Professor Karen E. Smith


I am a Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Director of the European Foreign Policy Unit (within the International Relations Department).  I teach courses on the EU in the World, EU Enlargement, European institutions, and genocide. I also supervise PhD students in those areas.

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.

You can find out more about my key publications here.

In 2016-2019, I’m involved in an EU-funded teaching and research network on EU-UN relations. We’ve recently 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.

I’m also co-chair of the International Relations Department’s research cluster on international institutions, law and ethics.

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)