Kristen Csenkey on her career steps and research on defence/security

Kristen Csenkey is a PhD Candidate in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo. She is a new member of the European Community Studies Association in Canada (ECSA-C) and agreed to participate in the interview series for young scholars.


What attracted you to the field of European Studies/ fascinated you about the EU?

The year 2016 was an interesting time to be in Europe, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. During that year, I worked at the Canadian Embassy to Hungary, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in Budapest. The complexities of the changing geopolitical situation were visible at a regional level. I went on to examine these complexities during my Masters degree. My research focused on nationalism and border security policies in Hungary. I am now part of the Defence and Security Foresight (DSF) Group’s European NATO Team. The DSF Group is led by Dr. Bessma Momani from the University of Waterloo. The Team explores regional challenges in Europe, including hybrid threats and domestic instability, with a focus on the implications for Canada’s approach to NATO collective defence.

What is the most important issue to be addressed in your research?

My research focuses on cyber governance, defence and security policy, cooperation, and hybrid warfare. Although I am interested in Canada’s role in the management of these issues, the implications are global. Defence and security cooperations, such as Europe-focused NATO and PESCO, must grapple with key challenge areas. These include emerging technologies, managing innovation, and the development of cyber capabilities and capacities, all while navigating an increasingly complex geopolitical environment. The governance of these key challenge areas is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

Kristen Csenkey is the 2020 Canadian Global Affairs Institute-Women in Defence and Security (WiDS) Fellow and a Junior Fellow with the Defence and Security Foresight Group at the University of Waterloo. Prior to this, she worked in Political Affairs at the Embassy to Hungary, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in Budapest. Kristen graduated from the University of Toronto, holds an MA in anthropology, and completed her Master of Applied Politics degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. 

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