Experts & Staff

Richard Gowan

Associate Senior Policy Fellow

Areas of expertise

United Nations system; European security and defence policy; Africa; Western Balkans




Richard Gowan is an associate fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

He is currently UN director at the International Crisis Group, and was previously research director at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. He has taught at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and Stanford in New York, and wrote a weekly column on multilateralism (“Diplomatic Fallout”) for World Politics Review from 2013-2019. He has acted as a consultant to the UN on peacekeeping, political affairs, and migration.

Sudan, 2011

In January 2011 the people of South Sudan will vote on whether to secede from the North. Violence is expected to follow. The EU must start preparing now for an intervention in Sudan if it is to have any chance of being ready to help.

Sudan: the EU?s election problem

The EU has had to withdraw its election observers from Darfur before the upcoming Sudanese election. No surprise there: Darfur remains a dangerous place. But what why did the EU get involved in this controversial poll in the first place?

Ignoring the outside world

Does it really matter whether Catherine Ashton’s travel plans include Haiti, Gaza or an erupting Icelandic volcano? There must be more insightful analysis, and less idle gossip, in press coverage of EU attempts to forge a common foreign policy

Incompetent multilateralism?

The Economist?s Charlemagne asks: if Obama’s American can’t make soft power work, what hope does Europe have? Richard Gowan answers: it has to work. Europe has no other option.

Europe et op?rations ext?rieures

Daniel Korski et Richard Gowan sur la strat?gie de s?curit? civilo-militaire de l?UE. L?Europe peut-elle passer de la rh?torique ? l?action?

Europe and the G20: Between Obama and Sarkozy

Most Europeans agree that the EU needs to sharpen up its act in multilateral institutions like the G20. The US won’t take us seriously if we don’t. The trouble is working out how.

‘Worried 27’ seeking reassurance

ECFR agony uncle Richard Gowan offers reassurance to ‘Worried 27’ about their unrequited transatlantic love

Haiti: how many Europeans does it take to assess an earthquake?

Whether Bulgaria’s Rumiana Jeleva is the right person for the EU’s humanitarian job or not, Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake shows just how badly Europe needs someone to coordinate humanitarian assistance

Battling strategic irrelevance

European leaders should beware exiting Afghanistan. They have already staked their credibility there, and the balance of power in Asia is very uncertain.



Multilateral values: European ideals under pressure

The West no longer has a monopoly on values at the UN. But Europeans can shape a new narrative in the changing multilateral system by emphasising their commitment to sovereignty, development, and openness

How not to save the world: EU divisions at the UN

Although their new friendship treaty does not call for an EU Security Council seat, France and Germany must pitch a compelling vision of multilateralism at the UN

Lonely at the top

Running the United Nations is a lonely job for António Guterres – and he seems to prefer it that way. 

Saving British internationalism from Brexit

Even if the UK is a diminished power after Brexit international partners will still need its cooperation in the UN and NATO

Post-Humanitarian Europe

This week’s World Humanitarian Summit was an opportunity to discuss how to assist the suffering, yet the entire process showed much of the humanitarian sector at its most fragmented and self-indulgent

The limited avenues of internationalisation

The European response to the Syrian refugee crisis to date has been characterised by short-term and reactive measures. But this is going to be…

A broader watchfulness

While Syrians currently account for almost 20 percent of the 60 million refugees and IDPs worldwide, they are by no means the only ones…


In the media