Federal Studies

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Research and Impact

The Centre of Federal Studies aims to conduct cutting-edge social science research, offer consultancy to public and private organisations, and provide expert commentaries for international media. Key areas of expertise include public opinion surveys, constitutional design including the study of formal and informal institutions and citizen engagement in federal projects. Members of the Centre have specifically worked on federal issues in Bosnia, Iraq, Ukraine, Cyprus, Syria, Germany, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Below are same indicative examples of the Centre’s past and current research as well as impact engagement.


‘The Revival of Federalism: Post-Cold War and Post Arab Spring Challenges and Prospects”

Roundtable to launch Professor Burgess’s book In Search of the Federal Spirit. Dr Rupak Chattopadhyay, Professor Michael Burgess, Dr Neophytos Loizides and Dr Govinda Clayton.


Open Democracy -Ukraine

Ukraine needs Federalism and Power-sharing (by Neophytos  Loizides and  John McGarry)

“What would a proper federal design look like? Providing they can be agreed upon by genuinely representative elites, the most stable federations are those with more federal units rather than a few. Fifty (the United States) is much better than two (the old Czechoslovakia). It would not be good, in other words, if the Ukrainians agreed, or felt bound, to divide their state into west (the pro-EU part) and east (the more Russophile part, and base of former President Yanukovych’s Regions Party). Every divisive issue would then pit these two parts against each other, and break-up would be only a matter of time. Multi-federal regions, by contrast, would allow floating alliances, which would not always pitch Russophiles against Europhiles; furthermore, they would also create paradoxically useful feasibility and coordination problems that would stand in the way of secessionist tendencies.”


Washington Post/Monkey Cage – Bosnia

20 years later, this is what Bosnians think about the Dayton Peace Accords by Morgan Jones et al. argues that “the guarantees offered by ethnic federalism might be a necessary precondition for getting minorities to endorse peace settlements. Contrary to many experts, Bosnia suggests that support for these compromises can emerge no matter how opposed are the original players.”

ICON article

Power-Sharing in a re-united Cyprus: Centipetal Coalitions vs. Proportional Sequential Coalitions (by John McGarry advising the UN Mediation Support Unit and Neophytos Loizides – see adoption of article’s proposed formula by mediators and governments)

British Institute at Ankara -Cyprus Academic Dialogue

Co-organized with the University of Kent, the workshop focused on alternative visions for the future of the Eastern Mediterranean. It included talks by leading political figures such as former Greek PM George Papandreou and proposals for confidence-building measures put forward by members of the Cyprus Academic Dialogue  a bi-communal civil society group that exists and works for the achievement of a Federal United Cyprus. See also commentary on the event by Richard Moore, Foreign and Commonwealth Director here.


Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands

Professor Richard Sakwa publishes Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands 

Read Guardian’s review here

Kurdish National Council (KNC) Geneva – Berlin

Kurdish National Council:  “supported by Prof. Dr. Michael D. Burgess and Dr. Neophytos Loizides, both federalism experts from the University of Kent (Great Britain), the KNC leadership adopted a paper arguing why a decentralised, federal system with strong local structures is an essential corner stone for a just, democratic and united Syria.” 

Forum of Federations -Ottawa

Rupak Chattopadhyay the President and CEO of the Forum of Federations hosted a launch of Dr Loizides’ new book Designing Peace in Ottawa with leading policymakers from the Canadian government (i.e. the Global Affairs Canada). The visit initiated the new program of the Forum of Federations in Cyprus with the support of the Canadian government.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Forum of Federations (Ottawa), Diadraseis Radio Program, the Centre for Federal Studies (University of Kent), and Simfiliosis held a series of events in Nicosia aiming to explore the meaning of a federation in case of a Cyprus settlement (see program here). The events were held at the Home for Cooperation and included Mr George Bizos-the advocate of Nelson Mandela as speaker.

Federal Trust: Britain and Europe: Difficult Questions

The Federal Trust talks to Dr Adrian Pabst, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Kent, at the conference “Britain and Europe: Difficult Questions”, organised by the Federal Trust together with the Global Policy Institute (GPI) and Industry Forum. The conference took place on the 25th of February 2016 at One Birdcage Walk in London. For full interview click here


Devolution in England: International Perspectives, Politics and Policy Ideas after Brexit

The Centre for Federal Studies (University of Kent), the James Madison Charitable Trust, the Forum of Federations and the Federal Trust Fund co-organised a conference ‘Devolution in England: International Perspectives, Politics and Policy Ideas after Brexit,’ on the 20-21 June 2017 at the University of Kent. Around 40 participants, politicians, senior academics, policy makers and NGO representatives from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Spain and Italy, attended the conference. The conference aimed to shed the light on the on-going debate over devolution in the UK and more specifically the implication that Brexit will have on the future of institutional design within the UK. The conference was organised in seven sessions that looked on lessons from across the countries such as Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Canada in order to provide policy ideas and recommendations. A summary of the core findings and recommendations is published by Dr Nina Sajic here.

Devolved External Affairs: The Impact of Brexit

Professor Richard Whitman publishes report with Chatnam House. He argues that “Brexit will have significant political and institutional implications for the external affairs of the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.” see full report here. 

The Iraqi Federation: Origin, Operation and Significance

Dr Farah Shakir (former PhD student and CFS fellow) publishes a new book. The Iraqi Federation explores why and how Iraq became a federal state, and analyses how the process of formation impacts on the operation of the Iraqi federal system.


Mediating Power-Sharing

New book by Feargal Cochrane, Neophytos Loizides and Thibaud Bodson examines the design and Operation of Power Sharing in Deeply Divided Societies including Northern Ireland, Belgium-Brussels Capital Region and Cyprus  (reviewed here by Northern Slant)

Decentralized Federation

Professor Loizides was interviewed on a proposal for  dencentralized federation in Cyprus . For its  adoption in the peace talks see here [CYBC evening news (in Greek)]. 


Natural Gas in Federal Systems

Keynote at the Home for Cooperation by George Anderson (former Deputy Minister for Natural Resources, Canada) co-organized with UCY and PRIO Cyprus see here 

CARC also held a Roundtable with George Anderson (former Deputy Minister for Natural Resources, Canada) on his co-edited Territory and Power in Constitutional Transitions Chaired by: Neophytos Loizides Commentaries by: Aristotelis Constantinides Emel Akcali (organized by University of Kent and University of Cyprus). See panel here

Building Federalism

Professor Loizides and Ilke Dagli (Senior Fellow, CFS) presented new ideas for Security Architecture of Federal Cyprus at an event hosted by the Canadian High Commission in Nicosia. See interview here

Hanns Sedel Stiftung

Johanna Schnabel interviewed on the differences between the USA and Germany with regard to fiscal federalism.


Managing Interdependencies in Federal States: Intergovernmental Councils and the Making of Public Policy

Dr Schnabel’s new book published here.  The book argues that intergovernmental councils enhance federal stability by incentivizing governments to coordinate, which makes them a federal safeguard. By comparing reforms of fiscal and education policy in Australia, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland, Dr Schnabel shows that councils’ effectiveness as one of federalism’s safeguards depends on their institutional design and the interplay with other political institutions and mechanism

Do Citizens support Federal Solutions?

The event took place on Sep 8, 2020 and included leading political figures in both Cypriot communities.  Speakers: Ioannis Kasoulides, Niyazi Kızılyürek, Charis Psaltis, Neophytos Loizides, Soula Hadjikyriacou, Andromachi Sophocleous Hosting and Coordination: Themos Demetriou Nicos Mesaritis Απόφαση Ειρήνης – Peace Decision

The event included presentation on new survey data on federal attitudes in Cyprus led by the University of Kent through a US Institute of Peace Grant.

Paralyzed Peace cited in the New York Times

PhD candidate Chris Bennett’s new book cited by the NYT here “This is the real consequence of the Dayton model,” said Christopher Bennett, a former international official in Bosnia and author of the book “Bosnia’s Paralyzed Peace.” He added: “It simply does not work. It stopped a war but did not create conditions to make a life.”

Who Supports Federation

Christos Panayiotis in Cyprus Mail reports:

“A recent study from the universities of Cyprus and Kent, directed by professors Charis Psaltis and Neophytos Loizides, concluded that the only state structure that would be acceptable to the Greek Cypriot community (to the extent of 76.2 per cent) and the Turkish Cypriot community (71.2 per cent) is the federal structure, which is supported by the international community and in particular by the UN and the EU (a more comprehensive report on the study can be found at: https://ucy.ac.cy/dir/documents/dir/cpsaltis/Options_for_Solution_to_the_Cyprus_issue_2020_ENG.pdf).”

for full article click here

Subnational governments and their growing pivotal role in a Covid-19 Scenario

This webinar explored the dynamics and practices of subnational and local governments in responding to the challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Presenting perspectives from within the hemisphere and experiences from Europe, speakers discussed key lessons and needs for local governance resilience-building initiatives. On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the webinar highlighted the unique opportunity that the pandemic offers to refocus priorities and redirect resources towards building more just and peaceful societies. Please see practical guide and online event here


Public Opinion in Bosnia

New article by Morgan-Jones et al. published in Democratization on what shapes public support for comprehensive peace agreements. The article develops  and tests a theory of citizen support for peace agreements including  alternative governance structures (i.e. federal, consociational and centripetalist). Click here  for the published version of the article and earlier summary in Monkey Cage (Washington Post).

Dynamic Federalism

Book launch of Professor Popelier’s book ‘Dynamic Federalism’ at SPIRRS.  Patricia Popelier is Professor at the University of Antwerp and CFS Senior  Fellow.

Power-Sharing in Europe: Past Practice, Present Cases and Future Directions

Panel on new edited volume by CFS Senior Fellows Soeren Keil and Allison McCulloch’s Power-Sharing in Europe: Past Practice, Present Cases and Future Directions (Palgrave, 2020) Commentaries by: Florian Bieber, Joanne McEvoy, Caroline Hartzell, and Neophytos Loizides. Video available at ASN website here

Federalism in the Middle East: Past Failures and Prospects

Paper to be delivered at the BRISMES 2021 conference to take place at the University of Kent (by Professor Neophytos Loizides)

Sub-National Constitutions in Federal Systems

New Forum of Federations Report: Sub-National Constitutions in Federal Systems authored by Michael Burgess and Alan Tarr. The paper funded by the Canadian government draws extensively on the work of Tarr and the late CFS Director Michael Burgess.

Decentralized Federation in Sudan

Professor Neophytos Loizides’ presentation on Federalism and Decentralization in Sudan: Concepts, Taxonomy, Policies and Implementation; Under the theme “Turning Diversity into Harmony: Sharing Best Practices”. International Conference, Khartoum, Sudan, 2-5 October available here



Citizens and Peace Mediations in Aspiring Federal Countries

Survey conjoint experiment shows public support for a federal Cyprus across both communities. Public opinion is critical in mediations involving aspiring federations but while there is a rhetorical commitment for a federal Cyprus, the interpretations of the two sides are often assumed to be very different even irreconcilable.  New research at the University of Kent and partner institutions funded by the US Institute of Peace demonstrates the zones of possible agreement between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.


New Federations: IDPs and Durable Solutions to Displacement in Federal Systems

The project aims to investigate how new post-conflict federations manage (or not) the return of IDPs (internally displaced people) and the restoration of multicultural communities.  At the political level, there is a growing consensus among policymakers, international NGOs and IDP organizations themselves in favour of peaceful voluntary return. However, we know very little about the specific mechanisms that enable voluntary return, even though it matters a great deal for the durability of peace processes involving federal and power-sharing institutions . The new grant from the James Madison Foundation (awarded to Farah Shakir, Recep Onursal and Neophytos Loizides) will cover this gap by establishing a global database of IDP returns in federal systems and a new series of publications and events on the topic. For more info please click here.