David Wilcox

David WilcoxWhat is the role of interpersonal trust in “scaling up” negotiations from Track II to Track I diplomacy in conflict situations? A Case Study of the Oslo Backchannel, December 1992-September 1993

Supervisors: Professor Nicholas J Wheeler and Dr Asaf Siniver 

David is undertaking doctoral research into the role of interpersonal trust in the development of track II to track I diplomacy. Drawing on both International Relations (IR) and non-IR literature on trust and distrust

He is developing a theory of how trust is transferred between Track II participants and Track I political decision-makers. This theory will be applied to a single case study of the Oslo Backchannel negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) between December 1992 and September 1993. 

The research aims to contribute to expanding knowledge on: the interplay of interpersonal trust and distrust at and across different levels within organizational-governmental structures; the impact of interpersonal trust and distrust at low-levels of governmental and organizational interaction in shaping the perspectives of high-level state leaders towards their respective counterparts; interpersonal trust in the context of distrust and in the presence of third-party mediation as well as in negotiations more broadly; and how individuals can reduced distrust and build trust in conflict situations.


David previously studied History and Politics at degree level at the University of Sheffield. At Sheffield, David became increasingly interested in international politics and history and particular elements relating to the causes of war and inter-state conflicts, ethnic and intra-state conflicts, terrorism, and conflict transformation. After taking two years out to pursue his passion for music and undertaking formal musical education, David returned to study his Masters at the University of Birmingham in International Relations to continue his interests from his undergraduate degree. Having attended the Trust, Diplomacy, and Conflict Transformation training programme conducted by the Institute of Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS) at the University of Birmingham in March 2017, David became interested in the concept of trust and its role in conflict transformation. The concept of trust formed the basis of his MA dissertation and now his Ph.D. research.


  • MA International Relations, University of Birmingham (2016-2017)
  • Diploma of Higher Education in Popular Music, University of West London (2013-2015)
  • BA History and Politics, University of Sheffield (2010-2013)

Research interests

  • Interpersonal Trust
  • Trust and Distrust within IR and non-IR disciplines, namely Business and Management
  • Track I and Track II Diplomacy
  • Backchannel Diplomacy
  • Distrust Reduction and Trust-Building  
  • The Oslo Peace Process
  • Arab-Israeli Relations
  • Israeli-Palestinian Relations

Teaching responsibilities

POLS 105 Understanding International Relations Theory(2020-2021)

POLS 108 Global History (2021)

Professional memberships

International Studies Association (ISA)

European International Studies Association (EISA)

British International Studies Association (BISA)

Conference papers

Presenter: Managing Trust: Intra-Conflict Party Rivalries in Bilateral Conflict Negotiations (International Studies Association’s 63rd Annual Convention, March-April 2022)

Transferring Trust Upwards: Below State-Leader to State Leader (14th Pan-European Workshop on International Relations, September 2021)

Presenter: Transferring Trust Upwards: Below State-Leader to State Leader, (8th European Workshop in International Studies, June 2021) 

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