Contact Dr Anicee Van Engeland


Prior to joining Cranfield University in 2016, Anicée (Anisseh) worked at Cardiff, University of Exeter, SOAS and McGill University. Her main research interests are the study of the relations between international law and Islamic law looking at security and defence, with a niche expertise in Iranian affairs.

At Cranfield University, Anicée is the lead campaign for the security and resilience hub and is the Assistant Deputy to the Director of Research. Prior to 2022, she was the deputy to the academic director for the defence engagement programme "Managing Defence in the Wider Security Context" programme (UK MoD) and the leader of the 'Security and Society' Grand Challenge

Anicée holds a PhD in Islamic Studies, Politics and Law from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris (2006). She graduated in law from Paris II Assas and furthered her studies with three masters: a masters in law from Harvard Law School (2004), a masters in international relations from Paris II Assas (2002) and a masters in Iranian studies from Paris III Sorbonne.

She has been a visiting academic at Oxford University's Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Universite Paris Dauphine, Westminster University, Institute of Ismaili Studies, European University Institute, the Tehran Middle East Center, University of Westminster, Trento University and, Nagoya University. She has been a guest teacher at George Marshall Center, University of Tehran, Université de Nice and Tehran Azad University.

Research opportunities

Anicée’s research is on the relations between Islam and international law, with a focus on human rights. She works on the whole Muslim world, with an expertise on Iran and Afghanistan. Anicee examines strategies to reconcile Islamic law and international law to avoid the fragmentation of international law, working at the intersections of governance, rule of law, human rights and humanitarian law. She has developed other domains of research located at the intersection of law, religion and culture such as technology (AI, cyber, human augmentation…) as relevant to security and defence.

Anicée was the recipient of a 2022 UKRI Policy Support Fund to fund a research project on security and society. She was also awarded a 2021 British Academy writing workshop grant to develop a research project entitled 'Rethinking Liberal Peace through 'Southern' Eyes'. She was associated to a UKRI grant awarded in 2023. She was the co-recipient of a Midlands Innovation grant in 2019: along with Professor Rebecca Gould, she created a research network in Islamic studies for the Midlands. She received a SOAS internal cross-disciplinary research grant in 2015 to theorise the reconciliation between the State and Sharia in a western context, a Higher Education Academy grant to implement a new teaching pedagogy in Islamic law, a two Higher Education Funding Council for England grants for research-informed teaching. Anicée was also involved in the Swiss Initiative to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR. She has received several small grants to work in Iran such as the Arthur C. Helton Fellowship provided by the American Society for International Law, or the Institut Français de Relations Internationales. She has been the recipient of small research grants funded by the Irmgard Coninx Stiftung Institute and Institute for Migration and the Hague Academy of International Law.

Thanks to her work with the UK MOD and the UK FCDO, Anicée delivers on topics linked to security sector reforms. She works around the world (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia or the Caribbean), teaching the armed forces, police forces, judiciary and civil society. As a result, she has advised Ukrainian military and civilian leaders working in the Donbas and has assisted the Ukrainian MOD in passing laws on combat prior to the Russian invasion in 2022. She has also been consulted about police-military cooperation from a legal perspective in the Caribbean.

Before being an academic, Anicée was a human rights worker and aid worker. She still acts as a consultant for NGOs and international organisations, providing training and analysis, mainly in the field of Islamic law. She acts as an expert witness to courts in the UK, the US, Norway and the Netherlands, mostly in the field of immigration law. She has addressed the United Nations at several side-events during the Human Rights Council in Geneva. She has also spoken at the Iranian Parliament.

is an editor for the Journal of the Contemporary Study of Islam, an editor for the Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and an associate editor for the Muslim World Journal of Human Rights. Past positions include being a member of the Midlands Innovations’ Steering Committee (2019-2022), being on the Steering Committee for Overseas Development Institute's project Global History Project-Middle East (2012-14), being a council member for the British Association for Islamic Studies (2011-2016) and being a member of advisory board of the Irmgard Coninx Foundation in Berlin (2006-2014).

Anicée welcomes PhD and masters' students working in the field of human rights, humanitarian law, constitutional law, governance, rule of law, Islamic law and Iranian affairs.


  • Ministry of Defence
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office
  • United Nations


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers