Dr. Irena Kalhousová is Head of The Herzl Center for Israeli Studies and an Assistant Professor at Charles University. Before joining the faculty, Irena was an analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya in Israel, a chief analyst at the Prague Security Studies Institute, and Head of the Middle-Eastern programme at the Association for International Affairs in Prague. Since 2008, she is an analyst and a member of the programme committee at the Foundation Forum2000.
Irena specializes in Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and in relations between Central European countries and Israel. In her PhD thesis, she looked at relations between Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Israel. Using IR theory which builds on constructivism, historical analysis, and politics of memory, she analysed historical roots of foreign policies of the three Central European countries towards Israel. In her current research, she examines how politicians in Central European countries use and misuse traumatic past experiences to justify foreign policy positions.
Irena is the author of articles and book chapters focused mostly on security and foreign policy in the Middle East and Central Europe. She also wrote expert analyses for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. She regularly appears as an expert on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Czech and international media.
• CURRENT POSITIONS
2019 Head of the Herzl Center for Israel Studies, Charles University, CZ
- Direct an internationally recognized, university-wide research and teaching center focused on modern Israel and relations between Israel and Central European countries. Teach and design both graduate and undergraduate courses. Moderate and organize academic workshops and public discussions. Responsibility for the Center’s further development, PR, and fundraising.
2019 Assistant Professor, Department of International Studies and Department of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, CZ
- Israel: Politics and Society (undergraduate)
- The Israeli-Arab Conflict (undergraduate)
- Israel’s Foreign Policy (undergraduate)
- History, Memory, and Politics: Central Europe and Israel (graduate)
2020 Research Fellow, Peace Research Center Prague: Center of Excellence Focused on the prevention, management, and transformation of conflicts in world politics, Charles University, CZ
- Write academic papers and analyses on Israel and Europe-Israeli relations.
• RESEARCH GRANTS
2022-2026 PRIMUS: A four-year research grant, Charles University, CZ
Interdisciplinary research at the intersection of foreign policy and memory politics focused on how traumatic events affect international relations of European states.
- Primary Investigator: Lead an international, seven-member research team.
- Topic: “The Past is Present: The Use and Misuse of Traumatic Historical Events in Foreign Policy.”
- Budget: $490.000
2020-2023 e-NOTE: European Network on Teaching Excellence, funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Framework
Research focused on “teaching excellence” in Higher Education in the EU. In cooperation with six universities across Europe.
- Research Fellow: Develop best practices in the field of online and offline teaching
2014 - 2019 Ph.D. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Department of International Relations
Thesis Title: Our Jews, our Israel: Origins of the Foreign Policy of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary Towards Israel, Supervisor Dr Federica Bicchi
2006 - 2007 M.Phil. University of Cambridge, UK
Department of International Relations and European Studies
Thesis title: EU-Israeli Bilateral Relations, Supervisor: Prof Christopher Hill
2001 - 2005 B.A. Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel
Department of Political Science
• ACADEMIC TRAINING
2020 Teaching with Impact, The Israeli Institute, USA
A three-day workshop designed for scholars who teach about modern Israel.
2015 – 2016 Postgraduate Certificate (Associate Level) in Higher Education,
London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
Modules completed: Developing Teaching Practice, Supporting Students Learning, Course Evaluation and Quality Frameworks
2016 ECPR Winter School in Methods and Techniques, Bamberg, Germany
Course attended: Comparative Historical Analysis
2022 (one week) An Academic Exchange mission to Israel and the Palestinian Territories
2021 (one month) Summer Institute for Israel Studies, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University, Boston, USA
2018 (three months) European University Institute, Florence, Italy
2013 (six months) Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel
Masaryk Distinguished Chair
2018 Nortia Scholarship, EU (€2000)
2017 The Sir Patrick Gilliam Scholarship Fund, LSE, UK (£2000)
2016 Santander Travel Grant, LSE, UK (£2000)
2015 Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, USA ($5000)
2021 Golden Course Faculty Teaching Award for the best undergraduate course, Charles University, CZ
• WORKING EXPERIENCE - TEACHING
2015 - 2018 Graduate Teaching Assistant, London School of Economics, Department of Government, UK
Course taught: Political Systems in Europe
2007 - 2012 Lecturer, Anglo-American University, Prague, CZ
Courses taught: The EU-Israel Relations, The Arab-Israeli Conflict, The History of European Integration, Institutions of the EU
• WORKING EXPERIENCE - ANALYTICAL
2013 – 2014 Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv, Israel
Research Fellow: Writing of analysis and research papers on the Middle East and security.
2010 - 2013 Prague Security Studies Institute, Prague, Czech Republic
Chief Analyst: Writing of analysis and research papers on the Middle East, security and transatlantic relations for, e.g., Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior; managing research projects; organizing and chairing conferences; teaching and tutoring securities studies students.
2009 - 2010 Association for International Affairs, Prague, Czech Republic
Head of the Middle East Program, Analyst: Managing projects on the Middle East and the foreign policy of the EU; writing of analysis and research papers.
• WORKING EXPERIENCE – MISCALENOUS
2003 – to date TV, Radio, and Printed and Electronic Media
Broadcasting Commentator & Analyst: Making live commentaries covering Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and current Middle Eastern affairs; writing commentaries (44 live appearance in 2019, 49 in 2020, 54 in 2021).
2009 – to date Foundation Forum 2000, Prague, Czech Republic - Founded by Václav Havel
Member of the Program Committee: organizing and chairing the panels.
2008 - 2009 Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Prague, Czech Republic
Project Coordinator: Performing conceptual and organizational preparation of the activities and publications of the HBS during the Czech presidency of the European Council; reporting about the political development in the Czech Republic.
02/2005 - 07/2005 Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel
Processing Pages of Testimonies that commemorate those who perished during the Shoah.
- 2021, Kalhousová, Irena, „Ženy v izraelské společnosti,” [Women in Israeli Society] Nový Orient, 74(3), pp. 50-60.
- 2020, Kalhousová, Irena & Stela Rubínová, “The Visegrád Group and Its Voting Patterns on the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian Conflict in the UN General Assembly,” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, 14(3), pp. 457-475.
- 2015, Kalhousová, Irena, “Relations between Israel and the Czech Republic: From Sentiment to Pragmatism?” Strategic Assessment, 18(3), pp. 93-104.
- 2013, Kalhousová, Irena, „Íránský jaderný program: nástroj domácí a zahraniční politiky,“ [Iranian nuclear programme: A domestic and foreign policy tool] Vojenské rozhledy, 22(54), pp. 42-57.
Book Chapters (peer-reviewed)
- 2021, Kalhousová, Irena, „Írán: skryté soupeření a hybridní operace,“ [Iran: hidden rivalries and hybrid operations] In: Vzestup a podoby hybridní války, Eds. Kurfürst, Jaroslav a Jan Paďourek, Academia, ISBN: 978-80-200-3237-9.
- 2016, Kalhousová, Irena, “Unwilling to Succeed: The Czech Position on U.S. Missile Defense – Between Strategy and Public Political Debate,” In: Arms Control and Strategic Stability in the Middle East and Europe, Eds. Landau Emily & Anat Kurz Tel Aviv.
- 2013, Kalhousová, Irena, „Nahý v trní: aneb pozice Izraele v proměněném arabském světě,“ [Israel after the Arab Spring] In: Arabské revoluce: Demokratické výzvy, politický islám a geopolitické dopady, Ed. Beránek, Ondřej, Academia, ISBN: 978-80-200-2298-1.
Working papers (peer-reviewed)
- 2020, Kalhousová, Irena, Láska či pragmatismus. Vztahy České republiky, Polska a Maďarska k Izraeli, [Pragmatism or Love? Polish, Czech, and Hungarian Relations towards Israel] New Directions.
- 2017, Kalhousová, Irena, „Idee a praxe české zahraniční politiky,“ [Ideas and Practices in the Czech Foreign Policy] In: Maximum možného? 25 let samostatné české a slovenské zahraniční politiky, Eds. Dostál, Vít & Grigorij Mesežnikov, Kultbüro Sachsen e.V.
- 2009, Kalhousová, Irena, “The Hopelessness of the Middle East Peace Process,” The New Presence (2).
Work in progress
- Kalhousová, Irena, “Realpolitik, Ideas, and the Past: The Sources of Special Relations between Israel and Central Europe,” Routledge Handbook on Israel’s Foreign Relations, (forthcoming 2023).
- Kalhousová, Irena, Our Jews, Our Israel! Origins of the Foreign Policy of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary towards Israel (Book manuscript sent to university presses in the UK).
- Kalhousová, Irena, “Dissident Past and Divergent Present: How Dissident Legacy Influences Diplomacy with Israel,” (Advanced draft), with Michal Onderčo.
Writings for general public
- 2022, Kalhousová, Irena, „Izrael se zlobí na Lavrova. Ale myslet bude hlavně na to, jak se vyhnout konflikty s Moskvou,“ Hospodářské noviny, 5.5.
- 2022, Kalhousová, Irena, „Proč je Izrael tak opatrný v podpoře Ukrajiny a odsouzení Ruska?“ Hospodářské noviny, 9.3.
- 2021, Kalhousová, Irena, „Populista Netanjahu – jedna z příčin současného konfliktu,” Hospodářské noviny, 18.5.
- 2020, Kalhousová, Irena, „Referendum proti Netanjahuovi skončilo patem,” Deník E15, 5.3.
- 2020, Kalhousová, Irena, „Kdo rozumí Izraeli ví, že není jen zlý nebo hodný,” Hospodářské noviny, 27.5.
- 2020, Kalhousová, Irena, „Palestinci přicházejí o jedno z posledních es,” Hospodářské noviny, 17.8.
- 2020, Kalhousová, Irena, „Na Blízkém východě možná vzniká koalice proti politickému islámu,” Hospodářské noviny, 6.11.
- 2017, Kalhousová, Irena, “What Should Bibi Know before Landing in Budapest for the V4 summit?,” Visegrad Insight, 11.7.
- 2015, Kalhousová, Irena & Pavlína Schulz, “The Wingmen: A Story of Czechoslovak Pilots and Air-Force Technicians in the Service of Israel.” The Times of Israel, 20.4.
- 2014, Kalhousová, Irena, „Izrael v proměnách času,“ Prostor, 103/104, pp. 155-175.
• CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
2022 European Association for Israel Studies, Oxford, UK
Conference Paper: “Czech Attitudes towards Israel: Public Opinion vs Foreign Policy.“
2022 Association of Israel Studies, Bar Ilan, Israel
Conference Paper: “Dissident Past and Divergent Present: How Dissident Legacy Influences Diplomacy with Israel.”
2021 European International Studies Association, via Zoom
Conference Paper: Populist Politics of Memory and Foreign Relations: Polish-Israeli Relations through a Theoretical Lens.
2019 European Association for Israeli Studies, Charles University, CZ
Conference Paper: The Visegrad Four and Israel – Much Ado About Nothing?
2019 Association of Israeli Studies, Kinneret College, Israel
Conference Paper: Polish and Hungarian relations towards Israel: From an Admiration of a Start-up Nation to respect for an Ethnic Nation?
2018 Council for European Studies, Graduate Workshop, University of Chicago, USA
Paper: The Meaning of Israel in the Foreign Policy of Central European Countries: A Theoretical Outline
2016 ECPR Graduate Student Conference, Tartu, Estonia
Conference Paper: A Representation of the Historical Legacy in the Polish Foreign Policy towards Israel
2016 European Association of Israel Studies, Graduate Workshop, SOAS, London, UK
Conference Paper: Strange Bedfellows? History and Foreign Policy Analysis
2016 Association for Israeli Studies, Jerusalem, Israel
Conference Paper: A Representation of the Historical Legacy in the Czech Foreign Policy Towards Israel
Courses taught in the academic year 2022-23:
- Israel: Politics and Society (winter term)
- The Israeli-Arab/Palestinian Conflict (winter term)
- History, Memory, and Politics: Central Europe and Israel (winter term)
- Israel’s Foreign Policy (summer term)