Mr Ben Willis

Mr Ben Willis

Associate Lecturer

School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



I am an Associate Lecturer in Politics and International Relations here at the University of Plymouth and teach across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules within the School. My research interests, broadly defined, lie at the intersection of international security and human rights, and include a particular concern with the range of political, legal, and ethical issues surrounding the prevention of mass atrocities (genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity). I am also currently finishing a PhD with the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect based at the University of Leeds.

There are two main strands to my current research. The first is the subject of ongoing doctoral work, and explores how the principle of RtoP has been used to address the commission of peacetime atrocity crimes in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) since 2005. The other strand of research builds on previous work in the NGO sector, and examines how UK atrocity prevention policy is integrated across the government's various early warning, development, defence, and diplomatic activities.

I am always more than happy to discuss both academic and policy-oriented research and collaboration and can be reached via the contact details above.


  • PhD International Politics, University of Leeds, ongoing
  • MA International Relations (Distinction), University of Plymouth, 2013
  • BSc (Hons) International Relations (First Class), University of Plymouth, 2012

Professional membership

  • European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (ECR2P)
  • British International Studies Association (BISA)
  • Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS)
  • International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS)



Teaching interests

For academic year 2022-2023, I am teaching on the following modules:


  • Stage 1 - HIS4003: World History since 1850
  • Stage 2 - POL204: Politics of European Integration (module leader)
  • Stage 2 - IRL204: Global Development and International Relations (module leader)
  • Stage 3 - PIR307: Europe in the World
  • PLYO7002: Strategy and Security Studies



Research interests

  • Mass atrocity prevention
  • The Responsibility to Protect
  • North Korean human rights
  • UK foreign and security policy
  • The UN system (human rights; peace and security)
  • Constructivist and English School IR theory



Internet Publications

Other Publications

Parliamentary evidence

  • Willis, B. 2022. Written evidence submitted to the International Development Committee inquiry on 'Promoting Dialogue and Preventing Atrocities: The UK Government Approach'. DPA0008. February 2022.
  • Willis, B. 2020. Written evidence submitted to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea ‘Inquiry into Human Rights Violations, 2014-2020’. December 2020.
  • Willis, B. 2020. Written evidence submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry on ‘Xinjiang Detention Camps’. XIN0040. November 2020.
  • Willis, B. 2020. Written evidence submitted to the Cabinet Office consultation on the Integrated Review. August 2020.
  • Willis, B. 2020. Written evidence submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry on ‘The FCDO and the Integrated Review’. INR0020. May 2020.
  • Ferguson, K. and Willis, B. 2018. Written evidence submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry on ‘The Responsibility to Protect and Humanitarian Intervention’. RTP0002. June 2018.

    Book reviews

    • Willis, B. 2019. Reappraising European IR Theoretical Traditions. Global Affairs. 5(1), pp.96-98.
    • Willis, B. 2017. The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect. Global Affairs. 3(2), pp.182-184.

    Policy papers

    • Ferguson, K., Willis, B., and Lucas, H. 2019. Europe’s Prevention Crisis: How Can Civil Society Respond? Protection Approaches. 23 October 2019.
    • Ferguson, K. and Willis, B. 2018. Towards a National Approach to Atrocities: A Response to Growing Scrutiny. Protection Approaches. 14 May 2018.
    • Ferguson, K. and Willis, B. 2018. Atrocity Prevention and UK Policy: RUSI Event Outcome Document. Protection Approaches. January 2018.
    • Ferguson, K., Willis, B. and Hiles, M. 2017. Protecting Populations from Identity-Based Violence: A Review of the 2017 General Election Manifestos. Protection Approaches. 31 May 2017.
    • Ferguson, K. and Willis, B. 2017. Maintaining Momentum in a Changing World: Atrocity Prevention in UK Policy. Protection Approaches. 8 May 2017.