Department of International Relations


The Kurds and Syrian Peace Talks

Dr. Kamran Matin delivered a talk on the role of the Syrian Kurds in the peaceful resolution of the civil war in Syria in the 13th international annual conference on The European Union, Turkey, Middle-East and The Kurds at the European Parliament on December 6. The conference was organised by European United Left/Nordic Green Left, European Parliamentary Group (GUE/NGL).

Kamran argued that Syrian Kurds’ project of ‘democratic confederalism’ provides the most feasible resolution to the conflict. Based on the basic principles of decentralisation, formal recognition of Syria’s ethno-religious diversity, gender equality, and bottom-up, local self-administration democratic confederalism addresses the root cause of the conflict and reduces the transaction cost of the implementation guarantees of a peace settlement by maximising the involvement of local actors, and minimising the individual ethnic and religious communities’ fear of re-rise of a unitary and centralised state that given the extremely heterogeneous nature of Syrian society can only rule through coercion.

Kamran’s presentation has already been published on NRTV’s website. It will also appear in the conference compendium.

 The Kurds and Syrian Peace Talks The Kurds and Syrian Peace Talks

A workshop on the democratic transformation in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava)

Dr. Kamran Matin co-organised a public event and a one-day workshop on the democratic transformation in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) on November 3-4. 

The programme was co-organised by the ESRC STEPS Centre  members of the Sussex Kurdish Community and members of Brighton Kurdish Solidarity. 

The public event on November 3 included the screening of several short activist-produced films, followed by a panel discussion with key speakers Janet Biehl and Ercan Aybo─ča. 

The workshop brought together a group of scholars and reserachers discussing the decentralized nature of the socio-political transformation in Rojava, and the role played by economy, justice, defense, ecology, pluralism and feminism.

Turkey and Syria: The Current Political and Security Situation

On September 9 Kamran Matin gave an invited talk in the Danish parliament entitled Syria's Wars: Historical Dynamics, Iran’s Role, and the Kurdish project of 'Democratic Confederalism'.

The talk was part of the Turkey and Syria: The Current Political and Security Situation conference, which was organised by the Danish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and hosted by Denmark's Social Democratic Party.

Turkey’s coup and its aftermath

On July 21, 2016 management committee member, Dr. Kamran Matin participated in a BBC Persian TV panel on Turkey’s coup and its aftermath.

Gender and Peacebuilding Workshop

Synne L. Dyvik and Dr Lauren Greenwood co-organised a workshop for NGO practitioners alongside the peacebuilding and conflict resolution NGO Conciliation Resources (CR) in January 2015. The workshop was entitled Gender, Power and Militarism, and the discussions and exercises from it fed into their recently published Gender and Conflict Analysis Toolkit (December 2015).

A download of the workshop summary is available.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Briefing

In December 2015 Dr. Kevin Gray gave a policy briefing to Alastair Morgan, British Ambassador-designate to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Tyndall Centre Conference

Peter Newell gave the keynote address at the Tyndall Centre conference on climate change at Sussex- September 2015.

Iran’s Struggle For Social Justice - Conference

Kamran Matin (Senior Lecturer in International Relations) was invited to give a talk on the ‘minorities question in Iran’ in ‘Iran’s Struggle For Social Justice’ conference held at Victoria University, Canada, July 10-12.

Annual conference of the British International Studies Association (BISA)

Anne Roemer-Mahler (Centre for Global Health Policy) organised two panels on “The Ebola Crisis: An International Relations Response” at the 40th annual conference of the British International Studies Association (BISA) in London, 16 June 2015.

She also presented the paper “The Race for Ebola Drugs: Pharmaceuticals, Security and Global Health Governance”, co-authored with Stefan Elbe, at the conference.

Stefan Elbe (Centre for Global Health Policy) also presented at the coference.

House of Lords Briefing

Dr. Paul Kirby was one of four experts briefing the House of Lords Select Committee on Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2015. The briefing was on the achievements and limits of the UK government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative in advance of their inquiry

More information: Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee


Foreign and Commonwealth Office Briefing

Dr. Paul Kirby organised and ran a day of briefing for FCO civil servants on aspects of wartime sexual violence in January 2014. The event brought together academics from Sussex with activists and experts from civil society.


UN Arms Trade Treaty

Dr. Anna Stavrianakis conducted fieldwork in Geneva and Vienna observing the diplomatic negotiations about implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty.

More information: e-IR comment piece


The Kurds and Syrian Peace Talks