Niels Terpstra is Assistant Professor in Conflict Studies at the Centre for International Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM), Radboud University. His research focuses on the dynamics of civil war, political violence, insurgency, and terrorism. He is particularly interested in governance and legitimation practices of non-state armed groups during and after civil war. Furthermore, he is interested in foreign policy, particularly the political and strategic dimensions of peace- and state-building missions.
Niels has published in the journals Small Wars & Insurgency, Civil Wars, Peacebuilding, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, and Modern Asian Studies. Niels has field research experience in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Germany and the Netherlands. Niels’ dissertation on ‘Rebel Governance and Legitimacy in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka’ investigates how the Taliban in Afghanistan have governed territories under their control and how the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) governed in Sri Lanka. Moreover, it investigates how rebel governance affects civilian compliance with a rebel group and what this tells us about legitimacy, authority, and state formation processes.
Over the past years, Niels was also involved in advisory and evaluation projects for the Netherlands Ministry of Justice and Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, peace organization PAX. Amongst others, this included the evaluation of the Dutch Police-training Mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan, an assessment of the Dutch government’s strategic narratives during the war in Afghanistan, the development of a Human security survey, a study on terrorism and the state of emergency in Western Europe, and the crime-terror nexus. Niels has appeared on BBC Radio, NPO Radio 1 and in several Dutch national newspapers. In 2013, Niels received the J.C. Baak MA thesis prize for research on the enhancement of peaceful societies, awarded by the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities.