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Umut Yüksel

Umut Yüksel

The Graduate Institute, Geneva (Switzerland)


Umut Yüksel is a postdoctoral researcher in the Global Governance Center at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. He is currently involved in two research projects on why and how states use international adjudication and the conditions under which international courts provide focal points for state practice. Umut holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) and a Master's degree in International Relations/Political Science from the Graduate Institute, Geneva, where he also obtained his PhD in International Relations/Political Science in 2019 (summa cum laude). Prior to the completion of his PhD, Umut was a visiting researcher at Stanford University as a Swiss National Science Foundation fellow. In his PhD dissertation, he systematically examined how uncertainty in the law of the sea influenced the ways in which neighboring states contested and negotiated over their common maritime boundaries. He has published policy-related work on law of the sea matters in the National Interest and the LSE Blog. In addition to maritime boundary-making, Umut is broadly interested in examining how international law shapes patterns of interstate conflict and cooperation in various domains ranging from sovereignty to international trade and investment. Over the past two academic years, Umut has also served as a visiting lecturer at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, offering an introductory statistics course to graduate students in the Department of International Relations/Political Science.

Background and education

  • (2019) PhD in International Relations/Political Science, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
  • (2014) MA in International Relations/Political Science, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
  • (2012) Bachelor en sciences politiques, Université catholique de Louvain


  • 2018Doc.Mobility fellowship for a research stay at Stanford University (2018-2019 academic year)

Professional memberships & affiliations

  • Peace Science Society (International)
  • Swiss Political Science Association
  • International Studies Association


Research interests

  • International Law
  • International Security
  • International Organizations
  • Maritime Boundaries