BRITISH IRANIAN BUSINESS
& PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY
The Main Speaker: Dr Claire Spencer
...is head of the Middle East program at Chatham House (the Royal Institute for International Affairs). Appointed in November 2005. She is responsible for the oversight of all research, funding and publications relating to the Middle East.
Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Spencer was the Head of the Asia and Middle East Policy Unit at the development agency Christian Aid, and an Associate Fellow of Chatham House since 2001. She has worked on North African and Mediterranean issues since the early 1980s, with particular emphasis on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership initiative since its inception in 1995. She has specialized primarily on the security dimensions of the EU's relations with North Africa and the Middle East in addition to NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, and has written and lectured extensively on these subjects, most notably as Deputy Director of the Centre for Defense Studies, King's College London from 1995 to 2001. She subsequently worked as Senior Research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and has also served as Specialist Advisor to the House of Lord's EU sub-committee enquiry into the EU's Common Mediterranean Strategy, published in 2001. She has a BSc. in politics from the University of Bristol and a Ph.D in political science from the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London.
In recent years, Dr. Spencer has expanded her regional expertise to include the impacts of conflict and military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, with professional visits in 2004 to Kabul and Herat, Israel-Palestine, Central Asia, Turkey and Jordan. While at the IISS in 2003, she was involved in meetings with Iranian policymakers and spoke at seminars in Tehran and Mashad as part of a Chatham House delegation to Iran. Dr. Spencer is
particularly interested in the human aspects of security and in integrated solutions to conflict which link local involvement to national and international initiatives.
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