Our Rotary Peace Centre Director, Sebastian Kaempf, is an Associate Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies in the School of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) at UQ.

     Seb’s research addresses the legal and moral issues around the protection of civilians in combat zones and the role of information technology in world politics. He is the co-producer of ‘Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA took Hollywood’, which won best film documentary at the British International Film Festival in 2023. He is leading a cross-disciplinary team of UQ researchers to help the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, to address major challenges.

     Seb has taught many generations of Peace Fellows. He has won several awards, including the national Australian award for teaching excellence. Together with his colleague A/Prof Al Stark, he hosts the ‘HigherEd Heroes’ podcast, helping fellow educators implement small changes that have big impact on their students’ learning. 

     Seb oversees all Rotary program enquiries.

Researcher biography

Sebastian Kaempf is an Associate Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies at the School of Political Science and International Studies.

His expertise lies at the intersection between International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies, with specialization in the areas of international security, ethics and the laws of war, and information technology relating to global politics and violent conflict. Specifically, his research focuses on two areas:

The first concerns the relationship between ethics and the laws of war in the context of the transformation of violent conflict. Here, he is interested in the ways in which historic and contemporary wars - waged under conditions of asymmetry - have impacted on the relationship between the norms of casualty-aversion and civilian protection.

The second area focuses on the role a transforming global media landscape is playing in violent conflicts. Here, his research focuses on how historic and current conflicts are being waged in and through media and information technology, with a particular emphasis on the geopolitics of cyberspace, embedded news reporting, mass surveillance and big data mining, non-state armed groups, and the influence of the Pentagon and CIA in the entertainment sector.

Dr Kaempf received his PhD at the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University (UK). He holds a BSc and MSc (Econ) in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

He won the ISA Deborah Gerner Award for Teaching Innovation in 2020. In 2013, he won an Australian national award for teaching excellence (AAUT); in 2012, he won UQ and Faculty awards for teaching excellence. He is also the producer (with UQx and edX.com) and convenor of 'MediaWarX', one of UQ's Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): https://www.edx.org/course/global-media-war-technology-uqx-mediawarx-0

He was a visiting fellow/researcher at UGA in Athens, Georgia, Sao Paulo State University, Humboldt University in Berlin, Sciences Po Lyon, the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, The University of Sydney,and Brown University in Providence, US.

Together with his colleague A/Prof Al Stark, he hosts the podcast 'Higher Ed Heroes': https://www.buzzsprout.com/813707

And he is the co-producer of the award-winning film documentary 'Theatres of War: How the CIA and Pentagon took Hollywood': https://go.mediaed.org/theaters-of-war