Ilana Bet-El

Senior Associate Fellow

EU, Transatlantic relationship, Russia and the Middle East , NATO-EU relations.


Dr Ilana Bet-El is a senior strategist, an historian and a writer. A former UN peacekeeper and Senior Advisor on the Balkans, she is specialized in complex national-multilateral problems. She has worked extensively on issues related to European security and defence, geopolitical challenges – especially within the EU, the Transatlantic relationship, Russia and the Middle East – and NATO-EU relations.

Ilana Bet-El has over 30 years’ experience across the public, private, multilateral and NGO sectors, alongside equal experience in academe and journalism. She has a broad portfolio of analytic, corporate and media work. Her corporate focus is upon advising companies, INGOs and governments on European and global affairs. Her academic and media work often relates to cultural and historic factors underpinning these affairs as well as political events.

She is a Senior Visiting Fellow at King’s College Department of War Studies, a Senior Associate Fellow at the European Leadership Network, and a member of the Advisory Board of Women In International Security (WIIS), Brussels. A former columnist for the Guardian and European Voice, she hosts a podcast on Women and Leadership. She holds a PhD from University College London and has published and lectured widely.


External Publications (selection)

  1. Le Grand Désenchantement – Vivre À L’ère De L’insécurité (Nuvis, Paris, 2012) (co-authored with General Sir Rupert Smith).
  2. The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (Allen Lane: Penguin, London, 2005; paperback 2006; Knopf, US, 2007; second edition 2019); co-written with attributed author, General Sir Rupert Smith; translated into nine languages.
  3. Conscripts: Lost Legions of the Great War (Sutton, London, 1999; paperback, 2003).


Policy papers (selection)
  1. “Liberalism in Europe Today: An Examination of Ideas and Opinions”, commissioned by the Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE), December 2018.
  2. “Towards a New European Neighbourhood Policy: A Consultation Submission to DG NEAR by the Heinrich-Böll Stiftung”, June 2015.


Analytic and academic articles (selection)
  1. “Covid and the future of security and defence”, European Leadership Network, 20 May 2020,
  2. “Rebuilding the Neighbourhood: An Introduction”, Heinrich-Böll Stiftung European Union, 8 March 2016,
  3. “A European year of Remembrance: An Introduction”, Heinrich-Böll Stiftung European Union, 16 April 2014,
  4. “Post-Cold War Enlargement and the Coming of Age of the European Union”, in: Twenty Years After: Post-Communist Countries and European Integration (Heinrich Boell Stiftung, 2009), pp. 8-16.
  5. “Media and Conflict: An Integral Part of the Modern battlefield”, in Kobi Michael, Eyal Ben-Ari and David Kellen (Eds.), The Transformation of the World of Warfare and Peace Support Operations (West Port, CT: Praeger Security International, 2009), pp. 65-80.
  6. “The Bell Tolls for NATO”, The National Interest (No 93, Jan/Feb 2008), pp. 62-67. (Co-author General Sir Rupert Smith)
  7. “The Context of Transformation”, in Kristina Spohr Readman (Ed.), Building Sustainable and Effective Military Capabilities: A systemic comparison between professional and conscript forces (Amsterdam, 2004), pp. 24-33.
  8. “A Battlefield of Memories: The power of memory and the conflict in the Former Yugoslavia”, in Jan Mueller, ed., Memory and Power in Post War Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 206-222.

Video:      How to Manage a Global Crisis (May 2020) –

Podcast: Woman and leadership: WIIS podcast series (2021) –


The Guardian: (over 70)

European Voice: (over 100)