Guy  Burton Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Guy Burton

Adjunct Professor
Vesalius College

I teach and write on international affairs. My current research focus is on rising powers and their interaction with the politics and international relations of the Middle East. I have been fortunate to work and teach across the region, from Palestine to the Kurdish region in Iraq and the UAE via Malaysia, before arriving at my present residence, in Belgium.


I am currently an Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at Vesalius College Brussels and a Fellow of the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation (SEPAD) project based at Lancaster University’s Richardson Institute. Previously I was a Visiting Fellow at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2018-19 and have also held teaching and research positions at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government in Dubai, Nottingham University's Malaysia Campus, the University of Kurdistan-Hewler in Iraq and Birzeit University in Palestine.

Currently, my research focus is on the role of rising powers and the Middle East. Beyond these actors, I am also interested in the politics and international relations of the region more generally.

I came to the topic of rising powers in the Middle East after exploring the activity of "non-traditional" donors in Palestine while I was at Birzeit University. I arrived at Birzeit after completing my PhD in Government at the LSE, where I wrote a dissertation on the relationship between ideology and public policy through the experience of Latin America (another region of interest, especially Brazil). My turn towards academia followed several years during which I worked in the UK Parliament and public sector after graduating from the LSE (again!) in 1998.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Rising Powers
    International Relations
    Comparative Politics
    Middle East Politics and International Relations
    Latin American Politics


Featured Title
 Featured Title - China and Middle East Conflicts (Burton) - 1st Edition book cover


British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

Political time and leadership in the Middle East: an analysis of 22 prominent leaders

Published: Jul 20, 2020 by British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Authors: Guy Burton

Who are the most notable and successful political leaders in the Middle East? Employing the concept of political time and through a survey of textbooks and popular history books relating to the region, 22 prominent individuals are identified in the modern period (i.e. since 1800) and their record studied, using the framework. The article also quantifies their impact in development and public spending terms for those where data is available.

Journal of Arabian Studies

What Influence do Advisory Assemblies Have? A Print Media Analysis of the UAE’s Federal National Council between 2011 and 2015

Published: Oct 09, 2019 by Journal of Arabian Studies
Authors: Guy Burton

Through a media analysis of the Federal National Council's activity in the UAE in 2011-15, the article examines whether the body is a “transformative” and “active” assembly (i.e. it makes legislation and policy) or is it an “arena” and “reactive” assembly (i.e. it focuses on public debate and policy influence.

Confluences Méditerranée

China and the Palestinian-Israel Conflict

Published: Jul 23, 2019 by Confluences Méditerranée
Authors: Guy Burton

The article examines whether China can make a difference to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

Chinese Conflict Management in Libya, Syria and Yemen after the Arab Uprisings

Published: Apr 03, 2019 by Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
Authors: Guy Burton

The article examines China's approach to conflict management in the three cases of Libya, Syria and Yemen. It finds: Chinese wariness at protest in the three countries; rhetorical appeals for political dialogue between government and opposition and national unity; deference to powerful external actors with interests in the conflict-affected state; and a willingness to pursue commercial opportunities, which advantage some actors and marginalize others.

Sociology of Islam

Explaining Beijing’s shift from active to passive engagement in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict

Published: Apr 15, 2016 by Sociology of Islam
Authors: Guy Burton

The article situates China's shift from support for Palestinian insurgency in the 1960s to diplomatic recognition of Israel and support for the two-state solution in the 1990s by looking at Beijing's wider global relationships, in particular its move from being "outside" to "inside" the international system and organisations like the UN.

Middle East Critique

Assessing Palestinian economic exchange across the Green Line

Published: Jan 14, 2016 by Middle East Critique
Authors: Guy Burton

The article examines Palestinian economic exchange across the Green Line and finds current interactions are insufficient to realize economic self-determination because of: (1) ongoing political uncertainty; (2) the small scale nature of Palestinian capital and entrepreneurship; (3) the structural imbalance between a low cost Palestinian economy and high value Israeli economy; and (4) individual self-interest trumping national solidarity among Palestinian firms.

Third World Quarterly

Building Ties across the Green Line: The Palestinian 15 March youth movement in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2011

Published: Dec 20, 2015 by Third World Quarterly
Authors: Guy Burton

In 2011 Palestinian youth joined together across the Green Line, to challenge to the elite, Oslo consensus. The movement drew inspiration from the concurrent Arab Spring and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, organising joint demonstrations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. However, the movement struggled to develop as a result of challenges regarding its objectives, strategy and representation, and of external threats from Israel and Palestinian political elites.

Journal of Policy Practice

An end to poverty in Brazil? An assessment of the Lula and Rousseff governments’ poverty reduction and elimination strategies

Published: Jun 14, 2013 by Journal of Policy Practice
Authors: Guy Burton

The article examines the nature and extent of poverty reduction strategies in the developing world generally and in Brazil in particular. The implementation of neoliberal economic development and social policies has resulted in a relative decline in levels of relative poverty and encouraged policy makers that poverty elimination is within sight (through the Brasil sem Miséria program). However, the results of such policies have been mixed and are contingent and will arguably remain so.

Disability & Society

Inclusion or Transformation? An early assessment of an empowerment project for disabled people in occupied Palestine

Published: Apr 26, 2013 by Disability & Society
Authors: Guy Burton, Imad Sayrafi, and Shatha Abu Srour

Can disabled people become advocates in occupied Palestine? This article presents findings from a current three-year project. It examines the environmental, attitudinal and institutional barriers faced by disabled people and the activities being undertaken to challenge social discrimination. The article considers the project in relation to liberation theory and the struggle by young disabled Palestinians to achieve social inclusion – and eventually social transformation.

Conflict, Security & Development

The use and limitations of conflict analysis: The case of the UNDP in the occupied Palestinian territory

Published: Sep 28, 2012 by Conflict, Security & Development
Authors: Guy Burton

The article examines the UN's conflict-related development analysis (CDA) and its application in the occupied Palestinian territory. It reveals the CDA's main limitations including an emphasis on conflict management (as opposed to conflict reduction), the choice of (neo-liberal) development model, prioritisation of particular partners over others (i.e. ‘state’ over non-state) and an erroneous assumption of neutrality.

Third World Quarterly

Hamas and its Vision of Development

Published: Apr 25, 2012 by Third World Quarterly
Authors: Guy Burton

This article examines the Palestinian Islamist party, Hamas and its position on development, which can be seen in either two ways: 1) as similar to mainstream neoliberal development; or 2) as an alternative type of development. Which view taken depends on whether an Orientalist or non-Orientalist approach to understanding development is employed. The article applies this to Hamas's foundation 1987 document, its 2006 election manifesto and control of Gaza since mid-2007.

Latin American Perspectives

Hegemony and Frustration: Education policy making in Chile under the Concertación, 1990-2010

Published: Mar 14, 2012 by Latin American Perspectives
Authors: Guy Burton

The study of the education sector in Chile shows a shift in the Concertación government’s approach to participation from market (1980s) to weak representative (i.e., involvement of organized groups) (1990–2006 and since 2007) and deliberative (2006) forms. The reasons for this shift include the relative strength of (right-wing) political actors in representative institutions such as Congress and the weakness of (left-wing) social actors in organizational and electoral terms.

International Review of Education

Flaying Freire? The Workers’ Party and education policy in Brazil 1980-2007

Published: Jan 24, 2012 by International Review of Education
Authors: Guy Burton

This article analyses the progression of education policy by the Workers’ Party (PT) in Brazil from its experience of municipal administration to national government.


Rising Powers and Regional Dimensions

Published: Jul 11, 2020

China's challenges in Syria's reconstruction

Published: Jan 07, 2019