European Leadership Network

The European Leadership Network (ELN) works to advance the idea of a cooperative and cohesive Europe and to develop collaborative European capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence and security policy challenges of our time.

It does this through its active network of former and emerging European political, military, and diplomatic leaders, through its high-quality research, publications and events, and through its institutional partnerships across Europe, North America, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Contact information

European Leadership Network – ELN

Suite 407, Southbank House
Black Prince Road
London, SE1 7SJ, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 3176 2551

Point of contact

Dr Katarzyna Kubiak
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3176 2553

The team

Ilana Bet-ElIlana 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. With a background in the media and academe, she has published widely, including a weekly column on EU defence and security. She holds a PhD in history from UCL, and is a member of the WIIS (Women In International Security) Senior Advisory Board in Brussels.

•  Security, defence and energy in the EU

•  Russia

•  Turkey

•  Middle East

•  Trans-Atlantic community

Alice Billon-GallandAlice Billon-Galland works as a Policy Fellow, leading the European Defence programme.


Her current research focuses on transatlantic burden-sharing, European capability shortfalls, and the implementation of the new EU defence package. She also follows developments at NATO and in the European Union Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Moreover, Alice writes on French foreign and defence policy issues and is in charge of the ELN’s External Publications.


Before joining the ELN, Alice completed a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at University College London (UCL), focusing on European affairs and defence policy. Prior to this, she studied at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon and held a Visiting Scholar position at Northwestern University (United States). Alice sits on the Executive Board of Women in International Security UK. She is also a member of the Young Professionals’ National Association of the French Institute of Advanced Studies in National Defence (ANAJ IHEDN).

Elisabeth BrawElisabeth Braw is a Senior Associate Fellow for the European Leadership Network (ELN), a senior consultant at the London headquarters of Control Risks, the global risk consulting firm, and leads RUSI’s new Modern Deterrence programme.


She was previously a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek, and is also a contributor to The Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and Politico and other publications, focusing on European security. She is especially interested in European armed forces and homeland defence issues.


Elisabeth has also been a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford, and frequently moderates sessions at security conferences. She is a native of Sweden and attended university in Germany, finishing her Magister Artium degree in political science and German literature with a dissertation on nuclear weapons reduction in Europe. She speaks German, Swedish, and English. She is also a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

•  European defence and security

•  European defence cooperation

•  Homeland defence

Axel HellmanAxel Hellman is a Policy Fellow at the European Leadership Network (ELN).


At the ELN, his work primarily centres on economic statecraft, U.S. foreign policy, Russia-West relations and Iran.


Prior to joining the ELN, Axel worked in management consulting in Stockholm, Sweden, and as an external adviser to Oxford Analytica and a London-based political risk start-up. He has previously held positions at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), the Hudson Institute, and at Freedom House.  Axel completed a Master’s Degree at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and holds a B.A. in International Relations from King’s College London’s Department of War Studies. He has also studied at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and MGIMO-University in Moscow.

•  Economic statecraft

•  U.S. foreign policy

•  Russia-West relations

•  Iran

Katarzyna Kubiak

Dr Katarzyna Kubiak is a Policy Fellow on nuclear and arms control policy.


Previously, she was a Transatlantic Post-Doc Fellow for International Relations and Security at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS), an associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), a research assistant at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH), a field researcher for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and a fellow in the German Bundestag.


Katarzyna holds a Master of Peace and Security (University of Hamburg) and a Magister in International Economic Relations (University of Lodz). Following her PhD thesis on NATO nuclear extended deterrence (University of Hamburg) her research areas include nuclear arms control and disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation as well as ballistic missile defense.

•  Arms Control

•  Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament

•  Missile Defence

Łukasz KulesaLukasz Kulesa is Research Director at the European Leadership Network.


His interests include non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Russian security policy, NATO, nuclear and conventional deterrence, the role of missile defence, and the future of arms control.


Previously, he worked as the Head of the Non-proliferation and Arms Control Project at the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), focusing on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, proliferation crises (North Korea, Iran), perspectives for nuclear disarmament, Russian security policy, nuclear and conventional deterrence, the role of missile defence, and the future of arms control systems. He remains involved with PISM as research associate.


In 2010-2012 he was working as Deputy Director of the Strategic Analyses Department at the National Security Bureau, a body providing aid and support to the President of the Republic of Poland in executing security and defence tasks.

•  Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament

•  Arms control and Deterrence NATO / Russia

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


He served as Secretary General to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly 1997-2007 following 8 years as the Deputy Secretary General where he initiated and implemented the Assembly’s program of partnership and assistance to the parliaments of Central and Eastern Europe.


From 1983-1989, he was Head of Plans and Policy on NATO’s International Staff and was involved in all aspects of NATO defence planning. He was also a member of the High Level Task Force on preparations for the Conventional Forces Europe (CFE) negotiations.


Between 1979-81 he worked at the US Congressional Research Service writing reports for Congress on NATO strategy on the 1979 INF decision. He also participated in the Senate hearings on the ratification of SALT II.


During the 1970s, when he was Director of the North Atlantic Assembly’s Defence Committee he worked extensively on the role of nuclear weapons in NATO strategy.


He has a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Wales and an MA in War Studies from Kings College, London University. He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst 1960-62 subsequently serving as an officer in the British army.


He is currently a Senior Fellow at DCAF in Geneva and a consultant with NTI in Washington DC.

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


Before joining the ELN, 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.


A majority of Adam’s diplomatic career was spent on European security issues, starting with the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction negotiations 1978-80, work at the British Embassy in Moscow 1981-83 and at NATO during the implementation of the dual track decision 1983-86, followed by his role as the Soviet political analyst for the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee during the stirring times of 1989-91, politico-military work at the British Embassy in Washington DC 1991-95, running the UK Foreign Office’s Security Policy Department as the UK negotiated the European Security and Defence Policy 1998-2002, and through a multitude of policy issues in the Security Council and UN General Assembly as British Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative in New York 2002-6.  The other main strand of his diplomatic work was focused on South Asia including work at the British High Commission in New Delhi 1995-8, as FCO Director for South Asia and Afghanistan 2006-9 and as British High Commissioner in Pakistan 2010-13.

Nicholas WilliamsNicholas 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.


Nick began his career in the British Ministry of Defence, with multiple secondments to NATO functions during the Cold War and to the French Ministry of Defence in its aftermath.


•  NATO / EU

•  NATO / Russia

•  NATO defence and security policy