People 2020-09-01T13:10:35+00:00

Our People

Ali Ansari

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Ali Ansari is Director of the Westphalia for the Middle East project at Cambridge University, and the Professor in Modern History with reference to the Middle East at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he is also the founding director of the Institute for Iranian Studies. He is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House and sits on the Governing Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies (BIPS). Professor Ansari is a regular contributor to the international media on political developments in the Middle East, and has widely published on the history of Iran.

Patrick Milton

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Patrick Milton is a postdoctoral research fellow at Peterhouse as part of the Westphalia for the Middle East project. His research interests include the history of intervention for the protection of foreign subjects in early modern central Europe, the political and constitutional history of the Holy Roman Empire, early modern international relations, and the long-term impact of the Peace of Westphalia with a particular emphasis on its mutual guarantee. At the Forum on Geopolitics, he is a Research Affiliate of the ‘A Westphalia for the Middle East’ Laboratory for World Construction, which seeks to draw lessons from the treaties of Westphalia (1648) for a new peace settlement for the Middle East. He was previously a visiting fellow at the Leibniz-Institute of European History, Mainz. He holds a PhD and a BA in History from the University of Cambridge, and an MA in International Relations from the University of Warwick. His work has been awarded the 2013 German History Society/Royal Historical Society Postgraduate Essay Prize.

Contact email: plm29@cam.ac.uk

Thomas Peak

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Thomas Peak is the Research and Outreach Officer at the Engelsberg Programme for Applied History for the Forum on Geopolitics. His research interests intersect international relations theory and international history, with a particular focus on sovereignty and international politics in Early Modern Europe, ethics and historical development of humanitarian intervention, international relations theory, R2P, conflict in the contemporary Middle East, and topics in seventeenth century global history and the Thirty Years War.

Contact email: tp354@cam.ac.uk

Michael Axworthy

(26 September 1962 – 16 March 2019)

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Michael Axworthy (26 September 1962 – 16 March 2019) was the founding director of the ‘A Westphalia for the Middle East’ project at the Forum on Geopolitics. Michael was a historian of Iran, and made an important contribution to his field, through a number of books and articles. He was also a frequent contributor to print and broadcast media. His books include The Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant; Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran; Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic; Iran: what everyone needs to know; and as editor, Crisis, collapse, militarism and civil war: the history and historiography of 18th century Iran. After years at the FCO, including two years as head of the Iran section, he switched to an academic career, teaching Middle East history at Exeter, where he became Director of the Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies. In 2017 he was a Visiting Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and in the following year became a Senior Research Associate at that college. From late 2015 onwards he launched the Westphalia for the Middle East project at the Forum on Geopolitics, together with Prof. Brendan Simms and Dr Patrick Milton, and remained a crucial intellectual and practical driving force behind that undertaking, co-writing the project’s chief output, the book Towards a Westphalia for the Middle East at the end of 2018.