Dr Danielle Beswick

Dr Danielle Beswick

International Development Department
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

International Development Department
School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Danielle Beswick is a Senior Lecturer in the International Development Department. Her teaching focuses on Conflict and Development, including on campus and distance-learning modules. Her current research interests are primarily centred on UK Africa relations, UK development policy and international volunteering by political party members.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2013)
  • PhD in Politics (2007) University of Manchester
  • MRes in International Relations (2004) Lancaster University
  • BA in International Relations and Strategic Studies (2003), Lancaster University


Danielle has been a Senior Lecturer and Director of Research in the International Development Department since 2014. Prior to this she was a Lecturer in the same department from 2008.

Danielle's previous research focused primarily on post-genocide Rwanda, particularly exploring political identity, relations with donors, and foreign policy, including Rwanda’s significant contributions to UN and African Union peacekeeping. This led to an interest in comparative research on identity policy after ethnic conflict, and the role of national military forces in post-war development.  This work was supported by a British Academy Small Grant (2011) to compare experiences in Rwanda and post war Sri Lanka.

Danielle's more recent work has focused on UK Africa relations, particularly exploring African agency in this set of relationships and the contemporary drivers of UK Africa policy. This led to an ESRC Seminar Series on UK Africa policy post 2010, partnering with Chatham House, the Institute for Public Policy Research, the British Institute in Eastern Africa (Nairobi), Universities of Sheffield, Warwick and Oxford Brookes.  An edited collection is expected to be published based on this series in late 2017.

Danielle's current research is supported by REACH, a fund designed to promote collaboration with non-academic partners. The project explores political party-supported overseas volunteering, researching Conservative Party members' volunteering in Africa since 2007. The project aims to explore expectation and impacts of the volunteering experience, both in terms of the individuals involved but also the party more widely. The research is being undertaken with a postdoctoral research fellow, Dr Mattias Hjort, and is scheduled for completion in Autumn 2017.


Danielle convenes two postgraduate modules:

  • Conflict and Development (on campus)
  • Conflict and Development (Distance Learning)

Danielle also contributes to modules in other departments:

  • Education as an International Issue (PG Education)
  • Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (PG Philosophy, Politics and Religion)
  • War Torn States and Post Conflict Reconstruction in the South (UG POLSIS)

Postgraduate supervision

Danielle was nominated for an 'Excellence in PhD Supervision Award' in 2017, and is currently supervising research in the following areas:

  • Taxation and the governance dividend in Rwanda
  • The use of 'Africa' in UK Prime Minister's speeches 1990-2017
  • Children's voices in transitional justice (M3C scholarship, interdisciplinary law and development study co-supervised with Professor Aoife Nolan, University of Nottingham)
  • Resilience and livelihoods of fisherfolk in conflict affected areas: DR Congo/Tanzania case study
  • Transnational advocacy communities on the Myanmar/Thai border
  • Peace Education in Colombia (ESRC 1+3)
  • Traditional/New donors and African Agency (ESRC 1+3)

She is interested in supervising further PhD research on: African agency and international relations; UK Africa relations; Conservative Party development policy; Rwandan politics/foreign policy; and African peacekeeping.


Research interests

  • Overseas volunteering by UK political party members
  • Impacts of volunteering on political behaviour
  • UK Africa relations
  • UK development policy
  • African agency in international relations

Current projects

  • REACH funded collaborative project with Conservative Friends of International Development exploring impacts of overseas volunteering on party members. With Dr Mattias Hjort (c.£17,000; 2017)
  • ESRC Seminar Series – UK Africa Policy after Labour (c. £26,000; completed June 2017)

Other activities

  • IDD Director of Research (2013-2017)
  • External Examiner for MSc programmes of the African Leadership Centre, Kings College London (2013-17)
  • Co-convenor of MSc International Studies in Education (Education and Development) with Dr Jonathan Fisher and Dr Dina Kiwan.
  • Co-convenor with Dr Suda Perera of British International Studies Association working group on Africa and International Studies (2014-18)
  • Former Head of Academic Innovation, School of Government and Society (2011-2013)
  • Trainee, ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring
  • Graduate, University of Birmingham Research Leaders Programme (2016-17, cohort 1).


Beswick, D (2017) ‘Hybrid approaches to peace and justice: The case of post-genocide Rwanda’, in R Freedman and N Lemay-Hebert (eds), Hybridity: Law, Culture and Development, London: Routledge 

Beswick, D and J Fisher (2017) ‘The African State and Special Procedures: Agency, Leverage and Legitimacy’ in A Nolan, R Freedman and T murphy (eds) The United Nations Special Procedures System, Brill/Martinus Nijhoff

Beswick, D (2014) ‘Political risk and the building of African national military capacity: Analysing the lessons of contemporary Rwanda,’ African Affairs 113(451): 212-231

Beswick, D and P Jackson (2014) Conflict Security and Development: An Introduction, Second Edition, London Routledge.

Beswick, D and A Hammerstad (2013) ‘African agency in a changing security environment: Sources, opportunities and challenges.’ Conflict, Security and Development, 13(5).

Beswick, D (2013) ‘From weak state to savvy international player? Rwanda’s multi-level strategy for maximising agency’ in S Harman and W Brown (eds.) African Agency and International Politics. Routledge.

Beswick, D (2011) ‘Aiding statebuilding but sacrificing peacebuilding? UK-Rwanda relations 1994-2011,’ Third World Quarterly 32(10): 1911-1030.

Beswick, D (2011) ‘Genocide and the politics of exclusion: the case of the Batwa in Rwanda,’ Democratisation, 18(2): 490-511.

Beswick, D (2010) ‘Peacekeeping, regime security, ‘African solutions to African problems’: Exploring Rwanda’s involvement in Darfur,’ Third World Quarterly,31(5):739-754.

Beswick, D (2010) ‘Managing dissent in a post genocide environment: the challenge of political space in Rwanda,’ Development and Change, 41(2): 225-251.

View all publications in research portal


The relationship between security and development, specifically focusing on UK security relationships with African states and the UK’s relationship with Rwanda since the 1994 genocide; Rwandan politics since 1994, especially limitations of Rwandan democracy; Great Lakes security

Media experience

Inside Story - Rwanda reinvented (Al Jazeera): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsYN2ndDev0

Talk for A4ID course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC7TSLw3feM

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office