Dr Saskia van Genugten

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Saskia van Genugten is Senior Research Fellow at Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA). As part of EDA’s Peace and Security in the MENA Region research programme, she examines threats to the region’s security and the role of international diplomacy in improving peace prospects. Her expertise spans Libyan history and politics, the future of Yemen, Europe and Islam, MENA youth unemployment, and the drivers of terrorism in the region.

Before joining EDA, Dr van Genugten served in diverse roles including Political Affairs Officer at the UN Support Mission in Libya, Manager of the Government and Public Sector Advisory team at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Foreign Affairs Advisor to the Senate of the Netherlands.

Dr van Genugten authored the monograph Libya in Western Foreign Policies, 1911-2011. Her other publications include book chapters and journal articles on Libya, Europe and Islam, and Italian politics. She regularly appears in the media to share her views on developments in the MENA region.

Dr van Genugten holds a PhD in European Studies and Middle East Studies in addition to an MA in International Relations and International Economics from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Dr Saskia van Genugten's Publications

  • May 2018 + EDA Working Paper

    Yemen: Immediate-To-Short Term Actions to Improve the Humanitarian Situation

    Dr Saskia van Genugten

    This EDA Working Paper looks into ways to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen in the immediate to short term. The focus is on finding solutions in four areas: the increase in food insecurity, the disruption of basic services, the spread of communicable diseases and the needs of those that are internally displaced. It argues for solutions with regard to access and distribution of vital goods throughout Yemen, stabilisation of Yemen’s financial system and ensuring indiscriminate basic service provision and for scaling up assistance and living up to aid pledges.

  • Apr 2018 + EDA Working Paper

    Stabilisation in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa: Different Dimensions of an Elusive Concept

    Dr Saskia van Genugten

    Politicians and commentators commonly talk of the need for ‘stability’ and ‘stabilisation’ when referring to the current situation in the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Indeed, stabilisation is what the broader MENA region seems to be in desperate need of, but a lack of consensus around what stability entails and how to get there, might keep fueling instability instead. This paper is a first of a series that will be published as part of the EDA’s Stabilisation Research Initiative (SRI), led by EDA faculty members dr. Saskia van Genugten and dr. Victor Gervais. In this framing paper, the author offers an initial exploration of the different dimensions of stabilisation as can be found in the existing literature, thereby combining current ideas, approaches and lessons identified by practitioners and academics alike. Along the way, the paper identifies common challenges and areas for further exploration within the EDA’s research initiative.

  • Nov 2017 + EDA Insight

    Europe’s New Defence Ambitions: Engagements in the MENA Region

    Dr Saskia van Genugten

    Issues such as Brexit, Catalonia and the rise of nationalism dominate the global headlines on Europe and tend to point towards the disintegrating of the continent. However, at the same time, a new ambition for increased European defence cooperation among the EU member states, is exposing a rather different trend that is bringing Europeans together on one of the most sensitive issues of national sovereignty: security. This EDA Insight looks at the driving factors behind Europe’s renewed assertiveness on defence matters, provides an overview of recently launched initiatives and assesses the potential implications, including for Europe’s civilian and military operations in the wider MENA region.


  • Apr 2017 + EDA Insight

    Libya: Building Political Consensus around Economic Objectives

    Dr Saskia van Genugten

    Despite all the political divisions, most Libyans can probably agree on the fact that action is needed to stabilize their country’s economy. The current economic malaise is on the one hand caused by suboptimal oil revenues due to disruptions in production, a lack of investments, and low oil prices. On the other hand Libya suffers from disputes over economic governance and pressure on national economic institutions to take sides in the ongoing political crisis. This EDA Insight provides a background on the Libyan economy and assesses both long term economic challenges as well as the additional complications caused by the civil wars.


  • Mar 2017 + EDA Working Paper

    Livelihoods For Syrian Refugees: Transitioning from a Humanitarian to a Developmental Paradigm

    Lorraine Charles and Dr Saskia van Genugten

    Several countries that have been hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees since 2011 are changing their policy assumptions with regard to Syrian refugees. Instead of designing policies from a ‘temporary and humanitarian’ perspective, governments are increasingly seeking more ‘developmental and (semi-)permanent’ solutions. Labour market integration is a key aspect of this change and the authors discuss this issue through case studies of Jordan and Turkey.

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    External Powers in the Horn of Africa: The Case of Iran Jan 2017 Dr Saskia van Genugten, with Amna Fikri View More
    Jan 2017 + EDA Insight

    External Powers in the Horn of Africa: The Case of Iran

    Dr Saskia van Genugten, with Amna Fikri

    Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and the Sudan are located along vital shipping routes, including the Red Sea, the Bab el Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. At the same time, many states in the Horn of Africa are faced with institutional, economic and security challenges. Due to the strategic importance and a reliance on external support, many global, regional and local actors contribute to the Horn’s security environment. With a specific focus on Iran, this EDA Insight assesses the interactions and realignments between external and local actors in the Horn of Africa.


  • Sep 2016 + EDA Insight

    The MENA Youth Conundrum: Generating Productivity, Preventing Disillusionment

    Dr Saskia van Genugten

    The MENA region has, on average, the highest youth unemployment in the world. Educational and professional opportunities in the region remain low and with the number of young adults rapidly increasing, the issue is often not addressed with the necessary urgency.

  • Jul 2016 + EDA Insight

    A Failed Coup in Turkey: What are the Consequences?

    Dr Saskia van Genugten

    The attempted military coup in Turkey confirmed the decreased ability of the military to intervene in Turkey’s democracy, the continuous popular support for the democratically elected government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the government’s determination to consolidate its position. This EDA Insight provides context on the coup attempt and explores the implications of its aftermath, both domestically as well as internationally.


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    Combatting Daesh in Libya Apr 2016 Dr Saskia van Genugten View More
    Apr 2016 + EDA Insight

    Combatting Daesh in Libya

    Dr Saskia van Genugten

    This policy brief focuses on the strength, strategy and tactics of Daesh in Libya and assesses the range of policy instruments the international community could employ to help the legitimate Libyan authorities in their efforts to combat terrorism.


  • Mar 2016 + EDA Insight

    Post-Conflict Yemen: Early Economic Recovery Initiatives

    Dr Saskia van Genugten

    This policy brief focuses on the short-term and long-term challenges to Yemen’s economy and suggests priorities for economic recovery in Yemen in a post-conflict phase.