European Leadership Network

The European Leadership Network (ELN) is an independent, non-partisan, pan-European network of nearly 200 past, present and future European leaders working to provide practical real-world solutions to political and security challenges.

Contact information

European Leadership Network – ELN

8 St James’s Square London

SE1Y 4JU, United Kingdom


Tel.: 0044 203 176 2555



Point of contact

Andreas Persbo

Research Director


The team

Stefanie Babst

Dr Stefanie Babst is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN).

She can look back at a remarkable professional journey in NATO’s International Staff. In the course of 22 years, she held different positions in the Public Diplomacy Division which she was appointed to lead as NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary-General from 2006 to 2012.

  • International security issues
  • NATO
Julia Berghofer


Julia Berghofer is an ELN Policy Fellow and Project Manager for the Younger Generation Leaders Network on Euro-Atlantic Security (YGLN).

She is a Vice-chair of the YGLN and a member of the Réseau Nucléaire et Stratégie – Nouvelle Génération (RNS-NG, promo 2017/18).


  • Nuclear arms control
  • Disarmament
  • West-Russia relations
  • NATO
Ilana Bet-El

Ilana Bet-El is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN).


Ilana Bet-El is a strategic adviser, writer and historian. A former UN official and senior adviser on the Balkans, she has worked extensively with both governments and clients in the private sector on geostrategic and policy issues related to security, defence and energy in the EU, Russia, Turkey and broader Europe, the Middle East and the Trans-Atlantic community.

  • Security, defence and energy in the EU
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Middle East
  • Trans-Atlantic affairs
Elisabeth Braw
Elisabeth Braw is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN). She is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she focuses on defense against emerging national security challenges, such as hybrid and grayzone threats.
  • European armed forces
  • Homeland defence issues
  • Emerging national security challenges
Laurie Bristow

Sir Laurie Bristow KCMG is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN). He is a British diplomat, currently serving as regional Ambassador for China, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa for the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).


Laurie was previously the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Russia (2016 – 2020). Before this, he held various roles in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, including Director for National Security (2012 – 2015), Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (2010 – 2012). He has also served as Ambassador to Azerbaijan (2004 – 2007) and Deputy Ambassador to Moscow (2007 – 2010).

Laurie Dundon
Laurie Dundon is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN). She is a foreign affairs analyst who closely follows policy and political developments in the U.S. and Europe. She has covered transatlantic security issues and facilitated dialogue across the Atlantic for nearly two decades. She currently focuses on innovative public-private sector initiatives to address complex global challenges – especially through the digital arena. She is a lecturer at the Institut de Relations Internationales et Strategiques in Paris, teaching on new tools of foreign and defense policy including sanctions regimes, cyber tools, and drones.
  • Transatlantic security
  • Innovative public-private sector initiatives
  • New tools of foreign and defense policy
Roxane Farmanfarmaian

Dr Roxane Farmanfarmaian is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN). She is Director of International Studies and Global Politics at the University of Cambridge Institute for Continuing Education and a Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London.


As an expert on Middle East policy and media studies, she is both a consultant and frequent speaker and broadcast commentator on current Middle East affairs, particularly on Iran, the Gulf, and the southern Mediterranean. She teaches at the Department of Political and International Studies (POLIS) at the University of Cambridge.

  • Middle East affairs
Bekki Field
Bekki Field is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN). She is a Global Lead in the policy department of Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent cancer research charity. She spent more than a decade in the UK diplomatic service, where she was posted to the UK’s Representation to the European Union and the UK Delegation to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation (OSCE).
  • Arms control
  • Multilateral crisis response
  • Gender equality
Maximilian Hoell

Dr Maximilian Hoell is a Policy Fellow at the European Leadership Network (ELN).


Alongside his work for the ELN, Max is Lecturer in Political Science at Paris Dauphine University.


  • Nuclear arms control
  • Disarmament
  • Non-proliferation
  • Transatlantic security
  • P5 Process
Katarina Kertysova

Katarina Kertysova is a Policy Fellow at the European Leadership Network (ELN) and a Wilson Center Global Fellow. She coordinates and supports the ELN’s Contact Group on Russia-West Relations.


She is a member of the NATO 2030 Young Leaders cohort, Younger Generation Leaders Network on Euro-Atlantic Security (YGLN), FES-initiated FLEET network, the Core Group of Experts of the OSCE Perspectives 20-30 initiative, the GLOBSEC Young Leaders, and the Warsaw Security Forum New Security Leaders networks.


  • Conventional arms control
  • Russia-West relations
  • Arctic security
  • Climate-nuclear nexus
Jane Kinninmont

Jane Kinninmont joined the ELN in 2020 as Director of Impact, with a mission to strengthen the influence, policy relevance and impact of the organisation’s research, convening and networks.


Previously she was Head of Programmes for The Elders, Deputy Head and Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, Associate Director for the Middle East and Africa at the Economist Group and Senior Editor/Economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit.


  • Middle East
  • North Africa
Łukasz Kulesa

Łukasz Kulesa is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN). He is Deputy Head of Research at the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM).

  • Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
  • Russian security policy
  • NATO
  • Nuclear and conventional deterrence
  • Missile defence
  • Future of arms control
Simon Lunn

Simon Lunn is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN).


As Secretary General of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly 1997 to 2007, Simon initiated the Assembly’s program of partnership and assistance to the parliaments of Central and Eastern Europe. From 1979 to 81, he worked in the US Congressional Research Service preparing reports for Congress on NATO strategy and the 1979 INF decision.

  • Arms control

  • NATO
Sylvia Mishra


Sylvia Mishra is a New Tech Nuclear Officer at the European Leadership Network and a doctoral researcher at the Department of Defence Studies, King’s College London (KCL).


She Chairs the CBRN Working Group for Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS) and is a Steering Committee Member of OrgsInSolidarity; the Indian Women in International Relations (IWIR) at Global Policy Insights and is a N-Square Innovators Network Fellow, and a Mid-Career Cadre Scholar at CSIS.

  • Nuclear strategy and nonproliferation
  • Southern Asian security
  • Grand strategy
  • Emerging technologies
Andreas Persbo

Andreas Persbo is the Research Director at the European Leadership Network. His research responsibilities at the Network covers the full spectrum of European security matters.


Before joining the ELN, Andreas served as the Executive Director of the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (2009-2019). He was one of the founding members of the UK-Norway Initiative on Verified Warhead Dismantlement.


Outside the Network, Andreas serves as the Swedish delegate to the International Law Association’s Committee on Nuclear weapons, non-proliferation & contemporary international law.

  • West-Russia relations
  • NATO
  • Ways to regulate and control the spread and use of weapons of mass destruction
  • Verification
  • Iran and South Asia
Sahil Shah

Sahil Shah is a Policy Fellow at the European Leadership Network (ELN). In his role at the ELN, Sahil advises senior US, European, and other government stakeholders on reducing strategic and nuclear risks and convenes international security dialogues. He leads the organization’s efforts to strengthen nuclear and regional diplomacy with Iran and advises on other key areas of ELN engagement on non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control issues.


Separately, Sahil is also a Policy and Outreach Consultant to the Office of the Executive Secretary at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and a Policy Advisor to the Institute for Security and Technology (IST) on its CATALINK project.


He was recently named the 2021 Gorbachev-Shultz Voices Youth Awardee, and he is also part of the inaugural class of 2021 Aspen Strategy Group Rising Leaders. 

  • Non-proliferation
  • Disarmament
  • Arms control
  • Iran
  • CTBT
Graham Stacey

Sir Graham Stacey joined the European Leadership Network as a Senior Consulting Fellow in November 2020.


Sir Graham had a 39-year, internationally focussed, military career as a UK Royal Air Force Regiment officer, with his final position being the Chief of Staff of NATO Transformation.


In addition to his ELN role, Sir Graham is a non-executive director of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science which studies climate change, air pollution and high impact weather, and is a member of the Natural England Research Council board overseeing the UK’s facility for airborne atmospheric measurement.

  • NATO
  • NATO-Russia security affairs
  • Arms control
  • Emerging technologies
  • Climate change
Adam Thomson

Sir Adam Thomson KCMG has been the Director of the European Leadership Network since November 2016.


Before joining the ELN Sir Adam had a 38 year diplomatic career in the British Diplomatic Service, preceded by short spells at the World Bank and at Harvard. His final diplomatic posting was as the UK Permanent Representative to NATO between 2014 and 2016.

  • NATO
  • West-Russia affairs
  • European defence policy
  • UK foreign policy
  • Arms control
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
John Walker

Dr Walker OBE is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN).


He was Head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Arms Control and Disarmament Research Unit (ACDRU) from December 2014 to May 2020 when he retired from the FCO.


In 2020, John was awarded Order of the British Empire for his services to British foreign policy.

  • Arms Control
  • Disarmament
  • Verification
  • The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)
  • The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
  • The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
  • UK nuclear weapons and arms control history and nuclear disarmament verification.
Heather Williams

Dr Heather Williams is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN). She is a Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) at King’s College London and an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).


Dr Williams currently serves as a Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords International Relations Committee inquiry into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Disarmament. She is also an adjunct Research Staff Member in the Strategy, Forces, and Resources Division of the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Virginia, where she has worked since 2008 on US nuclear policy for the US Department of Defense. She leads projects on the impact of emerging technology on deterrence, the future of arms control, risks of social media to conflict escalation, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

  • Arms control
  • Impact of emerging technologies on deterrence and arms control
  • Social media and conflict escalation
  • Nuclear disarmament and the nuclear order
  • Trust-building in international relations
Nicholas Williams

Nicholas Williams is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN).


Nicholas Williams OBE was a long serving member of NATO’s International Staff, most recently as Head of Operations for Afghanistan and Iraq. Prior to this Nick served in senior positions in NATO, EU, and British missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia Hercegovina, and Iraq.

  • NATO / EU 
  • NATO / Russia
  • NATO defence and security policy