About Me

My name is Biejan Poor Toulabi and I’m a Dutch diplomat working on international security issues. Prior to joining the foreign service, I spent over ten years in academia as a lecturer, program manager, and researcher. I completed my PhD in Political Science (International Relations) in 2021.

I have worked on issues related to chemical, biological, and nuclear (CBN) weapons since 2012. My scholarly interests include the history of and decision-making around state-run CBN weapons programs, the construction of knowledge about unconventional weapons, and, particularly, the ways in which we make meaning around and through such weapons.

My dissertation sits at the intersection of these issues, examining whether the popular view of chemical and biological weapons (CBWs) as ‘poor man’s atomic bombs’ makes sense. In short, I found that this conventional view has no basis in (empirical) reality, suffers from serious methodological shortcomings, and is, ultimately, caused by a dominant cognitive framework that primes analysts and policymakers to interpret the history and future of CBN weapons as being characterized by inevitable spread, particularly among the non-Western “Other.” The core arguments are also set out in a paper that was published in the Journal of Global of Security Studies.

Over the years, I have taught many hundreds of students in courses spanning topics such as international relations, international security, political ideologies, research methods, sociology, policy management, and have supervised bachelor and master’s theses as well.

Moreover, I’m a longstanding member (and past board member) of the Dutch chapter of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.