Dr Marianna Charountaki


 Research Fellow at Soran University


Lecturer in Kurdish Politics and International Relations

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

BA (Athens, Panteion University), MA (Sussex), PhD (Exeter, IAIS)



  • Ph.D. (2009) University of Exeter (IAIS), IR & Middle East Studies
  • MA (2005) University of Sussex, International Relations
  • BA (2004) Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences of Athens, International & European Studies


Research Interests

International Relations Theory, Foreign policy analysis, Comparative Politics, Non-State Actors, international relations of the Middle East, US foreign policy, Kurdish politics, Turkish-Iranian foreign policies, GCC- Kurdish relations.

Research and Teaching

I have been researching different aspects of IR in a regional context both through research analyzing historical and contemporary phenomena in the light of IR theory, but also through interviewing leading political figures to get an ‘on the ground’ viewpoint. My research lies at the intersection of International Relations (IR) theories, foreign policy analysis and area studies with an emphasis on the Middle Eastern region. Thus it is primarily inter-disciplinary combined with a theoretical as well as regional expertise. My conceptual framework centres on the inter-relations between actors (both state and non-state) and structures of material and ideational kinds in their interaction with domestic, regional and global levels, forms the empirical core of my study. Similarly, my post-doctoral fellowship (at the University of Reading, School of Politics, Economics and IR) examined the determinants that formulate foreign policy in the case of regional non-Arab states as well as their impact on the region.  In my work, I employ a wide variety of methodological tools ranging from hypothesis testing (via comparative case studies) to content analysis in tandem with semi-structured interviews. Therefore both my thesis’ theoretical frame as well as my post-doctoral research aimed to further strengthen a theoretical map I have tried to develop within the IR context. I have been also reviewing research proposals for funding bodies i.e. ESRC.

I have been also Research Director of the Kurdistan International Studies Unit (2016-2018) and previously appointed as a Sessional Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in International Relations, Department of Politics& IR at the University of Reading (2012-2016) and Consultant at the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Athens, (2011-2012).


I am member to professional bodies like BRISMES, PSA and EISA. I am also a member of the BISA Foreign Policy Working Group.


I have taught courses like PL2022 Foreign Policy Analysis; PL7076 US Foreign Policy (MA); PO1IRS: International Relations and Strategic Studies; PO2MIR: Modern International Relations and others. As a module convener I have employed teaching methods like simulation exercises. I am also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2017-2018).


PhD thesis, BA and Distance Learning MA dissertations



Iran and Turkey: International and Regional Engagement in the Middle East, I. B. Tauris, (March, 2018).

The Kurds and US foreign policy: International Relations in the Middle East since 1945, Routledge, (October 2010), translated in Kurdish (Sorani) by Aras Publishing House, (Erbil, 23 July) 2011 and in Arabic by Al Farabi (Lebanese Publishing House), 2012.

Book Chapters

The Kurdish factor in Turkish politics: impediment or facilitator to Turkey’s European prospects? Chapter 14, Part Five: Politics and International Relations in Perspectives on Kurdistan’s Economy and Society in Transition, Nova Science Publishers: New York, September 2012, pp.163-192. Translated in Kurdish (Sorani), Wata Journal, No 29, (April 2013).

Book Review

Blood and Belief by Aliza Marcus, Book Review, Political Studies Review Journal, University of Sheffield, (May 2008), Vol.6, Issue 2, pp.143-275.


From Resistance to Military Institutionalisation: The case of the Peshmerga versus Islamic State, Third World Quarterly, Vol.39, No 8, Taylor& Francis, August 2018, pp. 1583-1603. Translated in Kurdish (Sorani) by Kurdistan Conflict and Crisis Research Center (KCCRC) May 3015.

State and Non-State Interactions in IR: An alternative theoretical outlook, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Special Issue – The Kurdish Case in the Middle East and Beyond: An interdisciplinary approach), Vol45, No4, pp.528-542, October 2018.

The GCC in Kurdish politics, Journal of Arabian Studies: Arabia, the Gulf, and the Red Sea, Vol.6, Issue 2, pp.201-215, Taylor& Francis, December 2016.

Kurdish policies in Syria under the Arab Uprisings: A revisiting of IR in the New Middle Eastern Order, Third World Quarterly, Vol.36, Issue 2, pp. 337-356, Taylor& Francis, 27 March 2015.

US foreign policy in theory and practice: from Soviet-era containment to the era of the Arab Uprisings(s), Journal of American Foreign Policy Interests: the Journal of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, Vol.36, Issue 4, pp.255-267, Taylor& Francis, September 2014.

 Turkish foreign policy and the Kurdistan Regional Government, Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs, (published by the Turkish Ministry of FA) Volume XVII, No 4, pp. 185-208, Center for Strategic Research, Winter 2012.

Contact Details

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