Erwin van Veen

Senior Research Fellow


  • Conflict and Fragility
  • Security and Justice
  • Aid Architecture


  • Middle East & North Africa

As Senior Research Fellow, Erwin van Veen is an experienced professional who delivers high quality and insightful strategic advice that helps mitigate violent conflict. His direct area of expertise is the relation between political order and tools of coercion, especially the role of hybrid armed groups in processes of state development.

Erwin leads a diverse team of five experts that researches conflict dynamics in the Middle East from a political-economy perspective for clients like ministries of foreign affairs, NGOs and international organizations. The team focuses on Syria, Iraq, Palestine and the Kurdish question with due attention to Iranian, Turkish and Saudi foreign policy.

Extensive experience in/with governments, international organizations and research organizations, combined with extensive travel in the Middle East, ensures Erwin’s work straddles academic and policy spheres to produce well-grounded and hard-hitting insights.

By blending research with opinion pieces, timely events, media appearances, workshop facilitation and the occasional training, Erwin and the team take pride in helping clients develop innovative, evidence-based and humane policy responses to contemporary conflicts.

Erwin’s personal strengths include a broad curiosity, a quick grasp of complexity and the ability to combine the conceptual with the practical. Matching past achievements include the co-creation of major policy innovations such as the ‘International Security Sector Advisory Team’ (an international expert team on security sector reform), the ‘New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’ (an agreement between 40+ states and international organizations to improve aid provision to fragile states), as well as the ‘Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law’ (a mechanism for knowledge brokerage and uptake among policy-makers and program staff engaged in conflict-affected countries).

His previous experiences include roles as peacebuilding and conflict specialist at the OECD (2010-2013), security and development advisor at the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2010) and human resource business advisor at Shell (2003-2005). Erwin obtained university degrees in public administration, security sector management and EU politics – all with distinction.

My work



Conflict and Fragility

The YPG/PYD during the Syrian conflict

19 April 2021 - 11:05
Conflict and Fragility

EU policies and interventions in the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars

03 February 2021 - 16:20
Conflict and Fragility

Blinking, biding or bombing?

18 January 2021 - 10:49
Conflict and Fragility

Europe's options to address conflicts in the MENA region

09 December 2020 - 13:21
Conflict and Fragility

What Iran’s Leaders Really Think About Biden

02 December 2020 - 11:28
Conflict and Fragility

Like it or not: coercive power is essential to development

27 October 2020 - 21:23
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Europe in the World

Special lecture by Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs

29 October 2019 - 16:00
Conflict and Fragility

Tijd voor een koerswijziging van het Nederlandse Israëlbeleid?

04 October 2019 - 20:00
Conflict and Fragility

Syria After Civil War #3: Regional Militancy and Political Order

13 May 2019 - 11:30
Conflict and Fragility

Syria after Civil War #2: The geopolitics of Conflict

26 March 2019 - 12:00
Conflict and Fragility

Israel and Palestine: The state of the two-state solution

08 November 2018 - 09:00
Conflict and Fragility

The curious case of adolescent democracy and protracted violence

10 October 2018 - 09:00
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