Richard Illingworth

Richard Illingworth


I am a PhD researcher at the University of Leeds (UK). 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 through the University of 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) norm. 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 suggests that R2P is failing, for it has not successfully led to the curbing of mass atrocity violence.

My PhD project seeks to redress this problem by exploring reforms for R2P through the perspective of Transitional Cosmopolitan theory. The project involves an exploration of both reform of the R2P framework itself, in addition to wider structural reforms at the international level. Such reforms are aimed at furthering R2P’s practical implementation through a cosmopolitan approach, focused on the provision of duties, justice, and human protection.



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