Committee of Restless Development, an international development charity focusing on youth leadership and empowerment. He is also a trustee of the SCI Foundation which runs the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, aiming to eradicate debilitating parasitic infections affecting 200 million people worldwide. He is currently studying anthropology at Oxford Brookes University. Jon was previously a Director at KPMG where he led assurance and advisory engagements in international development, focussing on monitoring, evaluation, value for money and audit with major donors and NGOs.

Dr Jennifer Medcalf
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Jennifer is Head of the Defence and International Security Research Group at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. DISRG, part of the FCO Research Analyst cadre, provides policy-focused research, analysis and advice on a range of defence and international security issues. Prior to joining the FCO, Jennifer worked at the University of Bath as Lecturer in Politics and then for the Ministry of Defence as Senior Lecturer in Defence and International Affairs at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Joanna Wilson
Joanna Wilson, PGN Chair
University of Glasgow

Joanna is in the final year of her PhD (Thesis Topic: AI, War and (In)Humanity), and works as Research and Teaching Associate for the International Law, Conflict and Security Research Group at the University of Glasgow. Joanna founded the interdisciplinary Glasgow Artificial Intelligence Working Group and has previously been Postgraduate Coordinator for the BISA International Law and Politics Working Group. Her work experience includes IES Villajunco, Santander, the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, the European Yearbook of International Economic Law, Global Rights Compliance, The Hague, and the Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) project. Her research interests are around Peace and Conflict Studies, International Security Studies, International Humanitarian Law, Law and Technology, Law and Morality, and Critical Approaches to International Law.

Joanna is also a part-time professional cellist.

Honorary President

Professor Mark Webber
Professor Mark Webber
University of Birmingham

Mark is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham. He was formerly Head of the School of Government and Society at Birmingham, and Head of the Department of Politics, History and International Relations at Loughborough University. He is a NATO specialist and a one-time scholar of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Recent work in these areas has been published in International Affairs, European Journal of International Security, Review of International Studies, European Security, West European Politics, and Journal of European Integration. He is co-editor (with Adrian Hyde-Price) of Theorising NATO: New Perspectives on the Transatlantic Alliance (Routledge 2016) and is currently completing a co-authored book (with James Sperling and Martin Smith) entitled What’s Wrong with NATO and How to Fix It. He is also co-editing (with James Sperling) the (Oxford) Handbook on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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