About us

The research project has a very vibrant and diverse team. The team is composed of:

Principal Investigator

Dr Michelle Pace
Principal Investigator

Tel:  +44 (0)121 414 8222
Fax:  +44 (0)121 414 3496
Email:  m.pace@bham.ac.uk

Dr Michelle Pace is trained as an International Relations specialist and as a Euro-Middle East/Mediterraneanist.  Michelle Pace began her academic career at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London as a subject lecturer. During 2002, she returned to Morocco, where she had carried out field research for her PhD earlier, and worked on a MedaDemocracy EU-funded project.

From January 1, 2003, she worked as a research fellow on an EU funded Framework Programme V project on The EU and Border Conflict Transformation (EUBorderConf) at the University of Birmingham. Her research mainly focused on the EU’s role in five cases of border conflicts namely, Israel/Palestine; Cyprus, Turkey/Greece, Northern Ireland and Pskov, Karelia and Kaliningrad. From April 2007, Michelle was the Principal Investigator of a British Academy funded project (LRG - 45504) on 'A Modern' Islamist Democracy? Perceptions of Democratisation in the Arab-Mediterranean World (successfully completed on 31 March 2009). On 1 January 2010, Michelle was appointed to the post of Senior Lecturer after her successful completion of a 5-year Birmingham RCUK fellowship  (from 1 January 2005). On 1 August, 2011, Michelle was promoted to Reader in Politics and International Studies.

Michelle is an active member of the editorial board of the journal Mediterranean Politics and an external consultant at the University of Liverpool, School of Politics, Europe in the World Centre. She also was a visiting fellow in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, until 31 December 2011. Michelle is founder and convenor of the British International Studies Association Working Group on International Mediterranean Studies. She is a member of a range of professional organisations including BISA, MESA,  ISA, EUSA and BRISMES.

Research Associates

Valentina Kostadinova
Honorary Research Associate

Valentina joined  the ESRC project on Paradoxes and Contradictions in EU Democracy Promotion Efforts in the Middle East on 5th October 2009 as an Honorary Research Associate.

Valentina Kostadinova’s academic background is in International Relations and European Studies. She completed her undergraduate degree  in International Relations in Sofia, Bulgaria (2001) and attained her Masters in European Studies at the University of Exeter, UK (2003). Her Masters dissertation examined the possibility of the emergence of a security community in the Mediterranean region. Valentina successfully completed her PhD thesis in May 2010. It critically examines the contribution of the European Commission in the construction and reconstruction of borders in the EU through four policy areas – the European Neighbourhood Policy, social policy, border controls and free movement of people.

Since she joined the POLSIS Department of the University of Birmingham in September 2005, Valentina has been actively involved in its academic life.  As a Graduate Teaching Assistant she has taught two undergraduate modules, Foundations of Politics and Introduction to the European Union (the second one is convened by the Centre for Russian and East European Studies); she has also been responsible for Undergraduate Coordination and has participated in the Staff-Student Liaison Committee. In the 2010-11 academic year she was appointed a Visiting Lecturer at the POLSIS Department convening a second year undergraduate module, Policies and Institutions of the European Union. She took up a Lectureship in Politics position at the University of Buckingham, UK in July 2012. Valentina is a member of UACES.

Valentina’s current research interests are in EU foreign relations with the Arab world with a particular focus on the EU's relationship with the GCC. She is currently working on a research paper examining the promotion of regionalism in the EU's relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Hazem Kandil (Email: hkandil@ucla.edu)
Honorary Research Associate

Hazem Kandil is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Kandil specializes in political sociology, focusing on the political role of the military-security establishment under authoritarian regimes. In his dissertation, Kandil examines comparatively and historically the power struggles between political and military institutions in Iran, Turkey, and Egypt, and the impact this struggle has had on the political prospects of Islamist movements.

Advisory board

Professor Stuart Croft, Professor of International Security (PAIS) and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research (Arts and Social Sciences, 2011-12), University of Warwick. 

Prof Croft was a Director of the UK Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) New Security Challenges Programme - a 6.5 million pounds programme that supported nearly 50 research projects based at a variety of UK universities and other institutions - for eight years. The latest initiative under that programme is to support a series of projects investigating Radicalisation and Violence around the world. Before that, he worked on a project funded by the ESRC on media representations of the war in Iraq, and before that worked with colleagues on an ESRC-funded project on the future of NATO.  From January 2007, he became Vice Chair of the British International Studies Association, and was BISA's Chair for two years (from January 2009). From 2011, Stuart Croft is the President of this Association.

In early 2009, Prof Croft began working on a project funded by the EU, and led by the UN University in Bruges, focusing on issues in security governance, with a total value of 1.94 million euros (http://www.eugrasp.eu). From 2011 he acts as the co-lead of Work Package 4 on security issues in the 8 million euro programme Global Reordering: Evolution through European Networks

He has been elected as an Academician in the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and as a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts. From April 2011, he was appointed to the ESRC Council as the representative for the Politics and  International Studies Discipline.


Dr Haifaa Jawad, Senior Lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham, UK.

Dr Jawad is a specialist in Modern Islamic thought, Euro-Arab relations and Islam and Democracy. She has in-depth knowledge of the Middle East region and a broad range of experiences in conducting fieldwork research in the area, including Jordan, Egypt (particularly on the Wasatiya (Centrist) movement), Syria, Yemen and Tunisia. Her publications include Towards Building a British Islam: New Muslims' Perspectives, Continuum International, 2011; Muslim Women and Sport (eds., with Tansin Benn and Gertrud Pfister ), Routledge, 2010;  The Middle East in the New World Order, 2nd ed., Basingstoke: MacMillan, 1997, (editor and contributor); and Euro-Arab Relations: A Study in Collective Diplomacy, Reading, Garent, 1992.

ESRC Project Officer

Dr Craig Bardsley
Economic and Social Research Council
Polaris House
Swindon SN2 1UJ