Driving change in the humanitarian sector

Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub has a reputation for ground-breaking research and projects that can be applied in the humanitarian sphere, drawing upon the broad expertise and professional excellence found within the membership.

The Hub, through our projects and collaborations, influence the agenda and bring leading research and expertise to the forefront of action. Exploring ideas and transforming them into practice is what we do best.

Research and publications

  • Submissions from global experts
  • Cross-discipline solutions to complex problems
  • Thought leadership that produces real impact


Members' current research

Accountability Deficits of Major Western Powers

Dr. Carla Ferstman leads a pilot project on UK military accountability for international crimes in Iraq.

This project is a collaboration between University of Essex School of Law and the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University, assessing efforts for accountability for abuses by the UK military in Iraq by the UK and ICC.

The project has produced a report to key stakeholders in the UK and ICC, and other outputs include the aim to encourage and foster multi-country research into alleged crimes by Western powers' military forces.

Armed Conflict in Africa

Dr Gus Waschefort has recently shifted focus to researching law and armed conflict in Africa on a macro level. That is to say, researching law and armed conflict in Africa as a topic in and of itself.

His article ‘Africa and International Humanitarian Law: The more things change, the more they stay the same’ International Review of the Red Cross (2016) provides a blueprint for his research agenda in the coming years.

Prior to his academic career, Gus had first-hand experience working in armed conflict settings in his time as a photojournalist. Some of his images from Democratic Republic of Congo are displayed on this site.

Investigating in Situations of Armed Conflict, Law, Policy and Good Practice

How do you assess whether or not an investigation is needed in response to a situation, or allegation, in armed conflict? How do you conduct an investigation in that context?

This practical project by Professor Noam Lubell and Claire Simmons seeks to elucidate the scope and practical application of investigations in armed conflict, and provide guidance to States on the law, policy and good practice to carry these out.

Using a combination of expert meetings and research, the project aims to provide guidelines on how to do such investigations in practice and to obtain State endorsement of such as a point of reference.

This project is in partnership with the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Media, Conflict and Democratization in the Arab Region Post Uprisings

Dr. Fatima El-Issawi, a Senior Lecturer within the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies and a member of the Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub, conducts research which explores the role of the media and journalists within conflict and democratization in the Arab region. In a major new project funded by the British Academy, Fatima leads an international team to investigate the complex role of the media in conflicts, reviewing journalistic practices in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco following the Arab Spring.

The project, funded by the British Academy’s Sustainable Development Programme 2018, will:

  • collaborate with journalists and civil society to debate journalistic practices and implications on societal divisions and polarisations
  • take findings to the next generation of journalists with workshops and seminars at newsrooms, colleges and universities
  • build a network of knowledge transfer and contribute to policy making by working with partners such as the Africa Centre at London School of Economics
  • publish two academic books and a number of journal articles to share findings

Solutions to Forced Displacement

Practical guidance on the role of the rule of law in securing a better future for refugees led by Professor Geoff Gilbert.

Social Work in Extremis

Professor Vasilios Ioakimidis' work focuses on social services/work in the context of armed and political conflict and explores such practice in the context of unpredictable and extraordinary political, social, economic and environmental change. Vasilios focused primarily on Cyprus, Greece and Colombia and more recently, his work explores the broad issue of accountability of professionals (primarily in the 'helping professions') who work in armed conflict.

"Essex has a reputation for grounded practical application of its research in the humanitarian field. It is for this reason Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub and our members engage in wide-ranging and impactful partnerships - we’re proud of the benefits such collaboration brings to our collective work. Essex, with our partners, influence the agenda and bring to life real solutions to problems affecting the humanitarian sector"
Professor Noam Lubell Director, Essex ARmed Conflict and Crisis hub

Consultancy and collaboration

  • World-leading expertise
  • Access to a wider network of subject-matter experts
  • Members with influential appointments across international organisations and the public sector

Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub members are sought out to provide practical assistance for today's world across a range of disciplines.

Whether providing technical advice to Special Rapporteurs, consulting at the UN in various capacities, creating practical guidance for the media, or advising civil society and NGOs, our members have a breadth of experience in providing consultancy and technical advice to bring their academic research to the forefront of current practice.

Examples include Professor Noam Lubell, who provided consultancy on law of armed conflict for BBC Board of Governors to aid accuracy in reporting, Professor Renos Papadopolous who consults for the UN in psychology, or Professor Vasilios Ioakimidis who is the co-commissioner for education in the International Federation of Social Workers.

Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub Members in discussion
Latest news

Our members are actively engaged in issues related to humanitarian law, policy and are at the cutting edge of research and critical thought. Check out our latest news to find out more or follow us on Twitter to join the conversation.

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Training and mentoring

  • Successful programmes to a range of audiences
  • Complex subject-matter issues, delivered using easy-to-understand methods
  • Recipients include in-country service providers and external actors – from the UN, public sector, NGOs and more

Our members provide training to a range of actors, from military lawyers, prosecutors, law enforcement and independent oversight mechanisms, diplomats, the media, NGOs and advocacy bodies to name a few.

We cover a range of topics across humanitarian, armed conflict and democratization, refugees and displacement, social care, human rights, and much more. What participants value most is our ability to translate academic expertise into practical action.

Our people are sought out to provide expertise as trainers and lecturers for recognised professional courses designed to bring insight to life. Examples include Dr. Daragh Murray, who teaches on the Peace Support Operations course and the Journalists, Law and Rights in War course by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo, and the British Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Summer School.

We also provide support to individuals in the field, including mentoring programmes for human rights advocates and practitioners. Furthermore, Essex is proud to participate in the annual 'Simulex' event with Colchester Garrison, providing an opportunity for students and academics to apply law and policy theory with military practitioners through a simulated crisis event.

Military personnel discussion in lecture room
Practical application of action in crisis through simulation events with the military
Group shot of Essex students with military personnel
Essex students participate in the Simulex event with Colchester Garrison
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Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub