Defence & Diplomacy

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the changing migration context and new development policies have led to the emergence of a migration-development nexus, where migration is seen as stimulating development through economic remittances. As mass migration and refugee movements have become a new symbol of loss of national identity, we can also observe the development of a new form of identity politics. Separatists movements have grown, with various regions eager to break away and acquire autonomy.

Throughout the first term, we will be focusing on Minorities and Breakaway Regions. Whilst borders have stabilised over the last century, there remain various regions striving for independence. Separatist movements range from small cantons to entire regions. Their reasons for wanting to break away are diverse, ranging from cultural and historical differences to economic justifications. For example, Catalonia’s drive for independence caught the public eye in October 2018 when an unofficial independence referendum sparked regional, national and international controversy and concern over the feasibility of independence of breakaway regions. Hong Kong and Kashmir serve as two recent examples of former independent provinces that have been under the aegis of central governments for the past few decades but are now willing to exercise their national sovereignty. While Hong Kong has had an autonomous government since 1997, its autonomy is limited and the mainland Chinese government highly present in its politics. The anti-extradition bill protests led to a major political crisis and displayed the island’s determination to redefine its relationship with mainland China.

Our policy centre will study the trend of breakaway regions and minority groups, and the ways in which these are redefining borders around the world.

In the second term, our policy center will focus on the utility of foreign development aid. Since the end of the Second World War, the United States has positioned itself as the leader of the free world and has hence strongly contributed to the economic development of third world countries. Despite aiming to reduce poverty in developing and poverty-stricken countries, development aid can also create a pattern of dependency between donors and recipient countries. Thus, we can question whether foreign development aid necessarily leads to long-lasting improvements. Moreover, we will study the deployment of foreign development aid as a political tool. This allows us to analyze whether long term foreign aid reduces the effectiveness of local government and subsequently loses its positive impact on the population.

We will study how developing countries have been affected by foreign aid and how this aid can be made more efficient.

If you are interested in our policy center and want to contribute through participation in policy papers or events, please do not hesitate to contact us at We look forward to hearing from you!

Camille Lalevée
Director, Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centre

Our Policy Centre:

Femi Ivan


Hi everyone! I am Year 3 student of BA International Relations. The most interesting topic that our PC would cover this year would be regarding the future of multilateral organisations in the face of changing power-dynamics and to analyse the impact of Covid- 19 on multilateral diplomacy.


Matthew Ader


I’m a third-year War Studies student. I’m most interested in understanding the pressures shaping the future operating environment for Anglo-American strategy.

Ryan Chan


I am a postgraduate student reading an MA in International Peace and Security. I am also a recent graduate from King’s College London, holding a BA in History and International Relations. My research interestes include Chinese security and identity in the information age, Russian foreign policy, and the concept of Global Britain.

Juliette Aikman


I’m a second year International Relations student in the Department of War Studies. My interests are centered around intelligence studies and the future of diplomacy. I cannot wait to get to work as this year’s Liaison officer for the Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centre.

Our Working Group:

Prashasti Saxena

I’m a third-year International Relations student at King’s. My key areas of research are the Middle East and South Asia with a focus on identity politics and its interplay with nationalism and foreign policy.

Nicola Hope

I am a master’s student in conflict resolution in divided societies in the King’s War Studies department. I am most interested in post-conflict reconstruction and in evaluating the efficiency of foreign aid and international involvement in conflict-ridden countries.

Conor Hilliard

I’m a third-year History and International Relations student here at King’s. My main interests are diplomatic history, Anglo-Irish relations and diplomatic and security studies.

Justine Fung

I’m a third year undergraduate studying Politics. I am mainly interested in exploring peacekeeping, immigration and defense and diplomacy within the digital age.

Tom Layhe

I’m a second year War Studies student with interests in: intelligence; international security particularly the East Asia region; and the doctrines of counterinsurgency, regarding both domestic terrorism and 21st century western interventions.