Professor Cristina G. Stefan

Professor Cristina G. Stefan


I joined POLIS in 2014, having taught international relations, transitional justice and peace and conflict studies in Canada, at Western University and at the University of Toronto. I hold an M.A. (2002) and a Ph.D. (2007) in International Relations from The University of Western Ontario (Western University) in Canada. I then undertook post-doctoral appointments at the University of Toronto, in Canada, and The City University of New York, in the USA. I was a Visiting Fellow at The Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, The City University of New York, and a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. I returned to academe after a three-year interlude as a consultant for a public opinion research firm in Toronto. Since my return in 2014, I have also worked with key external impact partners, such as the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, on areas related to my research interests. 

I am a Founding Director, and currently Co-Director, of the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (ECR2P). Apart from contributing towards the launch of ECR2P in December 2016, I also launched a global network of women academics, researchers, experienced diplomats, United Nations and European Union officials, seasoned policy-makers and practitioners, civil society and charity directors, working in the fields of international peace, security and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) across the globe. This global network of experts is entitled Women Network on the Responsibility to Protect, Peace and Security. 

I have acted as Convenor of the British International Studies Association (BISA) Working Group on Human Rights, Humanitarianism and the Responsibility to Protect in the past, as well as Senior Analyst with the Global Governance Institute in Brussels. 

I have been the recipient of research awards both in Canada and USA, and in the UK, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the British Academy. Two of my most recent research grants include a Danish Research Council (Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond, DFF) funded project on "Protection Complexity: How the UN, EU and AU practice civilian protection" and an UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Research England funded project on “Gendering the UN’s and UK’s protection and atrocity prevention agendas”. 

I received the Women of Achievement Award from the University of Leeds in 2018, an award which recognizes the significant contribution and impact that women of outstanding achievement have made across the University and beyond. In 2021, I also received the University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor’s “World Changer” recognition, which celebrated impactful research across all University disciplines.


  • Co-Director of The European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (ECR2P)

Research interests

My research interests span the fields of International Relations Theory (with a focus on Constructivism and Norm Studies), International Security, Peace and Conflict Studies, Human Protection, and Women, Peace and Security (WPS). More specifically, my research has focused on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), global institutional responsibility, the United Nations, humanitarian intervention, atrocity prevention, international criminal justice, and norm diffusion. All these topics were captured in my first monograph, entitled Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect: Security and Human Rights (first published in 2010). 

I have also been interested in examining the peace versus justice trade-off, the responsibility to prosecute and the ICC, civilian protection, and the evolution and consequences of international norms and institutions. At the empirical level, I have researched and published on the crises in Darfur, South Ossetia, Libya, Syria, and Guinea. While I published solo-authored journal articles and book chapters, I have also had the pleasure of co-authoring with friends and colleagues, including Thomas G. Weiss, Linnea Gelot, Kirsten J. Fisher, and Kai M. Kenkel (some of my publications were published under my previous surname, Badescu).  

Other research interests pertain to non-Western powers, and especially their role at the global level in challenging and shaping international norms, with a particular focus on the BRICS. "On Non-Western Norm Shapers: Brazil and the Responsibility while Protecting" is my most recent publication on this research topic. 

Four recent research projects that I completed include:

My current research projects focus on the overlaps between the WPS and R2P agendas, gendering the global atrocity prevention and protection agendas, competing approaches to human protection, and women leadership and agency in changing global norms. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • 2007: Ph.D. in International Relations (Western University, Canada)
  • 2002: M.A. in International Relations (Western University, Canada)
  • 2001: BSc Hons International Business and Economics (Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest Romania)

Professional memberships

  • International Studies Association (ISA)
  • European International Studies Association (EISA)
  • British International Studies Association (BISA)
  • Academic friends of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO)
  • The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS)

Student education

I teach on the following modules at the University of Leeds:

  • International Politics (Level 1)
  • Responsibility to Protect (MA Level)

My teaching is informed by my own research on international politics, human protection, Women Peace and Security (WPS), Responsibility to Protect (R2P), United Nations, global governance, and IR theory.

Research groups and institutes

  • European Centre for Responsibility to Protect

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>