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Simone Tholens

Adjunct Professor of International Relations


Adjunct Professor of International Relations, SAIS Europe; Senior Lecturer International Relations, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University, and Co-director of the Centre for Conflict, Security and Societies. She is currently on a Leverhulme Trust International Academic Fellowship and a Visting Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre/European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy (AY 21/22).

Simone Tholens' main research interest within International Relations are postliberal interventions, security assistance, bordering processes, and materiality of global war practices, as well as theories of contestation and practice. She has been working on these themes in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean area, in particular on EU border management, energy integration, and defence capacity building.

She has published in internationally esteemed journals such as International Affairs, International Studies Persepctives, Journal of International Relations and Development, and Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. She has also co-edited (w/Raffaella A. Del Sarto, 2020, University of Michigan Press,) "Resisting Europe: Practices of Contestation in the Mediterranean Middle East." Her ongoing projects include a monograph (in progress), supported by the Leverhulme Fellowship, called “Assembling Security Assistance,” and a Special Issue (w/ Abdullah Al-Jabassini) with Mediterranean Politics on “Reordering the Middle East: The evolution of Security Assistance as an international practice.”

Prior to taking up the Lectureship at Cardiff University (2016), she was a Research Associate at the Robert Schuman Centre/European University Institute, and an Adjunct Professor of Conflict Management at Johns Hopkins University, SAIS Europe. She holds a PhD from the European University Institute, an MA from University of Amsterdam, and a BA from University of Oslo. For a recent curriculum vitae including a full list of publications, see personal website.



  • Balkans
  • Middle East
  • Northern Africa
  • Southeast Asia


  • Arms Control and Disarmament
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Post-conflict Reconstruction
  • Governance
  • International Relations


  • German
  • Italian

In the News

The uncomfortable track record of outsourcing global security.

Simone Tholens wrote in La Repubblica, 10/21