CIS - Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge


Director: Brendan Simms


EuroMeSCo "liaison officer": George Joffé



Strangely enough, given Cambridge University's predominant academic reputation in Britain and elsewhere, it has only comparatively recently embraced security studies and international relations.  In part, this reflects the fact that the natural sciences (as befits a university which was the home to Isaac Newton, the inventor of calculus, and Charles Darwin who developed the theory of evolution), together with law, history and the study of English literature, have been its dominant pursuits. It may also have been the case that international relations did not easily fit within a framework of classical studies related to language and culture.


The Centre of International Studies was thus only created in the late 1970s by the official historian of the British intelligence services during the Second World War, Harry Lindsey. He was supported by Clive Parry, who instituted the first graduate teaching programme for an MPhil in international relations at the Centre.


During the 1990s, the Centre was able to endow its directorship with a professorship as a result of an endowment conferred on it by Sir Patrick Sheehy, a post first taken up by the distinguished commentator on nationalism, Africa and India, James Mayall.  The current director and professor is Christopher Hill, a highly-respected commentator on foreign policy and Europe. Indeed, Europe is one of the main concerns of the Centre and one of the four courses of academic study it offers is in Contemporary European Studies. It also offers courses in International Relations, one of them in conjunction with the University’s Centre for Continuing Education. Its courses are not open to undergraduate students and it began a doctoral programme in the 1990s. Today it has some 150 full- and part-time graduate students within four teaching programmes, including a PhD research degree programme.


There are also three student-led initiatives; a well-respected academic journal, the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (CRIA); an international studies association (CISA); and a society dedicated to the history of European integration (HEIRS).  The Centre also runs five separate research initiatives; the Centre of North African Studies (CNAS); the Donner Foundation which runs the Atlantic Studies Programme, the Carnegie Corporation’s programme for the study of conflict prevention; the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence and the Marie Curie fellowship programme. Today, the Centre’s specialists on European affairs and on the Middle East and North Africa are anxious to expand their interests into the Mediterranean and it is for that reason that the Centre takes such an interest in the EuroMeSCo network.


Now that it is a full member of the network, the Centre of International Studies engages fully in the current research and seminar programme. It aims to bring to these projects its own unique blend of theoretical approaches to international relations and area studies while benefiting from the network’s experience in confidence-building and conflict-resolution studies to amplify its own expertise.


Practical information:

The Department of Politics and International Studies

The Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road

Cambridge, CB3 9DT



If you would like to contact the focal point of this institute, please write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it