If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research Focus

I am a Lecturer in International Relations at QUB. I have a PhD in International Relations from the Australian National University (Australia), and a Masters degree in Global Studies – A European Perspective from the Universities of Roskilde (Denmark) and Wroclaw (Poland). I conducted my undergraduate studies at the University of Adelaide (Australia). I am also a Research Fellow with the University of Western Australia’s Africa Research & Engagement Centre.

My research focus is broad and although interdisciplinary and theoretical, it is geared towards empirical relevance. In addition to my academic publications I actively contribute to public debates on international political and security issues, and foreign policy. I have written media commentary on Australia’s foreign, aid and strategic policy, as well as Islamic insurgency in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. I have also provided briefings to diplomats on various facets of my research, and formal submissions to the Australian Parliament.


Research Interests

My research focus is broad and although interdisciplinary and theoretical, it is geared towards empirical relevance.

My research falls within International Relations, Foreign Policy Analysis, and Security Studies.

The specific areas I have researched in the past and continue to focus on include:

  • Foreign Policy Analysis and the making of foreign policy
  • Australian Foreign Policy
  • Australia and Africa
  • Foreign Policy-Making in the Anglosphere
  • Middle Powers
  • ‘New’ Actors in Africa
  • Politics and Security in the Horn of Africa
  • Statehood, post-conflict governance, Rebel governance
  • Statehood in Somaliland/Somalia
  • Al-Shabaab and Terrorism in the Horn of Africa

My book – Australia and Africa. A new friend from the South? – was published as the leading monograph in Palgrave Macmillan’s new ‘Africa's Global Engagement: Perspectives from Emerging Countries’ book series. This book is a first-ever comprehensive review of Australia’s historical and contemporary engagement with Africa, and represents a uniquely original source on a much neglected aspect of Australian foreign policy. The book is based on 30 ‘elite interviews’ with Australian politicians and diplomats, as well as African diplomats and government officials.

The central arguments I make in the book are that Australia has an unacknowledged historical ‘baggage’ of supporting British colonization of Africa and sympathizing with white-minority governance in Southern Africa, and that the colonialist, racist, and ethno-centrist attitudes that enabled such support and sympathies are still to an extent alive in Australian politics. As I make clear, this has since the mid-1990s also underpinned a politically partisan, fickle, and volatile contemporary engagement with Africa. As a result of all of this, Australia does not know what it wants in Africa, which has important implications for Australian diplomacy, and its inability to pursue the country’s strategic and long-term interests on the continent.

My book also has important comparative value as it contributes to the literature on ‘new’ and emerging countries’ engagement with Africa by contrasting Australia’s lack of strategic and long-term engagement with Africa with that of other ‘new’ and emerging actors and/or Middle Powers (like China, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, India, Brazil) whose engagement with Africa is much more strategic and proactive.

My latest article – ‘How States Order the World. A typology of ‘Core’ and ‘Peripheral’ foreign policy’ – is published in the top-ranked disciplinary journal Foreign Policy Analysis. It analyzes more and less important foreign policy spaces by establishing an ideal typology of ‘core’ and ‘peripheral’ foreign policy. I examine how and why the determinants, processes, and goals of foreign policy-making in these distinct types are different, and how this allows us to theorize about foreign policy as a policy-making activity, rather than just the empirical outcome of relations between states.

One of the key insights of my research relates to how structure and agency differently influence foreign policy-making: ‘core’ foreign policy tends to be more structurally bounded allowing less manoeuvre for agents seeking to change the status quo, while ‘peripheral’ foreign policy is less structurally bounded and more agency prone, allowing for greater agency in changing foreign policy direction and priorities.


I teach a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules accross International Relations and Security Studies:

PAI3011 Middle Eastern Politics

PAI2011 Politics of Deeply Divided Societies

PAI3038 US Foreign Policy

PAI7051 Contemporary Security

PAI7007 Global Terrorism

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Nikola Pijovic is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

foreign policy Social Sciences
UN Security Council Social Sciences
Labour Party Social Sciences
typology Social Sciences
coalition Social Sciences
UNO Social Sciences
voter Social Sciences
labor Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2012 2019

Australia and Africa: A New Friend from the South?

Pijovic, N., 16 Mar 2019, Palgrave Macmillan. 187 p. (Africa’s Global Engagement: Perspectives from Emerging Countries)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

climate change
foreign policy

There are no votes in Africa’? Australia, Africa and the UN Security Council

Pijovic, N. & Mickler, D., 09 Jul 2019, (Accepted) In : Australian Journal of Politics & History.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
UN Security Council
6 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access
Labour Party
foreign policy
2 Citations (Scopus)