Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy Specialist

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Friso Stevens is a Chinese politics and foreign policy specialist at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, operating at the nexus between IR theory, military strategy, and China Studies.

At the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute in Florence, Friso is a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow focusing on Europe-China relations and EU Common Security and Defence Policy.

His primary research agenda pertains to the debate on the resurgence of China, its strategic implications for the broader Asia-Pacific, and how China’s quest for “national rejuvenation” is driven by socio-historical factors. Well-versed in Chinese elite politics, and autocratic popular mobilization, Friso has a knack for deciphering the intricacies of CCP propaganda and organizational doctrine.

In March 2023, Friso earned a Ph.D. Degree in International Relations from Leiden University defending his thesis titled “Chinese Assertiveness and the Rise of Xi Jinping: Ideational Mobilization, Elite Contestation, and the Struggle over Regional Order.”

Other research interests include US foreign policy; the changing global power configuration and world order; Dutch and European (economic) security; and Southeast Asian regionalism.

From 2017-2020, Friso was a Lecturer in Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, where he taught qualitative research courses, diplomacy in East Asia, and supervised Bachelor’s and Master’s theses.

Prior to that, Friso spent two years in Beijing studying Chinese politics and foreign policy at Peking University’s School of International Studies as a Sino-Dutch Bilateral Exchange Scholar and Prince Bernhard Culture Fund Fellow, earning a Master’s Degree in International Relations.

Friso started his academic career at the Law Faculty of the Vrije Universiteit, where he obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Law. He completed half of the latter degree at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago, where he specialized in International and Humanitarian Law.

Subsequently, Friso completed the interdisciplinary Master in Law and Politics of International Security, also at the Vrije Universiteit, in the course of which he conducted foreign policy research at its Political Science Department and at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C.