Professor Karen E. Smith


I am a Professor of International Relations in the International Relations Department, at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

My main area of research is the ‘international relations of the European Union’, and I have written extensively on the formulation and implementation of common EU foreign policies. I have examined the EU’s pursuit of ‘ethical’ foreign policy goals such as promoting human rights and democracy, and policy-making within European states regarding genocide. For over a decade I have also analysed EU-UN relations, and more recently I have extended my research to consider the role of other political and regional groups in UN diplomacy. I am also currently investigating the role of women in foreign policy-making, and am leading the Women in Diplomacy project at LSE IDEAS. At the LSE, I am a member of the European Foreign Policy Unit, which brings together staff in the International Relations Department working on issues related to European foreign policy.

You can find out more about my key publications here.

From 2022, I am co-editor of a new Palgrave Macmillan book series on Global Foreign Policy Studies, which will publish cutting-edge scholarship on foreign policy with a global focus.

In 2016-2019, I was involved in an EU-funded teaching and research network on EU-UN relations. We produced a series of videos and learning materials on EU-UN relations in a number of areas, which are free and available to all. In November 2018, I ran a simulation on EU negotiations on human rights diplomacy at the UN, and a short video is available about the simulation.

My work on EU human rights policy and EU mass atrocity prevention was the subject of an ‘Impact Case Study’ for the UK’s 2014 Research Excellence Framework. You can learn more about the Impact Case Study here.

In 2012-13, I served as Co-Chair of the Task Force on EU Prevention of Mass Atrocities, an initiative of the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. For information on the Task Force, click here, and for information on the Centre, click here. The Task Force’s report, ‘The EU and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities: An Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses’ was published on 4 March 2013; click here for a copy.

Contact information

tel: 44 (0) 207 955 6332
email: k.e.smith(at)