Department of International Relations

Dr Nafeez Ahmed

Post:Associate Tutor (School of Global Studies)
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Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development in London ( He has taught courses in contemporary history and international relations theory at the Department of International Relations, University of Sussex, from where he obtained his DPhil in April 2009. He has also lectured at Brunel University's Politics & History Unit on empire and globalisation at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

His Doctoral thesis investigated the radicalisation processes and dynamics of violent conflict in the context of hierarchical (imperial) social systems in the modern world. It undertakes a theoretically-controlled historical investigation of empire/imperialism in contemporary IR discourse, exploring the relationship between contested social relations in modern imperial systems, and practices of mass violence, war and genocide between combatant and civilian groups.

Ahmed has also published extensively on international terrorism, al-Qaeda and the 'War on Terror'. His current project is an interdisciplinary analysis of global ecological, energy and economic crises and Western state-security responses to them as symptoms of a global systemic crisis, not only in terms of the contemporary socio-political conjuncture of the global political economy, but also the subliminal ideational and ethical assumptions with which it is concurrently co-extensive. His forthcoming book based on this research is The Crisis of Civilisation: How Climate, Oil, Food, Finance, Terror and Warfare will Change the World (London: Pluto Press 2010; New York: Macmillan, 2010).


Associate Tutor (post-Doctoral) in International Relations


January 2005 - April 2009: Department of International Relations, University of Sussex

DPhil, International Relations

Thesis: ‘The Violence of Empire: The Logic and Dynamic of Strategies of Violence and Genocide in Modern Imperial Systems.' Supervisor: Dr Benno Teschke. Examiners: Dr Sam Knafo (Sussex) and Dr Alejandro Colas (Birkbeck)

 -     The thesis undertakes an interdisciplinary theoretical investigation encompassing IR Theory, Social Theory, Historical Sociology, and Genocide Studies, involving a critical appropriation of ‘Political Marxism' - particularly the concept of politically-constituted social relations - tested and extended through a comparative historiographical analysis of the Spanish and British empires from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

-      This culminates in a historical materialist social constructivist model of the social relations and radicalisation processes of violent conflict and genocidal violence in different imperial systems, illuminating the trajectory of post-9/11 security discourses and counterinsurgency practices in the ‘War on Terror.'


September 2003 - November 2004: Department of International Relations, University of Sussex

MA Contemporary War & Peace Studies (Distinction)

Dissertation (Distinction): ‘Structural Violence as a Form of Genocide: The Impact of the International Economic Order.' Supervisor: Dr Martin Coward

Modules: Foundations of World Politics; Contemporary Warfare and Society; Issues in International Security; International Conflict Analysis


January 2003 - July 2003 Birkbeck College, University of London

Certificate, Development Studies

Modules: Development: Theories & Strategies; Development in a Global Context; Development in Practice


Ahmed has written for the Independent on Sunday and Muslim News, and appeared as an expert commentator for BBC News 24, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC World Today, BBC Asian Network, Channel 4, Sky News, C-SPAN, CNN, FOX News, Bloomberg, PBS Foreign Exchange, Al-Jazeera English, Press TV, Islam Channel and hundreds of other radio and TV shows in the USA, UK, and Europe. He is also cited and reviewed in the Sunday Times, Times Higher Educational Supplement, The Independent, The Observer, Big Issue Magazine, Vanity Fair, New York Observer, among others.

His first book, The War on Freedom (2002) was nominated for the 2003 Naples Prize, Italy's most prestigious literary award. His published research is widely cited in the peer-reviewed literature, and used in several US and UK university courses, including the Harvard University School of Public Health's Department of Global Health and Population and the Kings College London War Studies Department. His work is also listed in major bibliographies of expert literature including the US Army Air University's 'Causes of War' collection (2007); the UK Ministry of Defence's Joint Services Command & Staff College Research Guide on Counter-Terrorism and the GWOT (2008); and the International Labour Organization's 'World Commission on the Social Dimension on Globalization' social science bibliography on impacts of globalisation (2003).

As well as testifying in US Congress on Western state collaboration with Islamist extremist networks after the Cold War in summer 2005, Ahmed's research on international terrorism was used by the 9/11 Commission. His research on al-Qaeda has been endorsed by former senior US military and intelligence officials such as CIA veteran Robert Steele (founder of the US Army Marine Corps Intelligence Center) and Lt. Col. (ret.) Robert Bowman (former head of the Star Wars missile defence programmes under Presidents Ford and Carter). Ahmed has also consulted for the legal team representing the 7/7 Survivors Group, and for various media organisations on issues related to terrorism and foreign policy, such as the BBC. He is currently advising the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on engagement with Muslim communities.

Ahmed is a former Senior Researcher at the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), a London-based NGO in Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council, and is currently on the Executive Committee of the British Muslim Human Rights Centre at London Metropolitan University's Human Rights & Social Justice Institute. He is also Strategy Director for Creative Education at Arts Versa, a consultancy working with a variety of government agencies and civil society organisations to build cultural bridges between faith and ethnic communities to promote shared values and community cohesion, with a focus on Muslim diasporas and the creation of an inclusive progressive vision for British Islam.