Dr Annette Idler 




Annette Idler is the Director of Studies at the Changing Character of War Centre, Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, and at the Department of Politics and International Relations, and Affiliate at the Latin American Centre, all University of Oxford. She is the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council's Fellow on International Security and Research Associate at the Graduate Institute Geneva’s Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding. She serves on a number of international boards and committees, including the International Advisory Committee of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research in the field of Security and Rule of Law, the Advisory Board of the Journal of Strategic Studies (SIRIUS), and the Editorial Committee of the RUSI/ECPR Standing Group on Organised Crime.

Dr Idler’s work focuses on the interface of conflict, security, transnational organized crime and peacebuilding. Specifically, she explores the role of violent non-state groups in changing security landscapes and their impact on people-centred security. At CCW, she currently directs the “Changing Character of Conflict Platform” project and the “From Conflict Actors to Architects of Peace” programme that focus on these matters. Drawing on ethnographic methods in her research, over the past decade, she has conducted extensive fieldwork in and on the war-torn and crisis-affected borderlands of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, including more than 600 interviews with local stakeholders. Her book Borderland Battles: Violence, Crime, and Governance at the Edges of Colombia’s War is forthcoming with Oxford University Press; her work also appeared in journals such as Stability: International Journal of Security and Development and Perspectives on Terrorism.

Dr Idler advises governments and international organizations, is a regular expert for media outlets such as Al Jazeera, BBC and the Washington Post, and has published numerous policy briefs. Dr Idler previously worked with UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the German development cooperation. She holds a doctorate from the Department of International Development, University of Oxford, and an MA in International Relations from King’s College London’s Department of War Studies.


Ongoing Projects:

  • The Changing Character of Conflict Platform: Understanding, Tracing and Forecasting Change across Time, Space and Cultures, funded by AHRC/ESRC (Principal Investigator)

  • From Conflict Actors to Architects of Peace: Promoting Human Security in Colombia and Internationally, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Principal Investigator)

  • Borderlands: Violent Non-state Groups and Insecurity on the Edges of Colombia(Book Project)

  • Violent Non-state Groups and their Impact on Civilian Security: Comparing the Andean Region, the Great Lakes Region and the Afghan-Pakistani Border Region

  • Negotiating with Armed Actors: Peace Communities in Colombia (in collaboration with Cécile Mouly and Belen Garrido, FLACSO Quito)

  • Beyond the War on Drugs: The International Drug Control Regime in the 21st Century (in collaboration with Juan Carlos Garzón, Woodrow Wilson Center)

Recently Completed Projects:


Annette has conducted extensive independent multi-sited fieldwork in war-torn, crisis-affected and otherwise fragile settings. Her interviewees included ex-combatants, traffickers, military and police officials, indigenous and afro leaders, refugees, internally displaced people, community leaders, non-governmental organisation staff, representatives of international organisations, government officials and academics. The main fieldsites include rural and urban areas in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela:


  • Nariño

  • Putumayo

  • Arauca

  • Norte de Santander

  • Cesar

  • La Guajira

  • Bogotá

  • Soacha


  • Esmeraldas

  • Carchi

  • Sucumbíos

  • Quito


  • Apure

  • Táchira

  • Zulia

  • Caracas




  • ‘‘Borderland Battles: Violence, Crime, and Governance at the Edges of Colombia’s War” (forthcoming with Oxford University Press).



  • Challenges in Colombia’s Changing Security Landscape: Toward a Shared Vision of Peace”, LASA Forum, 49 (3), 2018, 75-79 (with M. Alba Niño, J. Boesten, J. Masullo, A. B. Tickner and J. Zulver).

  • Between Shadow Citizenship and Civil Resistance: Shifting Local Orders in a Colombian War-Torn Community”, in Christopher Mitchell and Landon Hancock (eds.), Legitimacy and Local Peacebuilding, Routledge, 2018 (with C. Mouly and B. Garrido).

  • Review of Drugs, Thugs, and Diplomats: U.S. Policymaking in Colombia,  by Winifred Tate, Journal of Latin American Studies, February 2017 49 (1): 200-202, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022216X16002054.

  • “Colombia and the Responsibility to Protect: Illustrating Pillars One and Two”, in Serrano, Mónica and Fuentes, Claudio, eds., The Responsibility to Protect in Latin America: the New Map, Routledge, forthcoming. (with Diego Dewar)

  • “El Carácter Cambiante de la Guerra: El Mapa Actual de los Retos a la Seguridad” (Translation: The Changing Character of War: The Current Map of Security Threats), Transformación Militar. Revista de Difusión y Análisis, 2016, 1, 18-23.

  • “When Peace Implies Engaging the Terrorist. Peacebuilding in Colombia by Talking to the Enemy?”, in Tellidis Y. and Toros H. eds., “The Nexus between Terrorism Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies”(Abingdon: Routledge), 2015. (with Borja Paladini)

  • ‘‘Espacios Invisibilizados: Actores Violentos No-Estatales en las Zonas Fronterizas de Colombia” (Translation: Invisible Spaces: Violent Non-state Actors in Colombia’s Borderlands),  in Koehler, Romy and Ebert, Anne (eds.), Las Agencias de lo Indígena en la Larga Era de la Globalización. Microperspectivas de su producción y representación desde la época colonial temprana hasta el presente. Estudios Indiana, Ibero-American Institute, (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag), 2015, pp. 213-234.

  • ‘‘The Transnationality of Conflict: Lessons Learned from Borderlands”, in Kalogeresis, A.,ed.Proceedings of the 2010 European Conference of the Association for Borderlands Studies (Thessaloniki: University of Thessaloniki), 2011, 185-204. (with Lindsay Scorgie)