Rik Coolsaet

Senior Associate Fellow


Belgian foreign policy, terrorism, international relations


Rik Coolsaet is Professor of International Relations at Ghent University (Belgium). He is Chair of the Department of Political Science at Ghent University and Senior Associate Fellow at the Egmont Institute (Royal Institute for International Relations) in Brussels. He was invited to join the original European Commission Expert Group on Violent Radicalisation (established 2006) and is member of the European Network of Experts on Radicalisation (ENER).

From 2002 to 2009 he served as Director of the ‘Security & Global Governance’ Program at Egmont–Royal Institute for International Relations (Brussels). He has held several high-ranking official positions, such as deputy chief of the Cabinet of the Belgian Minister of Defence (1988–1992) and deputy chief of the Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1992–1995).

He published the first comprehensive study on the history of Belgian foreign policy (Belgium and its foreign policy 1830-2000, 4rd revised edition, 2003, in Dutch and partly in French). He has also written extensively on terrorism and international relations. His latest book publications are: A History of Tomorrow’s World (De geschiedenis van de wereld van morgen, 2008, in Dutch) and Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge. European and American Experiences (Ashgate, October 2011). His history of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (written with Claude Roosens and Vincent Dujardin) will be published in early 2014.