Emily Winterbotham researches, writes and provides political and legal analysis and advice on issues of conflict, security, development and violent extremism. She has 8 + years desk and field experience in an international policymaking environment. Her expertise lies in transitional justice, peacebuilding and reconciliation, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Since 2015 Emily has been a Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, the world’s oldest security and defence think tank. Her work includes extremism, insurgency and radicalisation, women in violent extremism and geopolitical relations in Asia. Her most recent projects include: an EU-funded peacebuilding project in Pakistan documenting the role of women in peacebuilding processes designed to support and provide lessons learnt on the implementation of UNSCR 1325; DFID-funded research on conflict and violent extremism; and a Canadian-government funded project exploring a gendered approach to radicalisation to violent extremism and CVE. She was also commissioned by the Norwegian Commission on Afghanistan to conduct a review of human rights in Afghanistan (2001 – 2014) as part of their broader assessment of their engagement in Afghanistan.

Between 2009 – 2015, Emily worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan, most recently (2012 – 2015) as Political Adviser for the European Union Special Representative, focusing on the Afghan peace process, violent extremism and insurgent networks in South Asia. She also acted as a Short-Term Election Observer for the European Union Assistance Mission during the 2014 presidential and provincial elections and the unprecedented 100% audit process. Prior to that she worked for the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit from 2009 – 2011 where she managed an in-depth, community-based research project exploring the legacies of  conflict in Afghanistan and community-perceptions and desires for justice, peace and reconciliation. This involved fieldwork in Kabul, Bamiyan and Ghazni provinces collecting oral histories of Afghanistan’s conflicts from over 500 ‘oridinary’ Afghans. During her time in Afghanistan she also provided training and capacity building to a number of Afghan civil society organisations.

During 2012, Emily worked as a consultant for a number of organisations including Save the Children and the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation. Prior to working overseas, Emily worked as an international news editor for GRN-Live. She is also a Deployable Civilian Expert for the UK Government’s Stabilisation Unit. Emily holds an MSc from the London School of Economics in Global Politics and conducted fieldwork in the Balkans for her dissertation, which focused on the role of criminal trials in reconciliation.

Emily lives in London though travels regularly. She regularly writes and speaks on international media on a range of topics related to conflict, extremism, terrorism and geopolitical relations in Asia.