isabelle ioannides

Dr. Isabelle Ioannides

Senior Associate Researcher


Dr. Isabelle Ioannides is a Senior Associate Researcher in the “European Foreign and Security Policy” research cluster of the Institute for European Studies and a Scholar in the Department of Political Science (POLI), both at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). As of September 2019, she is a 2019-2020 non-resident fellow in the 'Europe's Futures' project (funded by the ERSTE Foundation) at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), in Vienna, working on the role and place of values in the future of EU peacebuilding in the Western Balkans. She currently works as a Policy Analyst in the Directorate on Impact Assessment and European Added Value in the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) of the European Parliament, where she engages in policy development and research in support of the legislative oversight that Parliamentary committees and subcommittees conduct on EU external action. She also lectures in the Département de Géographie et Territoires of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, is an Affiliated Alumna on the European Studies Progamme of the University of Virginia (USA), and a Senior Advisory Board Member of the humanitarian charity organisation 'Hope for Children' - UNCRC Policy Centre in Cyprus. 

From 2010-2014, she was an Adviser in the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) of the European Commission President, where she advised on rule of law governance in transition countries, EU enlargement and the European Neighbourhood Policy – notably transitions in the southern Mediterranean – and focused on relations with civil society, think tanks and expert communities. She was also one of the managers of the "European Strategy and Policy Analysis System – ESPAS" (the EU inter-institutional project on strategic foresight) and the rapporteur for its Working Group on 'global societal changes', as well as the editor of the BEPA publications.

Isabelle has extensive policy experience having consulted international organisations, governments and civil society on post-conflict reconstruction, with a focus on rule of law and security sector reform, civil society capacity building, grassroots reconciliation and victims' rehabilitation.

She has also taught and researched at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (the Netherlands), the University of Bradford (UK), the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium). In parallel, she has worked with policy institutes and think tanks in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, the USA, the Western Balkans and Cyprus.

Her research has been funded by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the 'European Foreign and Security Policy Studies' programme (funder: Riksbanken Jubiliumsfond, Stockholm), the European Commission's Fifth Framework Programme and Seventh Framework Programme, the UK FCO/British Council's Chevening programme, the British International Studies Association (BISA), the Contemporary European Studies Association (UACES), the Centre for International Cooperation and Security (CICS) of the University of Bradford, the Open Society Foundation (Kosovo), the King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium), the EU Institute for Security Studies, the European Policy Center (Brussels), and the 'Arab and Muslim World' doctoral programme of the Paris Institut d'Etudes Politiques ('Sciences-Po').

Her publications examine EU peacebuilding and statebuilding in transitional societies, including the governance of the security sector, and EU crisis management, concentrating on EU performance in the Western Balkans and the Middle East & North Africa region. She has lived, worked and/or studied in North Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and the Palestinian Territories.

Isabelle holds a PhD and a Masters of Research in international relations and security studies (Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK), a Masters of Research in political science (Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, France) and a Bachelors in foreign affairs and French literature (University of Virginia, USA).


Research Areas: post-conflict reconstruction; peacebuilding; EU in the world; EU crisis management; CSDP/CFSP; security sector reform (in particular police reform and rule of law); external aspects of EU internal security/Justice and Home Affairs; policy learning and institutional change; conflict impact assessment and evaluation.

Geographic regions: Western Balkans, Middle East & North Africa (MENA), Cyprus, EU.


  • Isabelle Ioannides, Cyprus and EU enlargement to the Western Balkans: a balancing act, in Ker-Lindsay, J., Armakolas, I., Balfour, R. and Stratulat, C. (eds), The National Politics of EU Enlargement in the Western Balkans. London: Routledge, 2019.

  • Trainer on the future of Europe on the panel entitled "The Schuman Declaration 70 Years Later: Learnings for Today's Europe", organised by the Union of European Federalists (funded by the European Commission's "Europe for Citizens Programme") for 55 young activists participating in the "Schuman 2.0 Ambassadors' Training", in Brussels, on 14-15 December 2019.

  • Panellist at the event entitled "The EU and the Western Balkans – An End of a Romance?", organised by the Centre for European Progression, in Brussels, on 9th December 2019. Read the short summary of the event here.

  • Speaker on "Europe's Global Goods: How can Europe act in the world to promote a just green transition?", at the international conference on "Europe for the Many", organised by the LSE - London, Another Europe is Possible, ERSTE Stiftung, IWM - Vienna, Europe's Futures - Ideas for Action, Green European Journal, Euroepan Alternatives and Universita degli studi di Palermo, in Palermo, Italy, on 8th November 2019.

  • Isabelle Ioannides, EU Enlargement to the Western Balkans is still alive, blog on Europe's Futures - Ideas for Action, Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) and ERSTE Stiftung, Vienna, on 4th November 2019.

  • Isabelle Ioannides, Ivan Damjanovski and Zoran Nechev, The Parliamentary Dimension of North Macedonia’s accession to the European Union, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and Institute for Democracy 'Societas Civilis' - Skopje, Skopje, North Macedonia, November 2019.

  • Lecture on "A Values-Based EU? Impact on EU peacebuilding to the Western Balkans", organised in the context of the Institute for Human Science (IWM) Europe's Futures Colloquuim III, in Vienna, Austria, on 24th September 2019.

  • Speaker on "EU enalrgement to the Western Balkans" on the panel entitled "Normless Europe? The impact of EU foreign policy: emipircal examples" of the closed workshop on "The Cost of a Normless Europe", organised by the GEM STONES PhD programme and the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Brussels, Belgium, 16-17 September 2019.

  • Speaker in the moderated public event on "Ein Neustart fuer die Europaeische Aussenpolitik?" [A New Start for the European Foreign Policy", co-organised by the Renner Institut, the International Institute for Peace (IIP), the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Research Group for Polemology and Legal Ethics, at the National Defence Academy Vienna, in Vienna, Austria, on 9th September 2019.

  • Isabelle Ioannides, Cyprus: Firmly Committed to the Non-Recognition of Kosovo, in Armakolas, I. and Ker-Lindsay, J. (eds), The Politics of Recognition and Engagement: EU Member State Interactions with Kosovo. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

  • Panelist on "Towards a new European Commission: What future for Enlargement and Neighbourhood policy?" at the conference entitled "Buckle up! The Western Balkans start joining the EU by 2025? Or not?", organised by the Hellenic Foundation for Euroepan & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), the Open Society Euroepan Policy Institute and the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG), on 1st July 2019, in Athens, Greece.

  • Facilitator of the "Security and defence" working group in the session "Areas of future collaboration: what do partnerships look like in practice?" of the conference entitled "Beyond Brexit - Future partnerships in Europe", organised by the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office in cooperation with the Chevening Programme, at Wilton Park, on 9-11 Janaury 2019.

  • Speaker on "EU enlargement to the Western Balkans: a moving target?", at the workshop on "The future of the Western Balkans in Europe", organised by the School of Law, University of Warwick, on 6-7 December 2018.

  • Discussant at the conference entitled "Accountability after Economic Crisis", funded by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and organised by the University of Kent, Brussels Campus, on 18 October 2018.

  • Speaker in the plenary session on "The Role of Peace Training, Peacebuilding and Prevention in Europe’s Common Security and Defence Policy" at the "Shaping the Future of PeaceTraining in Europe and Beyond" conference, organised in the framework of the project ("Strengthening the capabilities and training curricula of conflict prevention and peace building personnel with CT-based approaches and extensive stakeholder enqaqement"), which took place in Vienna, on 1-2 October 2018.

  • Speaker on the EU peace support efforts in the Western Balkans at the conference entitled "Western Balkan Security Challenges and Serbia", organised with the support of the US Embassy in Belgrade, by the Center for Foreign Policy, in Belgrade, on 19 September 2018.

  • Isabelle Ioannides, Cyprus, in Ker-Lindsay, J. and Armakolas, I. (eds), Lack of Engagement? Surveying the EU Member State Policies towards Kosovo. Pristina: Kosovo Foundation for Open Society, December 2017, p. 47-50.

  • Isabelle Ioannides, "Cyprus and EU Enlargement to the Western Balkans: A Balancing Act", Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 2017, 17(4): 631-647.

  • Participant in "Reflection Forum on the run-up to the Trieste Summit on Western Balkans", Berlin Process side event for think tanks, Trieste, 26-27 June 2017.

  • Project member and author in research programme titled "The Politics of (Non)Recognition - Lessons Learned and Knowledge Transfer" that examines EU Member States' policies on the Kosovo question (funded by the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society, KFOS), 2016-2017.

  • Invited Speaker at the European Union Seminar Series on "The European Parliament's Actorness: What role in EU integration?" for the International Relations Master's Programme, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University, 20 November 2016.

  • Trainer on stability policing, complex humanitarian emergencies, and the protection of civilians/vulnerable groups in the 1st edition of the course "Introduction to Stability Policing for Field Commanders", NATO Stability Policing Centre of Excellence, in Vicenza, Italy, 7-11 November 2016.

  • Paper giver: "EU good governance promotion through inter-regional cooperation: The case of the southern Mediterranean" on the Panel titled "Insights from Regional Organisations: How to Tackle Inequality and Exclusion?" at the 24th World Congress of Political Science, in Poznan, Poland, 23rd‐28th July 2016.

  • Guest Lecturer on EU crisis management for the module "Political, Humanitarian and Military Approaches: Towards a Comprehensive Approach?" of the Executive Course "Global Risk Analysis & Crisis Management (GRACM)", organised by Versalius College, the Global Governance Institute and the Institute for European Studies (IES), Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in April 2016.

  • Research consultant on project titled EU member states and enlargement towards the Western Balkans (Commissioned by the European Policy Centre, Brussels) (2013-2015).

  • Research consultant on "EU peacebuilding in the Western Balkans" (Commissioned by the EU Institute for Security Studies, Paris) (2014-2015).

  • Isabelle Ioannides, "Inside out, outside in: Securing the EU neighbourhood", The International Spectator 49(1), 2014, p. 113-132.

  • Isabelle Ioannides, EU Peace Support Operations in the Western Balkans since 2003, in The European Future of the Western Balkans: Thessaloniki@10 (2003‐2013). Paris: EU Institute for Security Studies, 2013, p. 55‐62.

  • Research consultant for the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) in Stockholm (2013-2014) leading to a publication: Rule of Law in European Union External Action: Guiding Principles, Practices and Lessons Learned

  • Guest Lecturer for the joint IES-University of Southern California (USC) Brussels undergraduate programme on "Contemporary Issues in European Foreign and Security Policy" (2011-2013).

  • Peer reviewer for grant giving foundations and academic journals on EU external action, peace, security and international relations.