Dr Marianna Charountaki

Lecturer in Kurdish Politics and International Relations, Director of Kurdistan International Studies Unit, Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy



Dr Marianna CharountakiBA (Athens, Panteion University), MA (Sussex), PhD (Exeter, IAIS)

Contact Details

  • Office: Attenborough Tower Room 1003
  • Feedback and Support times 2018-19: Thursdays 11-12pm, Fridays 1-2pm (or by appointment)
  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 6411
  • Email: mc585@leicester.ac.uk


  • Ph.D. (2009) University of Exeter (IAIS), 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; international relations of the Middle East; foreign policy analysis; comparative politics; Kurdish politics; US and Iraqi foreign policies, Turkish- Iranian relations.

Research and Teaching

I have been researching the political situation of the Middle East in an IR context both through academic research analyzing historical and contemporary events in the light of IR theory, but also through interviewing leading Middle East 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. I have taught modules such as Modern International Relations and International Relations and Strategic Studies whereas my conceptual framework that 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 politics, 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 of regional non-Arab states’ foreign policies as well as their impact on the region by using 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 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).


  • PL2022 Foreign Policy Analysis
  • PL7076 US Foreign Policy


PhD thesis and Distance Learning MA dissertations



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

The Kurds and US foreign policy: International Relations in the Middle East since 1945 (Routledge, 2010), translated in Kurdish (Sorani) by Aras Publishers (Erbil, 2011); and in Arabic by Al Farabi (Lebanon, 2013).

Book Chapters

‘The Kurdish factor in Turkish politics: impediment or facilitator to Turkey’s European prospects?’ 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. Republished in Kurdish (Sorani), Wata magazine, No 29, Issue (April 2013).


From resistance to military institutionalisation: the case of the peshmerga versus the Islamic State, Third World Quarterly, Vol 39(issue8) 2018.

‘State and non-state interactions in International Relations: an alternative theoretical outlook’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol45, No4, (20 September 2018), pp.1-15.

'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, (Routledge, 2014), pp.255-267.

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

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

I have also published articles in newspapers and other media outlets (local& international):

Interview Ankara- Washington Relations: Turkey is part of the picture, Sputnik, 16.02.2018

Article, The Aftermath of the Kurdish Referendum and Its Historic Connotations, 25.12.2017

‘The unresolved internal struggle beyond the Turkish coup’, E-International Relations, 09.08.2016, translated into Kurdish (Sorani) Bas Newspaper, Issue 297, 09.08.2016, p.8.

‘US foreign policy vis-à-vis the Kurdish Independence Referendum’, KPRC (Kurdish Policy Research Center), 10.07.2016, translated into Kurdish (Sorani) Bas Newspaper, Issue 294, 19.07.2016, p.22.

‘The Syrian Crisis: Aleppo and the Kurds in international geopolitics’, The Washington Review of Middle Eastern and Eurasian Affairs, 4.04.2016; Interview, Iranian Tasnim News Agency.

‘Greek elections and Iran’, Interview with Mehdi Del Roshan, No 5, 05.10.2015; ‘A European Union without Greece would be a much diminished force’, The London School of Economics’ EUROPP- European Politics and Policy blog, 30.07.2015;

Interview Sharq (East), Iranian newspaper, باید انگیزه نیروی کار را تقویت کند « سیپراس », (An Overview of the Greek Crisis:  a one way alternative), Interview with Mehdi Del Roshan, Issue 2354, 26.07.2015, p.5.

Middle Eastern Politics through the prism of IS: A brief assessment’, The London School of Economics’ Middle East Centre Blog, 11.02.2015.; ‘Kurdistan: Why International Support is Crucial’, Bianet (Turkish electronic newspaper),28.12.2014.

‘Why Turkey continues to hold back from full involvement in the conflict in Kobane’, The London School of Economics’ EUROPP- European Politics and Policy blog, 22.10.2014, translated into Bosnian, Preporod newspaper, No.21/ 1031, p.24.

‘The conflict in Iraq has highlighted the benefits for Turkey in accepting a stable Kurdistan’, The London School of Economics’ EUROPP- European Politics and Policy blog, 19.08.2014; TV Interview ‘Iraq, Refugees and Oil’, BBC Newsnight, 12.08.2014.

‘Turkish- KRG relations in a changing Middle East’, World Bulletin, 4.06.2014; ‘The increasing importance of Iran’, Your Middle East, online newspaper, 12.12.2013.

‘A battle that should not be lost’, Today’s Zaman, 4.11.2013; ‘Syria: a considerable factor in a regional crisis’, Today’s Zaman, Turkish newspaper 09.09.2013.

‘Peace talks: the die has been cast’, Today’s Zaman, Turkish newspaper, 11.06.2013.

‘Road to autonomy and the Kurdish factor: Help or hurdle for Turkey’s EU bid?’ published in English, Sunday’s Zaman, Turkish newspaper, 31.03.2013, p. 14.

‘Conceptualizing US foreign policy towards the Kurds’, published in English, Today’s Zaman, Turkish newspaper, 29.05.2012, p. 14 and republished in Arabic, Asharq Alawsat newspaper.

‘Understanding the Kurdish Issue’, online journal, The Journal of Turkish Weekly, 23.03.2012.

‘The US policy of ‘containment’: Iraq versus Iran’, Today’s Zaman, Turkish newspaper, 24.01.2012, p. 14.

Interview Yeni Özgür Politika newspaper (Kurdish/Turkish newspaper published in Germany), interview in Turkish ‘Kürt-ABD ilişkilerine bakış’ (View of the Kurdish-US relations) with Suna Alân, 16.12.2011, p.2; e-journal: Open Democracy, ‘The role of the Kurds in the Middle East democratization process, 15.06. 2011, republished in Kurdish (Sorani), by Rudaw newspaper, Issue 164, (30.05.2011), p.18.

Interview Telgraf newspaper (published in London), Issue 262, interview in Turkish with Hasan, Uşak, 26.04.2011, p.23, republished inn English Rudaw newspaper.

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