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Photo of Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina

Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina

BA (Seville), MA (UCM), PhD (UCM)

Lecturer in International Relations

Amory A338

I am a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter, which I joined in 2015. My research deals with the international relations of the Global South, subalternity and southern agency, foreign policies of dependent and/or authoritarian states, conflicts (frozen conflicts, contested/unrecognised states) and constructivist IR theory (international socialisation, recognition), with a regional focus on North Africa, as well as EU foreign policy and Euro-Mediterranean relations.

I am a fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and a visiting professor at the College of Europe, Bruges campus. I have also coordinated the MA Politics and International Relations of the Middle East at Exeter from 2015 to 2018.

I was previously a lecturer in Middle East Politics at Exeter, a research fellow at the European Neighbourhood Policy Chair of the College of Europe, Natolin campus (Warsaw), a Schuman fellow at the Directorate-General for External Policies of the European Parliament (Brussels) and a PhD research fellow at the Complutense University of Madrid. I obtained my PhD in Political Science/International Relations with a thesis on Moroccan foreign policy which led me to conduct fieldwork and stay as a visiting research fellow at various centres in Morocco (Centre Jacques Berque, Institut Marocain des Relations Internationales-IMRI) and France (Institut de Recherche sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman-IREMAM).

The projects I have been working on lately deal with the international and transnational politics of recognition in civil wars (Libya, funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant for 2019-2020) and frozen conflicts (Western Sahara), the diplomatic practices of contested/unrecognised states, the political economy-foreign policy link in contexts of neoliberal subalternity and the migration-foreign policy nexus in migration transit countries in the European neighbourhood (Morocco vs. Jordan).

Read more on my and Twitter profiles.

2019-2020 Term 2 office hours: Mondays & Wednesdays 2-3pm
(please book your time slot on

Research group links

Research interests


Research supervision

I am happy to consider PhD supervision on any topic related to my research interests.

Research students

I am currently first or second supervisor to the following PhD students:

  • Robert Stewart - 'From Persecution to Participation and Power: The Organisational Survival of Tunisia's Ennahdha Party'
  • Meriem Naili - 'Human Rights Law and International Conflict Irresolution: Challenging the UN Peacekeeping Mechanisms through a Study of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara'
  • Inés Fernández del Moral - 'The Impact of Oil on Family Structure and Function in Bahrein'

I have supervised to completion the following PhD thesis:

  • Labiba Elias Shayebhilal - 'State-building under Occupation as a Path to Statehood: The Case of Palestine'

External impact and engagement

My research has led me to engage with practitioners and policymakers from the European External Action Service (training on the southern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy), the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (briefing seminars for ambassador designates to some North African countries), non-profit organisations such as Search for Common Ground and CITpax (Task Force on Western Sahara), as well as various think tanks.

I have written reports and policy papers on North African politics and international relations for EuroMeSCo (Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission), Fundación Alternativas, IEMed (European Institute of the Mediterranean), the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Gulf Research Center, the European Parliament (Directorate-General for External Policies, Policy Department), OPEMAM Election Watch and CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs).

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