Dr. Isabelle Werenfels

Dr. Isabelle Werenfels

Research Division: Middle East and Africa
Senior Fellow


March 2014 - August 2018 Head of Research Division Middle East and Africa

since 2016 member of the Advisory Board of the PhD programme "Trajectories of change. Ph.D. Scholarships in Humanities and Social Sciences" of the Zeit-Stiftung

2007-2018 member of the Foundation Board of the „Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies“, Geneva (2010 - 2014 as Vice-chairwoman)

2008-2010 Co-chair of the General Assembly of the Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission(EuroMeSCo)

2006-2012 Adjunct Lectureships University of Hamburg and Freie Universität Berlin

2001-2003 Project Arab Elites

2001-2003 Fritz Thyssen Doctoral Scholarship

1999 Head of the Swiss Delegation and of the Research, Analysis and Information Division of the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron (TIPH)

1993-1998 reporter/editor with a special focus on the Middle East at the Swiss Broadcasting Company's Radio (DRS)

Areas of Expertise:

Maghreb / North Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Elites and elite change, Arab Spring, Political systems, Political Islam / Islamism

Political transformation, elite change and social mobilization in the Maghreb states, intra-regional relations in the Maghreb, German and European policies towards the Maghreb states. Current focus: authoritarian resilience in the Maghreb, migration policies in the Maghreb and Maghreb-EU migration cooperation, "turn to Africa" of the Maghreb states.

SWP Publications (selection):

Bettina Rudloff, Isabelle Werenfels

EU-Tunisia DCFTA: Good Intentions Not Enough

Shift Needed from Deep to Deliberate, Comprehensive to Coherent and from Free to Fair Trade

SWP Comment 2018/C 49, November 2018, 8 Pages
Anne Koch, Annette Weber, Isabelle Werenfels (eds.)

Profiteers of Migration?

Authoritarian States in Africa and European Migration Management

SWP Research Paper 2018/RP 04, July 2018, 74 Pages
Isabelle Werenfels, Ilyas Saliba

No Rivals to the King

The Limits to Political Reform in Morocco’s “Enlightened Authoritarianism”

SWP Comment 2017/C 17, May 2017, 4 Pages
Mareike Transfeld, Isabelle Werenfels

#HashtagSolidarities: Twitter Debates and Networks in the MENA Region

SWP Research Paper 2016/RP 05, March 2016, 62 Pages
Isabelle Werenfels

The Risks of Playing for Time in Algeria

Internal Strife over Key Choices after the Presidential Election

SWP Comment 2014/C 23, May 2014, 8 Pages

External Publications (selection):

Isabelle Werenfels

"No to the Fifth Term": Algeria's New Protest Movement

A Conversation with Isabelle Werenfels

In: Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), March 6, 2019 (online)
Isabelle Werenfels, Guido Steinberg

Regional trends after the dissolution of "old orders" in the Middle East and North Africa

In: David Ramin Jalilvand, Kirsten Westphal (Hrsg.): The Political and Economic Challenges of Energy in the Middle East and North Africa, Routledge, 2018, pp.13-26.
Isabelle Werenfels

Algeria’s Risky Exercise in Anachronism

In: Sada Magazine, published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 20, 2014 (online)
Isabelle Werenfels

Beyond authoritarian upgrading: the re-emergence of Sufi orders in Maghrebi politics

In: The Journal of North African Studies, 19 (June 2014) 3, pp. 275-295
Isabelle Werenfels

Managing Instability in Algeria

Elites and Political Change since 1995

London / New York: Routledge, 2007

In the Media/ »Point of View« (selection):

Isabelle Werenfels, Mareike Transfeld

How Twitter can empower opposition forces in authoritarian countries

In: The Washington Post, December 2, 2016 (online)
Isabelle Werenfels

Tunisia’s democratization: Learning from the disasters of others

The Tunisian democratization process is also an outcome of negative developments in other Arab states. At the same time, the Tunisian success sends important signals to other states in the region. European politicians should make use of these learning processes, says Isabelle Werenfels.

Point of View, January 2014

SWP Comments

Melanie Müller, Laura Kotzur
Sense of Frustration

The Debate on Land Reform in South Africa

Muriel Asseburg
The “Deal of the Century” for Israel‑Palestine

US Proposals Are Likely to Speed Demise of Two-State Settlement

SWP Research Papers

Muriel Asseburg, Wolfram Lacher, Mareike Transfeld
Mission Impossible?

UN Mediation in Libya, Syria and Yemen

Lars Brozus (ed.)
While We Were Planning

Unexpected Developments in International Politics. Foresight Contributions 2018