Marika Theros is a policy fellow at the Conflict and Civicness Research Group at LSE IDEAS and the PI and co-director of PeaceRep’s Afghanistan Research Network. Her research focuses on political mobilization, global-local dynamics of violence and change, peacebuilding and multi-stakeholder dialogues, the politics of knowledge production, and the securitization of climate change.
At the LSE, she led a comparative research stream investigating local peace agreements across six key conflict- affected sites, and worked with the Syria CRP team to examine the design of inclusive mechanisms in Syrian political talks with a focus on questions of legitimacy and sustainability. She is also the co-founder of the Civic Ecosystems Initiative, a platform to explore the phenomenon of ‘civic ecosystems’ and social innovation.
Outside of academia, she is the director of the Civic Engagement Project (CEP) which works at the intersection of action-oriented research, policy and civic engagement in difficult environments. She is a non-resident senior fellow at the Institute for State Effectiveness, and at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center in Washington, D.C.. In 2021, she co-designed and co-directed a trilateral 1.5 track dialogue on Afghanistan at the Atlantic Council bringing together US, European and Afghan stakeholders while also supporting coalition-building and communications strategies for women and civic leaders seeking inclusion as part of the Civic Engagement Project (CEP).
Over the last 15 years, Marika has designed a number of research and dialogue processes in/on the Balkans, South Asia and the Middle East, to support multilevel, multi-dimensional peace-making and peace-building approaches. She has provided expert input into practitioner and policy dialogues, including as a participant in the UN Expert Group to inform the UN World Public Sector Report 2017. She has published academic papers on issues of conflict, security, justice and civil society in peer-reviewed journals including International Affairs, Peacebuilding, Journal of Human Rights, Journal of Civil Society, and Conflict, Security & Development. She currently serves on the boards of the Humanitarian Law Centre (Belgrade) and the Rahela Trust for Women’s Education (UK), and as an expert member of the Uplift Afghanistan Fund (US). Marika is completing her doctorate in International Development at LSE, and holds an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University and an MSc in Human Rights from LSE.
‘Knowledge, Power and the Failure of US Peacemaking in Afghanistan, 2018-21,’ International Affairs, forthcoming May 2023
‘Civic Ecosystems and Social Innovation’, under review at Global Policy (with I. Rangelov)
‘Local Agreements: An introduction to a special issue’, Peacebuilding, May 2022 (with M. Kaldor and R. Turkmani)
‘Engendering Civicness in the Syrian Peacemaking Process, Journal of Civil Society, May 2022 (with R. Turkmani)
‘Galkaio, Somalia: Bridging the Border’, Peacebuilding, February 2022 (with N. Majid)
‘The Political Functions of the War on Terror’, Journal of Human Rights, 2019 (with I. Rangelov)
‘Reimagining Civil Society in Conflict-Affected Contexts’, Journal of Civil Society 2019
‘The Logics of Public Authority: Understanding Power, Politics and Security in Afghanistan’, 2018, Stability: International Journal of Security and Development. 7(1), p.1. 201 (with M. Kaldor)
‘Abuse of Power and Conflict Persistence in Afghanistan,’ in Conflict, Security, and Development, 2012 (with I. Rangelov)
‘US Withdrawal will not end the forever wars’, Chatham House, 22 April 2021 (with Sahar Halaimzai)
‘Afghanistan needs a ceasefire now to battle Covid-19, The Atlanticist, 24 April 2020 (with Sahar Halaimzai)
‘The fight for inclusive peace in Afghanistan’, OpenDemocracy, 19 May 2019