Professor Jennifer Welsh

Jennifer WelshCo-director

Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General for the Responsibility to Protect


Professor Welsh is currently occupying a five year professorship at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy).



Jennifer M. Welsh is Professor in International Relations at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Somerville College. She is a former Jean Monnet Fellow of the European University Institute in Florence, and was a Cadieux Research Fellow in the Policy Planning Staff of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. Jennifer has taught international relations at the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the Central European University (Prague). She is the author, co-author, and editor of several books and articles on international relations.

Her current research projects include the evolution of the notion of the ‘responsibility to protect’ in international society, the ethics of post-conflict reconstruction, the authority of the UN Security Council, and a critique of conditional notions of sovereignty. Jennifer was the Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Massey College (University of Toronto) in 2005, and is a recent recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship and a Trudeau Fellowship. In 2006, she joined the Board of Trustees of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, and in 2008 became a member of the Editorial Board of the BISA Series in International Relations at Cambridge University Press. Jennifer has served as a consultant to the Government of Canada on international policy, and acts as a frequent commentator in Canadian media on foreign policy and international relations. She has a BA from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Masters and Doctorate from the University of Oxford (where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar).

In July 2013 Jennifer was appointed Special Adviser for the Responsibility to Protect to the UN Secretary-General, at the Assistant Secretary-General level.


Research Interests: Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect; United Nations Security Council; International Relations Theory and Normative Theory; Canadian Foreign Policy

Media expertise: Frequent commentator in print, television and radio on foreign policy and international institutions, examples include:

  • BBC News 24 Interview on Libya and the UN Security Council, 17 March 2011
  • BBC World Service interview on recent unrest in Libya, 25 Febuary 2011
  • Jan. 2009 Help Wanted: Leader of the Free World, Literary Review of Canada

Consultancy and advisory work: Government of Canada, UK Government, and Aspen Institute

Teaching: M.Phil. in International Relations (Core Theory Paper, Classical Theories of IR, International Normative Theory) PPE (IR 214, IR 213)

Selected Publications


2008 Co-editor (with Vaughan Lowe, Adam Roberts, and Dominik Zaum), The United Nations Security Council and War: The Evolution of Thought and Practice since 1945 (Oxford University Press)

2007 Co-editor (with Ngaire Woods), Exporting Good Governance: Temptations and Challenges in Canada's Aid Program (Wilfred Laurier University Press)

2004 Editor, Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations (Oxford University Press)

2004 Author, At Home in the World: Canada’s Global Vision for the 21st Century (HarperCollins)
***Nominated for the Annual Canadian Political Science Association 2005 book of the year***

1999 Co-editor (with David Fidler), Empire and Community: Edmund Burke's Writings and Speeches on International Relations (Westview Press)

1998 Co author, Chips & Pop: Decoding the Nexus Generation (Malcolm Lester Books)

1995 Author, Edmund Burke and International Relations (Macmillan/St. Martin's Press)


'Civilian Protection in Libya: Putting Coercion and Controversy back into RtoP' (2011) in Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 255-262

'A Normative case for pluralism: Reassessing Vincent's views on humanitarian intervention' (2011), in International Affairs, Vol. 87, No. 5

'Who Should Act? Collective Responsibility and the Responsibility to Protect', (2011), forthcoming in The Routledge Handbook on the Responsibility to Protect, edited by Frazer Egerton and Andy Knight (New York: Routledge).

'Implementing the "Responsibility to Protect": Where Expectations Meet Reality' (2010) Ethics & International Affairs 24. 4 (Winter 2010): 415-430

'International Law and the Responsibility to Protect: Clarifying or Expanding States' Responsibilities?', (2010) Global Responsibility to Protect, Vol2, No.3, pp. 213-231(19) (with M. Banda)

'The Imperative to Rebuild: Assessing the Normative Case for Postconflict Reconstruction', (2009) Ethics & International Affairs, 23.2 (Summer 2009): 121-146 (with A. Gheciu)

'The Rwanda Effect: The Development and Endorsement of the “Responsibility to Protect”', in After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond, edited by Phil Clark and Zachary D. Kaufman (Columbia University Press, 2009)

‘The Security Council and Humanitarian Intervention’, in The United Nations Security Council and War, edited by V. Lowe et al (Oxford University Press, 2008)

'Edmund Burke's Theory of International Order: The Debate between Realism and Rationalism', in The Realist Tradition and Contemporary International Relations, edited by David Clinton (Louisiana State University Press, 2007)

'The Responsibility to Protect: Securing the Individual in International Society', in Security and Human Rights, edited by Benjamin Goold and Liora Lazarus (Hart, 2007)

Autumn, 2006 'The 2005 International Policy Statement: Leading with identity?', International Journal, Vol. 61, No. 4

'Reality and Canadian Foreign Policy', in Canada Among Nations: Split Images, edited by Andrew F. Cooper and Dane Rowlands (McGill-Queens University Press, 2005)

Autumn, 2004 'Canada in the 21st Century: Beyond Dominion and Middle Power', The Round Table: International Journal, Vol. 93, No. 376

'Authorising Humanitarian Intervention', in The United Nations and Global Security, edited by Richard Price and Mark Zacher (Palgrave, 2004)

'North American Citizenship: Possibilities and Limits', in The Art of the State: Thinking North America, edited by Thomas Courchene, Donald J. Savoie and Daniel Schwanen (Institute for Research on Public Policy, 2004)

'Taking Consequences Seriously: Objections to Humanitarian Intervention' in Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations, edited by Jennifer Welsh (Oxford University Press, 2004)

Spring, 2003 'I is for Ideology: Conservatism and International Affairs', Global Society, Vol. 17, No. 2

Autumn, 2002 Co-author, 'The Responsibility to Protect: Assessing the Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty', International Journal, Vol. 57, No. 4. Reprinted in International Commissions and the Power of Ideas, edited by Ramesh Thakur, Andrew F. Cooper, and John English (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2005)

Autumn, 2002 'From Right to Responsibility: Humanitarian Intervention and International Society', Global Governance, Vol. 8, No. 4

Spring, 2000 'Is a North American Generation Emerging?', Isuma, Vol. 1, No. 1

'Edmund Burke and the Commonwealth of Europe: The Cultural Bases of International Order', in Classical Theories of International Relations, edited by Ian Clark and Iver Neumann (Macmillan, 1996)

June, 1991 Co-author, "The role of the 'other' in European self definition: an addendum to the literature on International Society", Review of International Studies, Vol. 17