Dr Caroline Varin

Senior Lecturer in International Relations

Professional Biography

Caroline Varin is lecturer in International Organisations and Security at Regent's University London and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). She is also a co-founder of the non-profit Professors Without Borders. Caroline is a member of the Geneva Consultation for Security Policy and has previous experience working in Intelligence Analysis, the Swiss armed forces and the UNHCR. Her academic interests lie in African security and the networks and strategies of violent non-state actors. She has published three books and numerous articles and presented her research on Boko Haram and Nigerian security to the UK government. Prior to joining Regent's University, Caroline taught at the London School of Economics where she was an Associate and conference coordinator at the Global South Unit. 


  • PhD International Relations (London School of Economics), London, UK. 2012
  • LLM in International and European Law (Università di Bologna), Bologna, Italy 2008
  • MSc in Comparative Politics (London School of Economics), London, UK. 2007
  • BA in Political Science (University of Pennsylvania), Philadelphia, USA 2006

Relevant Past Employment

  • 2016- Member of the Geneva Consultation for Security Policy, Switzerland
  • 2015-2018 Associate Fellow, Global South Unit, London School of Economics, UK
  • 2013-2014 Visiting Lecturer in International Relations, Regent’s University London, UK
  • 2013-2014 Adjunct Professor in International Relations, Richmond American University, London, UK
  • 2013 Intelligence Analyst for Sub-Saharan Africa, Risk Advisory Group, UK
  • 2010-2012 Graduate Teaching Assistant, London School of Economics, UK
  • 2011 Visiting Fellow, South African Institute of International Affairs, South Africa
  • 2009-2010 Swiss Military Service (Sanitätssoldat), Switzerland



  • Varin, C (2020) Security in Nigeria. I.B Tauris Bloomsbury 
  • Varin, C (2017) Violent Non-State Actors in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan
  • Varin, C (2016) Boko Haram and the War on Terror. Praeger 
  • Varin, C (2015) Mercenaries, Hybrid Armies and National Security: Private Soldiers and the State in the 21st Century. (LSE International Studies Series), London: Routledge

Book Chapters

  • Varin, C (2020) “A Convergence of Territory: Warlords, Rebels and Terrorists in the Modern African State” in Sandhurst Trends on Violent Non-State Actors. Howgate Military Publishers
  • Varin, C (2020) “The Rise and Fall of Boko Haram”. In Smith. Exporting Jihad. Palgrave Macmillan
  • Varin, C (2020) “Violent Non-State Actors: the Challenges of Counter-Terrorism and Counter-insurgency in Africa” in Tar. Routledge Handbook of Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency in Africa. Routledge 
  • Varin, C (2019) “Drone Pilots in Contemporary Warfare” in Alexandre Vautravers (Eds). Security Forum, From Drones to Killer Robots
  • Varin, C (2018) “Violence and the Securitization of Inequality”. In Gruszcsak. Protocols of Modern War. Palgrave Macmillan
  • Varin, C (2018)  “Violent Non-State Actors: the Challenges of Counter-Terrorism and Counter-insurgency in Africa” in Tar. Routledge Handbook of Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency in Africa. Routledge
  • Varin, C (2018) “The Rise and Fall of Boko Haram”. In Smith. Exporting Jihad. Palgrave Macmillan forthcoming
  • Varin, C (2018)   “The Perfect Storm”. In Steiner and Onnerfors. Exercises in radicalization Palgrave Macmillan
  • Varin, C (2015) “The Inhumanity of War” in Alexandre Vautravers (Eds). Security Forum, 2014: The Great War
  • Varin, C (2012)  “Mercenaries: motivations and functions of a non-state combatant” in Fidel Gómez Ochoa and Daniel Macías Fernández (Eds), El combatiente a lo largo de la historia; Imaginario, preceptción, representación; Universidad de Cantabria. Chapter 14.

Select Articles

  • Varin, C. (2020) Exploring the Terrorist-Climate Change Nexus: A Case-Study of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Region. African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review.
  • Varin, C. (2018). Turning the Tides of War: Private Security Companies and the war on Boko Haram. African Security Review
  • Varin, C. (2017). Flying Without Risk: The Norms on Warriors and their Application to
  • Varin, C. and Ireland, J. (2015). PMSCs and the Changing Regulatory Environment in
  • Varin, C (2015). Why Nigeria is turning to South African mercenaries to help fight
  • Varin, C. (2011) The Role of Values in Counter-Insurgency and Stabilisation: Mil-Mil, Civ-Mil and ‘Civ-Civ’ Dialogue from the Balkans to South Asia. Chatham House
  • Varin, C. (2011) The Disappearing State. Atlantic Community
  • Varin, C. (2009) Humiliation, National Identity and Foreign Policy. Toudi, une publication du Centre d'études wallonnes et de République
  • Varin, C. (2009) Qing Dynastry. Toudi, une publication du Centre d'études wallonnes et de République
  • Varin, C. (2006) Education in a federal system: A case-study of Belgium. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania

Book Reviews:      

  • Boko Haram. The History of an African Jihadist Movement by Alexander Thurston. (International Affairs, Chatham House, November 2018)
  • Global Responses to Maritime Violence: collaboration and collective action by Paul Shemella.(Journal of Maritime Research, August 2018)
  • Humiliation in International Relations by Bertrand Badie. (LSE Book Reviews, December 2017)
  • African Security by Claire Metelits. (International Affairs, Chatham House, May 2017)
  • Power Shift by Richard Falk. (LSE Book Reviews, July 2016)
  • Gender and Private Security in Global Politics by Maya Eichler. (International Affairs, Chatham House, August 2015)
  • Making and Unmaking Nations. War, Leadership and Genocide in Modern Africa by Scott Strauss (International Affairs, Chatham House, June 2015)
  • The New Pirates: Modern Global Piracy from Somalia to the South China Seas by Andrew Palmer (LSE Book Reviews, October 2014)
  • Zones of Crisis: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq by Amin Saikal (LSE Book Reviews, August 2014)
  • The Fog of Peace: The Human Face of Conflict Resolution by Gabrielle Rifkind and Giandomenico Picco (LSE Book Reviews, 2 June 2014)
  • Teaching Politics Beyond the Book: Film, Texts and New Media in the Classroom edited by Robert W. Glober and Daniel Tagliarina (LSE Book Reviews, 10 July 2013)
  • The Holocaust and Genocides in Europe by Benjamin Lieberman (LSE Book Reviews, 31 May 2013)
  • Open Source Intelligence in a Networked World by Anthony Olcott (LSE Book Reviews, 29 April 2013)
  • Intelligence in an Insecure World by Peter Gill and Mark Phythian (LSE Book Reviews, 18 March 2013)

Other Outputs

Academic Service:

  • 2016- Co-founder and Director Professors Without Borders, a non-profit that recruits international
  • educators and build short term quality courses in universities in developing countries
  • 2015- Reviewer for Nigeria Section Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research
  • 2015- Editorial Board, Central European Journal of International and Security Studies (CEJISS), Czech
  • Republic
  • 2013-2017 Programme Coordinator, Global South Unit, London School of Economics, UK
  • 2013-2015 Co-editor LSE Global South Working Paper Series, UK
  • 2011-2014 Undergraduate Admissions Alumni Interviewer, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Conference Papers Given

Select Conference Papers:

  • 14 June 2019 “Private Security Companies and Nigeria’s Counterinsurgency against Boko Haram”, British Studies Association, London UK
  • 1 December 2018 “Security and the Environment: the case of Nigeria”, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • 29 June 2017 “Boko Haram and the War on Terror”, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth
  • 14 June 2017 “Star Diplomacy: How Celebrities are Shaping the International Political Agenda”, British International Studies Association, Brighton
  • 21 March 2017 “Les attaques suicides chez Boko Haram”, Geneva Security Forum, Geneva
  • 7 June 2016 “DFID’s programme in Nigeria”, International Development Committee, UK House of Commons
  • 10 May 2016 “Nigeria’s Perfect Storm”, House of Representatives Committee on the Army, UK
  • 11-12 January 2016 “The Perfect Storm: A Study of Boko Haram, Inequality and Religious Extremism in Nigeria”, Conference on Expressions of Radicalisation, Malmo University, Malmo
  • 20 June 2015 “Violence and the Securitization of Inequality”, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Security in a Changing World, Jagiellonian University, Krakow
  • 18 June 2015 “The Securitization of Inequality”, British International Studies Association, London
  • 20 February 2015 “Boko Haram and Nigerian politics: Investigating violent sub-national movements in a global context”, International Studies Association, New Orleans.
  • 6 February 2015 “Warriors in the Age of Automation”, Webster Security Form, Geneva
  • 28 November 2014 ‘The Impact of Corporate Values on PMSCs in Iraw” with Ireland, J, Privatisation of Security Conference, Metropolitan University Prague, Prague
  • 12 June 2014 “The ‘Insecurity-globalisation nexus’ and the reconceptualization of African borders”, ABS First World Conference, St Petersburg.
  • 2 May 2014 “The War inside the War: The Balkans”, Webster Security Forum, Geneva.
  • 26 March 2014 “Challenging Sovereignty: Islamist Networks in African ‘States’”, International Studies Association, Toronto.
  • 24 March 2012 “Experiments in the hybridization of the armed forces”, 4th European Graduate Network Conference, Berlin.
  • 4 April 2012 “Mercenaries and Soldiers: The Impact of the Hybridisation of the Armed Forces on Warrior Identity”, International Studies Association 53rd Annual Convention, San Diego.
  • 20 May 2011 “Desperate Choices or Strategic Decisions? The consequences of outsourcing security on the identity of the state” 4th Annual Critical Voices in Swiss IR Conference ETH, Zürich.
  • 19 March 2011 “Challenging international norms on sovereignty: private military companies   and the African state”, International Studies Association 52nd Annual Convention, Montreal.
  • 25 July 2010 “Outsourcing Insecurity: The Civil-Military Relations of Private Military Companies in Weak States” ACUNS-ASIL Summer Workshop, Geneva.
  • 12 June 2010 “Niche Warfare: The Rebirth of Mercenaries in America’s New Wars”, States of Emergency conference, John F Kennedy Institute, Berlin.
  • 26 March 2010 “Private Military Companies and the Foreign Policy of Small States”, History of the Combatant, Santander.

Research Interests

Research interests include Security, Violent Non-State Actors, Development, Terrorism, International Law and Non-State Actor.

Professional Affiliation(s)/Accreditation

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs – Chatham House
  • Member of the International Studies Association
  • Member of the British Studies Association
  • Member of the European International Studies Association

Teaching & Course Development

Creating and Teaching modules:

  • International Relations Theory and Practice (undergraduate course)
  • Introduction to International Relations (undergraduate course)
  • Introduction to International Relations (graduate course)
  • Introduction to International law (undergraduate course)
  • Introduction to Human rights law (undergraduate course)
  • New States in the World Politics (undergraduate course)
  • Topics in Politics: A Century of Warfare (undergraduate course)
  • Theatre and Politics (undergraduate course)
  • International Security (undergraduate course)
  • International Organisations (undergraduate course)
  • International Organisations (graduate course)
  • Topics in African History (undergraduate course)
  • African Area Studies (graduate course)