Hi! I am Biejan Poor Toulabi, a political scientist, and I work on issues related to so-called ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (WMD). My research focuses on the history of and decision-making around state-run WMD programs and the construction of knowledge about nuclear weapons. I am also board member of the Dutch chapter of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.
My doctoral research project, which I expect to finish in 2020, focuses on unraveling the conditions under which states pursue and give up nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. This project is predicated on the assumption that a state’s decision to pursue or give up these weapons is shaped by a complex constellation of pressures and constraints. One of the major contributions of this project is the use of configurational Boolean methods such as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to assess which causal pathways lead to decisions of pursuit/acquisition and restraint. Secondly, I present a new overview of all state-run chemical and biological weapons program since World War II, with more than 60 comprehensive case descriptions. This data throws doubt on the popular view that chemcial and biological weapons are a ‘poor man’s atomic bomb’.
I have nearly a decade of teaching and management experience in higher education. Until the summer of 2017, I worked as a lecturer in International Relations at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where I also managed the BSc/MSc programs in Political Science and the LLM Law and Politics of International Security. Before that, I taught at Radboud University Nijmegen and gave public speaking trainings.
My academic and professional background is rather diverse. I received my bachelor in International Business Administration at Vrije Universiteit. During my undergraduate studies I worked as a management consultant in the steel industry. I also co-founded a non-profit that provided legal support and advice to Afghan 1F asylum seekers in the Netherlands and did a full-time board year at United Netherlands (a student-led foundation at Radboud University), where I taught my first university course (on the United Nations and multilateral diplomacy). After completing my bachelor, I followed a yearlong pre-master program in Political Science (cum laude) and went on to obtain an LLM in Law and Politics of International Security (cum laude).