Experts & Staff

Julien Barnes-Dacey

Director, Middle East and North Africa programme

Areas of expertise

Middle East and North Africa


English, French, Arabic


Julien Barnes-Dacey is the director of the Middle East & North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. He works on European policy towards the wider region, with a particular focus on Syria and regional geopolitics.

Barnes-Dacey’s recent publications include “Society max: How Europe can help Syrians survive Assad and coronavirus,” “Promoting European strategic sovereignty in the southern neighbourhood,” and “Guns and governance: How Europe should talk with non-state armed groups in the Middle East.” His work has been published widely including in Foreign Policy, Politico, the Financial Times, and the New York Times.

Barnes-Dacey has worked as a researcher and journalist across the Middle East. Based in Syria from 2007 to 2010, he reported for the Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor. He worked across Iraq as editor of Niqash.Org and was previously based in Egypt, reporting for the Cairo Times. He also headed the MENA practice at Control Risks, a private sector political consultancy based in London.

Barnes-Dacey holds a BA in history from the London School of Economics, an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and studied Arabic at the Institut Français du Proche-Orient.

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