Professor Michelle Pace

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Honorary Professor in Politics and International Studies

Contact details


PhD Euro-Mediterranean Relations (Portsmouth)

Postgraduate Diploma, Research Methods, (Portsmouth)

MA International Studies (Warwick)

BA (Hons) Business Management (Malta)

Bachelor of Commerce, B. Comm (Malta)


Michelle Pace is an International Relations specialist and a European-Middle East/Mediterraneanist working predominantly on perceptions of democratisation in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in the European Union. A core area of interest is de-democratisation, governance and pluralism in the Middle East. It was her extensive fieldwork experience in Brussels, Morocco (MedaDemocracy EU-funded project), Greece, Malta, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and Palestine (EU funded Framework Programme 5 project, amongst others, which also led her to focus on Northern Ireland and Pskov, Karelia and Kaliningrad) that led her into the area of democracy promotion and political reform. She is currently Principal Investigator of the ESRC project RES-061-25-0075 ( which engages her in wide ranging policy discussions with external actors involved in democracy promotion, governance and humanitarian aid, including various European governments, the EU's main bodies (Council, Commission and European Parliament), Permanent Representative offices of EU Member States in Brussels, International IDEA (Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Stockholm), the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, as well as the UNDP.

In addition Michelle is also a member of the School of Government and Society Research Committee and a member of the POLSIS Research Committee where she contributes to the Schools and Departments vision and strategy on research.

Despite the demands of her PI role on her ESRC project, Michelle is also an active member of the editorial board of the journal Mediterranean Politics and a research associate of the University of Liverpool, School of Politics, Europe in the World Centre. Michelle is founder and convenor of the British International Studies Association Working Group on International Mediterranean Studies and of the research group on the EU and democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East, for which groups she regularly organises meetings, workshops and conference panels


Research interests

The basic question I am interested in is the role of the EU, and other external actors like the US, in the de-democratisation of states / pseudo states in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly the cases of Egypt and Palestine. The focus of a lot of my current work has been on the following:

  1. The nature of democracy promotion in the context of an Occupied Nation (Palestine) and of an Authoritarian Regime (Egypt).
  2. Rethinking the EU's promotion of its liberal democracy model in the Middle East and the relationship between development, democracy and human rights in the EU's discourse.
  3. External 'engagement' in political reform issues, particularly EU 'democracy promotion' policy towards the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
  4. Governance and pluralism, particularly in Palestine and Egypt.

I also have a history of working on European Union Mediterranean relations, including the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean.

Current and recent projects

  • ESRC project on Paradoxes and Contradictions in EU Democracy Promotion Efforts in the Middle East (Principal Investigator, ongoing)
  • British Academy large research grant project (LRG - 45504) on A 'Modern' Islamist Democracy? Perceptions of Democratisation in the Arab-Mediterranean World (successfully completed on 31 March 2009)

Other activities

Administrative responsibilities

Responsible for administration and research of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) First Grant Scheme large research project RES-061-25-0075. I also line manage two honorary research associates affiliated with this project.

In addition, convenor of the British International Studies Association (BISA) Working Group on International Mediterranean Studies ( (opens in a new window)) and the ESRC research group on the EU and Democracy Promotion in the Middle East (

Other professional appointments

Membership of Professional Organisations

  • British International Studies Association, Middle East Studies Association, International Studies Association, European Union Studies Association, British Society for Middle Eastern Studies membership

Other professional roles

  • Nominated as one of the University of Birmingham's Public Intellectuals


  • Books

Michelle Pace (2010) The European Unions Democratization Agenda in the Mediterranean, London and New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, publication date: 16 October 2009 (main book editor) ISBN: 978-0-415-55168-7

Michelle Pace (2007) Conceptualizing Cultural and Social Dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean Area: A European Perspective, London and New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, publication date: February, 2007 (book co-editor), ISBN: 0415371295.

Michelle Pace (2006) The Politics of Regional Identity. Meddling with the Mediterranean, London, Routledge, (monograph: New International Relations Series), ISBN: 0415333962 (hardback published September 2005). ISBN-10: 0415459982/ISBN: 9780415459983 (paperback, publication date, January 2007. Available at: (opens in a new window)).

Reviews of The Politics of Regional Identity: Ulla Holm (Danish Institute of International Studies) for example noted that The author has tremendous factual knowledge about the EUs institutional development and concrete policies towards the Mediterranean, and succeeds in presenting this knowledge in a coherent and comprehensive manner (Millennium). George Christou (University of Warwick) noted that This book no doubt makes a significant contribution to the study of the Mediterranean beyond the conventional offerings of related works (JCMS). In September 2006, the Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, the University of Southern Denmark hosted an international conference on the topic of this monograph. This conference was also covered in the well-renowned Danish broadsheet newspaper Politiken. During December 2009, the same Centre in Denmark will be organising a follow up conference entitled Re-inventing the Mediterranean? during which Michelle Pace is again invited as one of the key guest speakers.

  • Journal articles

Michelle Pace (2009) Democratization, 16 (1), February. Special Issue on The European Union's Democratization Agenda in the Mediterranean: A Critical Inside-Out Approach. (Main Guest Editor). ISSN: 1351-0347

Michelle Pace (2009) 'Paradoxes and Contradictions in EU democracy promotion in the Mediterranean: the limits on EU normative power'. In Democratization, 16 (1), February, pp. 39-58. (Special Issue). ISSN: 1351-0347

Michelle Pace (2009) 'The European Union�s Democratization Agenda in the Mediterranean: A Critical Inside-Out Approach' (with Francesco Cavatorta and Peter Seeberg). In Democratization, 16 (1), February, pp. 3-19. (Special Issue). ISSN: 1351-0347

Michelle Pace (2008) 'A Tale of Two Egypts'. In Mediterranean Politics, 13 (3), November, pp. 439-444. ISSN: 1362-9395.

Michelle Pace (2007) 'The Construction of EU Normative Power' in Journal of Common Market Studies, 45 (5), December, pp. 1039-1062. ISSN: 0021-9886.

Michelle Pace (2007) Norm shifting from EMP to ENP: the EU as a norm entrepreneur in the south? Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20 (4), December, pp. 657-673. ISSN: 0955-7571.

  • Book chapters

Michelle Pace (2008) The EU as a 'force for good' in border conflict cases? in Diez, Thomas, Mathias Albert and Stephan Stetter (eds.). The European Union and Border Conflicts. The Power of Integration and Association. Cambridge University Press, pp. 203-219. Paperback  (ISBN-13: 9780521709491); Hardback  (ISBN-13: 9780521882965); Adobe eBook Reader  (ISBN-13: 9780511389658)

Michelle Pace (2008) Notions of 'Europe'. Where does Europes Southern Margin Lie? Book chapter in The Geopolitics of Europe�s Identity: Centers, Boundaries, and Margins (edited by Noel Parker). Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 159-176.  ISBN: 978-1-4039-8205-6, ISBN10: 1-4039-8205-8

Michelle Pace (2008) People-to-People: Education and Culture. In Weber, Katja, Michael E. Smith and Michael Baun (eds). Governing Europes Neighbourhood: Partners or Periphery? Manchester University Press, pp. 156-175. ISBN: 978-0-7190-7601-5, ISBN10: 0-7190-7601-