Heidi Riley holds a PhD from University College Dublin, an MPhil in International Peace Studies from Trinity College Dublin and an MA Honours in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD research was titled Rethinking Insurgent Masculinity: Ideology and Identity Change in the People’s War in Nepal and its Aftermath. This empirically grounded research examined the role of an insurgent group ideology that espouses greater gender equality in shifting notions of masculinity held by insurgent members, both during conflict and in post-conflict. As part of the project, she also examined the role of ideology in limiting sexual violence carried out by members of an armed group, looking closely at the cases of Sri Lanka, Peru and the Syrian Kurds. Other research and practical interests include a focus on the Women, Peace and Security, negotiated settlements and the role of the arts in conflict resolution.
Heidi is the winner of the Cedric Smith Prize 2017, from the Conflict Research Society and the International Studies Association’s Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Graduate paper award. In addition, she was awarded the Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship for her PhD research. She was previously module co-coordinator for Politics of Peace and Conflict: Understanding Contemporary Conflict and Conflict Resolution, and has lectured on Gender, War and Peace and Gender and Transitional Justice.
Aside from academic credentials, Heidi currently works for the Conflict Resolution Unit at the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, where she is responsible for the Women, Peace and Security agenda. She has worked for a variety of Irish Human Rights and Women’s Rights NGOs, including Front Line Defenders and Ruhama. Her early career began in the production and technical side of the performing arts in the UK, where she worked for a variety of national and regional theatre, opera and dance companies, touring both nationally and internationally.