Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh

Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh is a researcher, university lecturer and consultant based in Paris and specializing on human security, peacebuilding and radicalization, with geographic specialization in Central Asia and Afghanistan.  She teaches at Sciences Po within the Paris School of International Affairs and runs a month long course on Human Security at the Summer School. Between 2006 and 2016 she led the Specialization  on Human Security at the Master’s of Public Affairs (MPA). Since  2010, she has been working as a consultant for the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia  (UNRCCA) and the UN Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) engaged in the preparation and then implementation of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia. Between 2010 and 2016, she was a Research Associate with the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) working on the ethics of liberal peacebuilding, on regional security complexes and on radicalization. Since 2014, she has been the Academic Advisor to the Afghan Institute of Strategic Studies (AISS) and has provided guidance for the research and publication of a series of papers on radicalization in Afghanistan (in universities, in madrassas, in social media and in the police force).

Prior to moving to Paris to teach at Sciences Po, she taught at Columbia University (New York) as an adjunct professor and has been a visiting professor or researcher at universities in Kabul, New Delhi, Pretoria, Moscow and Dushanbe. Between 1993-2003, she worked at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), working at the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), based in Tashkent  (Uzbekistan) and in Bratislava (Slovakia) covering 27 countries of the region.  She also worked at the Human Development Report Office at UNDP Headquarters in New York where she set up the National Human Development Report (NHDR) Unit in 2000 and ran a Community of Practice Network on Human Development. After leaving the UN in 2003, she contributed to the preparation of National Human Development Reports and was editor of reports in South Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Nepal  and has worked with teams preparing the reports for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Djibouti and Kazakhstan among others. She has helped prepare the Reports on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for Azerbaijan (2013), Uzbekistan (2014) and Tajikistan (2014).  She has been collaborating extensively with the Human Security Unit at the UN in New York, for which she prepared a training manual for operationalizing the human security concept and has contributed to the Reports of the UN Secretary General on Human Security which led to a General Assembly Resolution in 2012.

Tadjbakhsh has further collaborated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, which chairs the Heart of Asia/Istanbul process, for whom she prepared a white paper on radicalization in the Heart of Asia countries in 2014.  She further helped produce the Plan of Action for Implementing the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security for Afghanistan between 2013-2014.  In 2013, she prepared a background paper for the Office of the High Commissioner for National Minorities (HCNM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the potential inter and intra-state ethnic conflicts in Central Asia and in northern Afghanistan.  Other research collaboration has included with PRIO on the project on ‘Ethics of Liberal Peace’ and with  the Spanish think tank FRIDE (Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior) on a project on  the Implementation of Chapter VII Resolutions at the Security Council, with a case study on Afghanistan. Between 2007-2008, she and ran a one year joint research project between the Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and Kabul University researching on differences in perceptions on peacebuilding based on liberal values in Afghanistan and its alternatives.

Tadjbakhsh holds a Bachelor's Degree from Georgetown University  (1987) a Master’s Degree (1991) and a Doctoral Degree (1994) from Columbia University. She is Iranian-American and a resident of France.



·     Towards a Sufi Ethic of Everyday Security, paper prepared for the Afghan Institute of Strategic Studies

Books and publications

·     Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Afghanistan and its Region (with Kristian B. Harpviken), Hurst Publishers and Oxford University Press, July 2016

·     Iran and its Relationship with Afghanistan After the Nuclear Deal (with Mohammed Fazeli), Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo, July 2016.

·     Regional Responses to Radicalization in Afghanistan: Obstacles, Opportunities and an Agenda for Action, Peace Research Institute Oslo Paper, Oslo: PRIO, March 2016.

·     Radicalization in the Heart of Asia Countries, publication prepared for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Department of Regional Cooperation, Secretariat of the Istanbul Process, June 2015.

·    Strangers Across the Amu River: Community Perceptions Along the Tajik-Afghan Borders, Working Paper Number 4, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Open Society Institute, October 2015.

·    Human Security Twenty Years On, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center Paper, Oslo: Norway, 26 June 2014

·    The Persian Gulf and Afghanistan: Iran and Saudi Arabia’s Rivalry Projected, PRIO Paper, Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), March 2013.

·     Turf on the Roof of the World, Oslo: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center (NOREF),   October 2012.

·     Central Asia and Afghanistan: Insulation on the Silk Road, Between Eurasia and Heart of Asia, PRIO Paper, Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo, March 2012

·     Rethinking the Liberal Peace: External Models and Local Alternatives (Editor), Routledge Cass Series on Peacekeeping, 2011 

·     Post-War on Terror? Implications from a Regional Perspective”, NOREF Paper, Oslo: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center (NOREF), August 2011

·    South Asia and Afghanistan: The Robust India- Pakistan Rivalry',  PRIO Paper, Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), 2011

·    Towards a Human Security Approach to Peacebuilding, United Nations University Research Brief, No.2 (2010), (with Madoka Futamura and Edward Newman)

·    Human Security: Concepts and Implications (Co-authored with Anuradha Chenoy), London, Routledge, 2007 (with an Indian edition in 2007 and a paperback re-edition from Routledge in 2008)

·    “Peacemaking in Tajikistan and Afghanistan Compared: Lessons Learned and Unlearned.” Etudes du CERI No 143, Paris: CERI Sciences Po,  2008

·    Normative and Ethical Frameworks for Human Security in Eastern and Central Europe: A Status Report, with Odette Tomasco-Hatto, Paris: UNESCO, 2007.

·    « Human Security: Concepts, Implications and Application to the Post-Intervention Challenges in Afghanistan»  Etudes du CERI No 118, Paris : CERI/Sciences Po 2005

·    Editor in Chief, Security with a Human Face: Challenges and Responsibilities, National Human Development Report for Afghanistan, UNDP and Government of Afghanistan, 2005

·    Project Director, The Diary: Personal History of an Early Twentieth Century Bukharan Intellectual, Leiden Press. 2003.

·    Women’s Economic Survey of Tajikistan, , Dushanbe, Tajikistan:  UNHCR and Refugees International 1996

·    “Economic Regionalism”, Former Soviet South Project Series Briefing, London:  The Royal Institute of International Affairs, March 1996

·    Tajikistan: A Forgotten Civil War (with Nassim Jawad),  London: The Minority Rights Group, 1995

·    The Bloody Path of Change:  The Case of Post-Soviet Tajikistan,, New York:  Columbia University Harriman Institute Forum, 6, 11 ( July, 1993)

Chapters in books

·    “Internal and Regional Preconditions and Assumptions for Peace in Afghanistan”, in Joachim Krause and Charles King Mallory, IV (Editors), Adjusting Western Strategy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, London: Routledge, 2013.

·    “In Defense of the Broad Approach of Human Security”, chapter in Mary Martins and Taylor Owens (Eds), Handbook on Human Security, London: Routledge, 2013.

·    “International Relations Theory and the Islamic Worldview” in Amitav Acharya and Barry Buzan (Editors), Non-Western International Relations Theory: Perspectives on and Beyond Asia, London: Routledge 2010

·     “Afghanistan”, in Blanca Antonini & al, Security Council Resolutions Under Chapter VII, Madrid: FRIDE,  2009

·    « Human Security and the Legitimization of Peacebuilding », chapter in Oliver Richmond (Ed), Advances in  Peacebuilding, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

·     “Mahbub Ul Haq’s Human Security Vision: An Unfettered Dream?” Chapter in Khadija Haq and Richard Ponzio (Eds), Pioneering the Human Development Revolution: An Intellectual Biography of Mahbub ul Haq,   Oxford University Press, 2008

·    “Afghanistan: A Failed Narco-State or a Human Security Failure?”, Chapter in Hans Günter Brauch & al. (eds), Globalisation and Environmental Challenges, Volume 4, Springer-Verlag, 2008. 

·     “State Failure Through the Human Security Lens”, Chapter in Chataigner, Jean-Marc and Hervé Magro (eds), Etats et Sociétés Fragiles,  Karthala: Paris,  January 2007 (in French)

·    “Paix libérale et assistance en Asie Centrale” in Guillaume Devin Editor, Faire la Paix, Paris: Editions Pepper, Chaos International, 2005 (republished under Sciences Po University Press, 2009)

·    “A Human Security Agenda for Central Asia” in Farian Sabahi and Daniel Warner Editors, The OSCE and The Multiple Challenges of Transition - The Caucasus and Central Asia. Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2004.

·    “Between Socialism and Islam:  Women in Tajikistan”, in Women in the Wider Muslim World, New York:  Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1996

Articles in peer reviewed journals

·    “Human Security Beyond Responsibility to Protect”, Revista Española de Desarrollo y Cooperación, No. 26, Vol 2, 2010,  pp. 13-37 

·     “A Human Security Tale of Two Europes” (with J. Peter Burgess) Global Society, Vol. 24, No. 4, 2010, 135-151

·    “Conflicted Outcomes and Values: (Neo)Liberal Peace in Central Asia and Afghanistan”,  International Peacekeeping Special Issue Vol 16, No. 5, November 2009.

·     “Interdependency Trends in a Multi-Polar World”, International Issues & Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs, Journal of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Issue No. 2, 2009

·    “Economic Woes of Liberal Peace”, Conflict INFOCUS,  Journal of Regional Centre on Conflict Prevention, Jordan, Issue No.22, July 2008

·    “Playing with Fire?  The International Community’s Democratization Experiment in Afghanistan” (with Michael Schoistwohl), Journal of International Peacekeeping, Vol.15, No.2, April 2008, pp.252–267

·    “ Human Security In International Organizations: Blessing or Scourge?”, The Human Security Journal, Volume 4, Summer 2007

·    Installing Democracy in Afghanistan (with Michael Schoistwohl), Seminar Magazine, New Delhi, August 2007

·    “National Reconciliation in Tajikistan:  the Imperfect Whim:”, The Central Asian Survey,  No. 1, 1997

·    “Tajikistan:  From Freedom to War”, Current History,  April 1994.

·    “Women and War in Tajikistan”, The Central Asian Monitor, No. 1, January 1994.

·    “Tajik Spring of 1992:  A Comparison of Tajik Political Parties”, The Central Asian Monitor, No. 2, April 1993.

· "Causes and Consequences of the Civil War", Central Asian Monitor, No.1, February 1993.

Policy reports and papers

·     “Afghanistan after 2014: Bane or Boom in Relations with Central Asia?” Paper commissioned by the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy, October 2012

·    Series of Reports for the EU/UN CTITF Project on Implementing the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia, including the final Action Plan for Central Asia, adopted in Ashgabat, November 2011, Report on Dialogue with Religious Leaders for Countering Terrorism (November 2013), Report on Engaging the Media for Countering Terrorism (July 2014), Report on Border Security and Management for Countering Terrorism (March 2015)

·    Summary of Discussions and Recommendations, Seminar “Security and Stability in Central Asia; Interaction with International and Regional Organizations” , organized by the “United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy  for Central Asia (UNRCCA) Ashgabat, Turkmenistan , 21-22 April 2010

·    “Human Security: Looking Back Before Looking Forward”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Security in West Asia, Birjand University, Iran, 2009

·    Summary of Discussions and  Recommendations to the Italian Presidency of the G8,  Experts Meeting On Afghanistan  And Regional Stabilization  Under the auspices of the Italian G8 Presidency Organized by Ipalmo, ARGO  Carnegie Europe and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy,  May 28-29,   2009, Rome

·    “Liberal peace building and the challenges to enhance state legitimacy”, paper presented at the conference Peacebuilding in Afghanistan :Local, Regional & Global perspectives,  Swedish Committee for Afghanistan and  ENNA conference,  Stockholm 6-7 November 2008

·    “Human Security: The Seven Challenges of Operationalizing the Concept”, paper presented as part of the UNESCO discussion "Human Security: 60 Minutes to Convince", Paris, 13 September 2005.

·   Human Security and Human Development, HDR Insights February 2008 Issue, UNDP, February 2008

·   Rapporteur’s summary, “Transition and Human Security in Central Asia”, Workshop organized by the Commission on Human Security, Ashgabad, Turkmenistan, April 2002

UN and IO publications

·    “Enhancing the new Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the Eurasian Region”, The Gender Monitor, Issue No. 5, Vienna: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), 12 March 2014

·    Chapter Author, “Human Development and Social Exclusion: A Conceptual Approach”, Regional Human Development Report for Europe and the CIS on Social Exclusion, UNDP Bratislava, 2011.

·     “Human Security”, Human Development  Insights,  Issue Number 17, UNDP HDR Networks February 2008

·    “Coping Mechanisms and Household’s Responses” Chapter  in  Black Sea And Central Asian Economic Outlook 2008:  Promoting Work and Well-being, Paris: OECD Development Center, July 2008

·    “Regional Cooperation on Drugs, Terrorism and Natural Disasters in Central Asia”, Chapter in Report Regional Cooperation for Human Security in Central Asia,  Brookings Institute/UNDP, October 2005

·    “ A Worsening Record on Gender Equality” (With Dasa Silovic, Anna Raduchowska Brochwitz and Juliette Hage) in  Transition 99: Human Development Report for Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS, Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, UNDP, 1999

·    “Impact of Restructuring on Women in Central Asia: A Regional Perspective” in Central Asia 2010, Publication of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, UNDP, 1998


·    “The road to hell is paved with rapid reactions”, Open Democracy, 13 January 2015

·     “After 9/11: A wasteland of buried reason”, Open Democracy, 10 September 2011

·    “Liberal Peace is dead? Not so fast” Open Democracy,  27 November 2009

·    “Afghanistan: peacekeeping without peace” (with Pierre Schori),  Open Democracy, October 30th, 2009

·    “Afghanistan: How to Exit the Quagmire”, Alternatives Internationales-Ceri Hors Serie Les Enjeux 2009, (November 2008) (in French)

·    “Towards Genuine Afghanization”,Informed Commentary Blog, June 2008

·    “La Diplomatie, une bombe humaine (on whether France should adopt human security as its foreign policy), Alternatives Internationales-Ceri Hors Serie Les Enjeux 2007, (November 2006) (in French)

·    « Pour les Afghans, la pauvreté est une menace plus redoutable que le terrorisme », OpEd piece co-authored with  Daud Saba and Omar Zakhilwal, Le Monde, Paris (February 17, 2005)

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