Dr Annette Idler 




Dr Annette Idler is Director of Studies at the Changing Character of War Programme, University of Oxford; a Research Associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford and a Research Associate at the Graduate Institute Geneva’s Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding. She also serves as an expert for the global analysis and advisory firm Oxford Analytica and is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) in the field of Security and Rule of Law. A full list of Annette's publications is available on her personal website and below. 

As Director of Studies, Dr Idler develops the Programme’s research agenda, directs the research activities and supervises Visiting Research Fellows. Having worked in the past for UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the German Development Organisation GIZ, Dr Idler also brings in her vast experience to actively engage the policy community on matters related to CCW. Her engagement has included international agencies such as the UN Department of Political Affairs and governmental institutions including Ministries of Defence, of Foreign Affairs and of Justice of countries ranging from the UK over Germany to Colombia. Dr Idler is regularly invited as expert speaker to internationally renowned defence and security think tanks such IISS, Chatham House or RUSI.  

Having conducted one year of independent fieldwork in Colombia’s war-torn borderlands, Dr Idler combines her background as an academic and practitioner with an in-depth, first-hand understanding of conflict dynamics on the ground. She has carried out over 430 interviews with local stakeholders such as military and police officers, ex-combatants, traffickers, indigenous leaders and refugees, and has lived embedded in local communities in these fragile settings. 

Dr Idler has been teaching on subjects ranging from New Security Threats in Urban Spaces, Armed Conflict in Latin America, Transnational Organised Crime, Military Regimes to Global Institutional Design, among others, and has delivered guest lectures and seminars at institutions in the UK, Germany and the Americas. She has held visiting researcher positions in Universities in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Dr Idler has also successfully coordinated and facilitated trainings and workshops for both academics and practitioners on conflict prevention, transnational organised crime and peacebuilding. 

Dr Idler’s research interests lie at the interface of conflict, security, transnational organised crime and peacebuilding, and the role that violent non-state actors, including rebels, militias, paramilitaries, terrorists and criminals including drug cartels play in these dynamics. In her work she explores the proliferation of these groups and how they cooperate together, as well as what this means for civilian security on the ground. This is linked to her work on how civilians negotiate with violent non-state groups as well as negotiations on the country level, as the ongoing one in Colombia. She further directs a project on the Global War on Drugs involving perspectives from West Africa, Asia, Russia, and Latin America. 

Dr Idler holds a doctorate from the Department of International Development and St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and a MA in International Relations (Distinction) from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.


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





  • 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)


  • ‘‘Borderlands: Violent Non-state Groups and Insecurity on the Edges of Colombia” (under contract with Oxford University Press).