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’ISGA is an innovative hub for tackling global security challenges’

Joachim Koops has been appointed as scientific director of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) of Leiden University in The Hague. ‘ISGA is in the position to connect research to policy in the field of security and global affairs, a remarkable combination for this young and creative institute. What challenges does Koops see for ISGA?

ISGA was established three years ago by merging research groups dealing with a range of security and global affairs issues. ‘ISGA is a young and dynamic Institute in more than one way,’ says Koops. ‘What I mean is that our staff and institute is young and that ISGA’s research and teaching approach is very contemporary and innovative as well. The challenge in the coming years will be to maintain this dynamism, whilst also to consolidate and to build lasting structures.’ Koops adds that it is an honour to build upon the excellent vision of the founding director Edwin Bakker and the interim directors Bibi van den Berg and Antoaneta Dimitrova.

Security challenges

Parallel to the appointment of scientific director, Joachim Koops holds the first Chair of Security Studies. His research will focus on the changing nature of security and on how global security governance can be strengthened through international organisations like NATO, the UN and the EU. Koops believes that ISGA has immense potential and value: ’ISGA is in the unique position to become the leading institute to address pressing global security challenges such as terrorism, cyber threats, the role of technology, intelligence and crisis management. I believe the future of diplomacy and global problem-solving  lies at the intersection of policy and theoretical research. For this reason, we hope to translate this into teaching, research and policy-advice at national, European and international levels.’

Future for ISGA

In the coming years, Koops has a double sided approach. ‘On the one hand we need to pause and create stability and consolidate our activities in the realm of research and education. And on the other hand,’ continues Koops, ‘I want to help our team to maintain the energy and dynamism for new ideas, using the excellent connections the team has built in the Hague, Brussels and international policy hubs.’

International background

‘The international atmosphere at ISGA with its strong links to Dutch policy-making is perfect for me,’ stresses Koops. As a ‘German European’, he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)and Law at the University of Oxford in the UK, Political, Law and Economics at the University of Turku in Finland, and did his PhD in Political Science, Sociology and Macroeconomics at the University of Kiel in Germany. At Vesalius College, he started out as an Assistant Professor of International Affairs, before being appointed as Head of Department and eventually as Dean of the entire College. ‘I carried out a major overhaul by turning a liberal arts College into an interdisciplinary Global Affairs school. Vesalius had an outstanding team of young scholars, it was a great experience and something that I believe prepared me well for the coming years at ISGA”.

Diverse and dynamic policy-hub at the sea side

The Hague is extraordinary in many ways: It is an internationally minded city, dynamic but also  ‘established’ because of the governmental institutions, and blessed with a world-renowned university at a wonderful sea side. ‘What else can you wish for?’ asks Koops cheerfully. ‘Leiden University has made a great choice to come to The Hague. I look forward to get to know the city, colleagues and the university.’


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