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An international law scholar, Dr Ioana Cismas teaches, conducts research and provides legal and policy advice in public international law, human rights law, international humanitarian law, law and religion, and transitional justice. Ioana joined the York Law School and the Centre for Applied Human Rights as a senior lecturer in October 2017. In 2020, she was promoted to Reader. She is the joint programme leader of the LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice.

Ioana’s research is applied, interdisciplinary, collaborative and geared towards impact generation. Her work has attracted substantial research grants from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Network of International Studies (SNIS), and several non-governmental organisations and charities. Currently, she leads the ESRC-funded research project Generating Respect for Humanitarian Norms: The Influence of Religious Leaders on Parties to Armed Conflict, which draws on the theoretical framework developed in Religious Actors and International Law (OUP 2014). She also co-coordinates the SNIS-funded project Noma, The Neglected Disease. An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Its Realities, Burden, and Framing.

Prior to joining York, Ioana lectured at Stirling Law School (2015-2017), was a scholar-in-residence at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law (2014), and a research fellow at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (2009-2013). At the Geneva Academy, she set up and coordinated the Law Clinic on Transitional Justice.

Ioana consults for international, non - and governmental organizations. In 2013, she served as consultant to the UN Special Rapporteur on transitional justice at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. From 2009-2012, she was legal advisor to a member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council and drafted several studies for the Committee on discrimination in the context of the right to food and noma.

Ioana holds a PhD in International Law (summa cum laude) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.


  • 2012 
    The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, PhD in International Law