Richard Illingworth

Richard Illingworth


I hold a BA (first-class) in War and Security Studies from the University of Hull and an MA (distinction) in International Relations from the University of Leeds. I am currently in receipt of funding for my PhD here at the University of Leeds through the Leeds Doctoral Scholarship programme. The project is supervised by Dr Adrian Gallagher and Professor Garrett Brown.

Research interests

My research is concerned with halting mass atrocities, with a specific focus on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. The R2P was near-unanimously adopted by the international community in 2005 at the UN World Summit. Through both prevention and response, the R2P aims to protect populations against four mass atrocity crimes of: genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Yet despite this, as has recently been highlighted by the World Bank’s report ‘Pathways for Peace’ (2018), mass violence has in-fact dramatically increased since R2P’s inception in 2005. This highlights that the R2P is failing, for it has not successfully led to the curbing of mass violence.

My PhD project seeks to address this problem by focusing on reforming the R2P through the perspective of Cosmopolitan Theory. This will involve an exploration of both reform of the R2P framework itself, in addition to wider reform measures at the international level. Such reforms will be aimed at furthering R2P’s practical implementation through a cosmopolitan lens, focused on the provision of duties, justice, and human protection.


  • BA War and Security Studies (First-Class)
  • MA International Relations (Distinction)