KOBZAR Svitlana, PhD

  • Position :
  • Assistant Professor

  • Department :
  • International Affairs
  • E-mail :
  • svitlana.kobzar@vub.ac.be
  • Nationality :
  • Ukrainian, Belgian Permanent Residency
  • Languages :
  • English, Ukrainian, Russian
  • Education :
  • PhD International Studies - University of Cambridge, UK (2011)


    MPhil Contemporary European Studies - University of Cambridge, UK (2005)


    BA Foreign Service - Alma College (2004)


    Certificate, Ukrainian Studies - Harvard University, Summer School (2003)

  • Teaching :
  • Vesalius College (September 2012 - present):

    • International Approaches to State-Building, Reform and Good Governance
    • Global Politics
    • Advanced Research Methods for International Affairs
    • Tools and Methods for European Policy Analysis
    • Executive course: Advanced Global Risk Analysis and Crisis Management


    University of Cambridge (2011-2012):

    • Introduction to Politics


    Oxbridge Academic Programs; Jesus College, University of Cambridge (Summer 2007 and 2010):

    • Politics in the Modern World
  • Research area(s) :
    •  Democracy support: civil society, capacity and institution building (especially Ukraine and Georgia); democracy & development nexus
    • State-building in the post-Soviet region
    • The role of ‘idea of Europe’ in Ukraine’s state-building, national identity and foreign policy
    • EU foreign policy, the European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership



    • Interviews
    • Focus groups
    • Discourse analysis


  • Research Project(s) :
  • 2015 Options for Ukraine’s National Security Architecture: Definitions & Assessment: Worked as a part of the team of RAND researchers on the project commissioned by the Ukrainian Government. From January to September 2015, worked on three components of the project, including (1) the overall national security sector reform; (2) Ministry of Defense/General Staff reform; (3) defense and technical cooperation with other countries. Research included interviews and focus groups in different cities in Ukraine and in Brussels.


    2013 - Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM East): Commissioned by the European University Institute with the support of the European Union. Responsible for synthesizing research findings and writing policy briefs on migration-related topics covering Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Belarus.


    2013 – European Strategy and Policy Analysis System, Trends on Society: Commissioned by the European Commission’s Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA). The study is an inter-institutional initiatives that involves the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. Responsible for research on global migration trends and their impact on the European Union. Served as the External Coordinator, managed relationship with Harvard University, the University of Oxford, London School of Economics, German Development Institute, World Values Survey Association, University of Manchester, University of Leeds, Population Council, Warwick University, Migration Policy Institute and the Research Institute of Finnish Economy.


    2012 – Risk Analysis and EU Border Control: The Frontex Research and Development Union (RDU) commissioned this study to establish the state of the art of risk analysis models for border management. The study assisted Member States and Frontex with identifying best practices and helping to raise standards in the production and use of risk analyses as part of EU border management.


    2012 - Regulating the Cloud: More, Less or Different Regulation and Competing Agendas: Reviewing the literature and preparing the briefing for Ofcom, independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industry.


    2011 – Update the Sigma Scan: The project was commissioned by the Foresight Horizon Scanning Centre of the UK government. The Sigma Scan is a searchable set of brief papers exploring potential future issues and trends over the next 50 years which may have an impact on UK public policy. The papers cover a wide range of subjects, from climate science to social science, space exploration, economics and human rights.

  • Selected Publications :
    Cave, J., Robinson, N., Kobzar, S., Schindler, R. (2015) “Regulating the Cloud”  in Yoo, C.S. and Blanchett, J-F. (ed.) ‘Computing in the Cloud’ New York: MIT Press.


    Kobzar, S. (2012) Book Review “Women’s Social Activism in the New Ukraine: Development of Politics and Differentiation by Phillips Sarah D.”, Vol. 90, No. 2 Indian University Press (2008) Slavonic and East European Review, pp. 391-393.


    Kobzar, S., (2011) “'The European Union’s Impact on Democratization of Ukraine’, Nomos Verlag, ‘Democratization and Security in Central and Eastern Europe and the Post-Soviet States’ , Bosold D. And Hynek N. (ed.), pp. 101-124.


    Kobzar, S., (2009)  “'Europe' and ‘Russia’ in Ukraine's Narratives on National Identity: Historical and Cultural Myths”, Identities and Politics During the Putin Presidency. Casula, P. and Perovic, J. (eds). Stuttgart: Ibidem Verlag, pp. 355-376.


    Kobzar, S. (2016) “Reporting on the Minsk II Agreement: the Effect of Russian Narratives in French and German Media”. Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, available
    http://www.ies.be/policy-brief/reporting-minsk-ii-agreement-effect-russian-narratives-french-and-german-media (pp. 1-7).


    Kobzar, S. (2016) “Mind the Gap: Interpreting the Minsk II Agreement”
    Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, available
    http://www.ies.be/policybrief/mind-gap-interpreting-minsk-ii-agreement (pp. 1-4).


    Kobzar, S., Hellgren, T., Hoorens, S., Khodyakov, D., Yaqub, O. (2015) “Evolving patterns and impacts of migration. Global societal trends to 2030: Thematic report 4” RAND Corporation, available
    http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR900/RR920z/RAND_RR920z4.pdf, pp. 1-63.


    Kobzar, S. and Paul, A. (2014) ‘The parliamentary elections in Ukraine: new hope?’, Policy Brief, European Policy Centre, 21 October 2014, available http://www.epc.eu/pub_details.php?cat_id=3&pub_id=4921, pp. 1-4.


    Kobzova, J. and Kobzar, S. (2014) “The Partition of Ukraine”, Open Democracy, 20 March 2014, http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/jana-kobzova-svitlanakobzar/partition-of-ukraine-Russia-Ukraine-Crimea


    Kobzar, S.; Robinson, N.; Castle-Clarke, S. (2012) “A Study of Current Risk Analysis Models”, Prepared for Frontex Research Development Unit (RDU). RAND Europe (Frontex internal document), pp. 1-105


    Potoglou, D., Robinson, N., Hellgren, T., Kobzar, S., Patil, S. (2010) “Literature Review of Approaches for Measuring Preferences with Respect to Privacy, Security and Surveillance”. Fuchs, C. (ed),
    The Privacy & Security Research Paper Series, University of Westminster. http://www.projectpact.eu/privacy-security-research-paper-series/privacy-security-research-paper-series/PACT_ResearchPapers_10_FINAL.pdf, pp. 1-34.


    Kobzar, S. (2009) ‘Ukraine’s Party of Regions: Domestic and Foreign Policy Objectives’, Policy Brief, Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI), N. 133 – May 2009, available http://www.ispionline.it/it/documents/PB_133_2009.pdf, pp. 1-9


    Havrylyshyn, O. and Kobzar, S. (2014) “EU-Ukraine Alliance Will Benefit Russia, Too”, op-ed, The Moscow Times, 28 January 2014, http://www.themoscowtimes.com/sitemap/authors/svitlana-kobzar/493499.html


    Hoorens, S. and Kobzar, S. (2014) “Happy 80th Birthday, ‘GDP’ Is It Not Time to Retire”, op-ed,  E!Sharp, February 2014,  http://esharp.eu/big debates/the-future-of-finance/173-happy-80th-birthday-gdp-is-it-not time-to-retire/


    Trushkevych, O. and Kobzar, S. (2013) “Ukraine: The Struggle for Democracy”, op-ed, Huffington Post, December 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/gates-cambridge-scholars/ukraine-the-struggle-for-_b_4492476.html


    Kobzar, S. (2008) ‘Shifting NATO's Political Paradigm’, op-ed, Kyiv Post, 24 April 2008, http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op_ed/28892



    Kobzar, S. (2009) ‘The European Union’s Three-Level Impact on Democratization of Ukraine: the Diplomatic Level, the Indirect Leverage, and the Bottom-Up Approach’, Brockmann, K. and Bosold D. (eds.), Democratization and Security in Central and Eastern Europe and the Post-Soviet States, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Berlin and Institute of International Relations, Prague. Available https://dgap.org/en/article/getFullPDF/17960, pp. 23-29


    Kobzar, S. (2007) ‘The ‘Return to Europe’: Ukraine’s Foreign Policy, 1994-1998’, From the 6th Pan-European Conference on International Relations. Turin: 12- 15 September 2007. http://www.eisa-net.org/be-bruga/eisa/files/events/turin/Kobzar-Svitlana%20A%20Kobzar.pdf, pp. 1-32


    Kobzar, S.  (2006) ‘The European Union as a Factor in Democratisation in Ukraine,’ From the International Graduate Student Symposium ‘New Perspectives on Ukraine: Politics, History, and Culture,’ University of Toronto, March 16-18, 2006. Available http://www.utoronto.ca/jacyk/gsc2006/files/kobzar,%20paper.pdf, pp. 1-25


  • Other relevant information:
  • Founder/Director/Coordinator, Forgotten Children of Eastern Europe (FCEE, Inc.) (Alma College, 2002-2007): Registered a non-profit organisation in Alma, Michigan, to provide aid to orphanages in Eastern Europe (recruited volunteers, created a Board of Trustees). From 2002-2004 served as FCEE Director.

    • Fundraised by working closely with business groups and service organisations, including Kwinass Club, American Red Cross, Alma College and seven Rotary Clubs


    Designed and served as Programme Coordinator for the Ukrainian Service Vision Programme (Alma College, from 2005-2007):

    • Designed the programme and fund-raised $18,000 (from the Posey Family Foundation and Alma College P-Global Fund) for a 3-year pilot project (which was subsequently renewed)
    • Subsequently, the Posey Family Foundation have donated $2.062 million for the Leadership Initiative that continues to sponsor the Ukrainian Service Vision Programme yearly
    • Worked with organisations in Ukraine and the US in implementing a three-component programme consisting of US students working in an orphanage, interning with an international organisation, and interviewing policy-makers in Ukraine
    • FCEE continues to exist on the campus of Alma College and sponsor annual trips of the US students to Ukraine and supports orphans and homeless children in Kyiv, Odessa and Lviv
  • Honours & Awards :
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship (2005-2009)  – Gates Cambridge Trust, UK
    The scholarship is awarded annually to approximately 100 postgraduate students worldwide based on students’ intellectual ability, leadership capacity and desire to use their knowledge to contribute to their society.


    Overseas Research Studentship Award Scheme (2005-2008), Research Council, UK
    Awarded to about 110 out of 1400 applicants on the basis of academic ability and research potential.


    Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute Scholarship (HUSI), 2003, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, US (Full tuition)


    Discovering Vocation Research Grant (09/2003), Alma College, Michigan, US

    Research for the Honor’s thesis titled ‘European Union Enlargement: Changing Role of the EU Commission’ conducted at Harvard University.


    Arthur L. Russell Research Grant (05-06/2003), Alma College, Michigan, US

    Research into Ukrainian judicial reform, including legal literature review, triangulated with the semi-structured expert interviews. Study conducted at the Harvard Law Library and Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.


    Political Science Research Grant (04-05/2002), Alma College, US


    Archival research at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project at the National Archives II at College Park, Maryland.


    Kinney Research Grant (05-06/2002), Alma College, Michigan, US

    Research conducted at the Library of Congress in conjunction with the key informant interviews with scholars and policymakers in Washington, D.C. addressing the difficulties inherent with government efforts to regulate the Internet to protect children while preserving the First Amendment rights of adults.


    President's Cup (2001) – Alma College, US

    Awarded for the highest academic achievement.


    Alma College International Opportunity Award (2000-2004), Alma College, US

    A renewable full-tuition scholarship.


    Future Leaders’ Exchange (FLEX) Scholar (1998), Freedom Support Act, United States Information Agency, US

    A nationally competitive scholarship.