Mohammad Salman

Mohammad Salman

  • Pleinlaan 2

    1050 Brussels


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Personal profile


Mohammad SALMAN is Professor at the Department of Political Science (POLI), Senior researcher at the Institute for European Studies (IES), and Head of academic programme at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He hold a Ph.D. in International Relations from the Department of Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2015), entitled ‘Strategic Hedging and Second-tier States: The Case of China’s Strategic Hedging'.

His research interests centre on the great powers’ politics under unipolarity, China-Middle East relations, China-U.S. relations, and the development of 'Strategic Hedging' as a new theory in International Relations. He has published his research in a number of journals, including Asian Politics & PolicyChinese Political Science Review, and China Report. He is also a reviewer for several international academic journals such as International Political Science ReviewPacific ReviewThird World Quarterly, and International Journal of Emerging Markets.

He has established and led a programme to bring highly educated refugees on the fast track to a better future at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) (from December 2015 till August 2017). He has been invited as an expert and a moderator in several conferences and seminars to discussion the role of public authorities in facilitating access to higher education to refugee students and staff, and how universities can organize themselves on the ground.

Mohammad Salman currently works on research projects and prepares publications on Integration of Refugees in the EU. He is also a consultant for the European Commission in related to higher education refugees programmes and a member of the Advisory Board for a research project organized by ACA, DAAD and EDUFI under H2020’s Science4Refugees. 



A full list of publications can be found here.


  • Kizilkaya, Z., Hamdi, S. & SALMAN, Mohammad (2021), "THE PYD/YPG IN THE SYRIAN CONFLICT Aspirations for Autonomy in North-eastern Syria," 15 Jul 2021, Brussels School of Governance.
  • Kizilkaya, Z., Hamdi, S. & SALMAN, Mohammad (2021), "THE SYRIAN CONFLICT AFTER A DECADE: THE SURVIVAL STRATEGY OF DAMASCUS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE EU," 26 Mar 2021, Brussels School of Governance.
  • SALMAN, Mohammad & Kizilkaya, Z. (2021), "Turkey as a ‘subject’ in regional politics and its implications for the European Union", paper presented at the Annual Academic Meetings of the Social Sciences Division & the Business, Economics and Law Division, organized by the Athens Institute for Education and Research 26-29 July 2021, Athens, Greece.
  • SALMAN, Mohammad & De Sutter, C. J. (2021), "PESCO and the European Union's hedging strategy against the United States", paper presented at 1EUIA21 Conference at the session: THU01-R06: Institutional Dynamics in EU Defence, 26-28 MAY 2021, Brussel, Belgium.
  • SALMAN, Mohammad & Kizilkaya, Z. (2021), "Turkish public policies during and after conflicts in Syria and its implications for the refugee flow to Europe", paper presented at the conference ‘Governance of Public Policies During and After Conflicts in the Middle East’, organized by the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, 4-6 April 2021, Doha, Qatar.


  • HAMDI, Sofie., and SALMAN, Mohammad (2020), "The Hedging Option of Small Arab Gulf States", Asian Politics & Policy, Vol. 12, No, (2): pp. 127-152.

  • Stoffelen, Karen., and SALMAN, Mohammad (2020), "Determinants of the Recognition of Foreign Certificates in Flanders", Refugee Survey Quarterly, Vol. 39, No, (2): pp 207–243.

  • SALMAN, Mohammad & Kizilkaya, Z. (2020), "Turkish Policies in Northern Syria and its Implications for the Refugee Flow to Europe", paper presented at 14th Annual International Conference on Global Studies, organized by the Athens Institute for Education and Research, 18-21 December 2020, Athens, Greece.


  • Vander Vennet, Nikolas., and SALMAN, Mohammad (2019), "Strategic Hedging and Changes in Geopolitical Capabilities for Second-Tier States", Chinese Political Science Review, Vol. 4, No, (1): pp. 86-134.
  • SALMAN, Mohammad., and BIRCAN, Tuba (2019), "Refugee Students’ Experience with the European Higher Education System. A Belgian Case Study," Policy papers Issue 2019/01 • January 2019, published by the Institute for European Studies.


  • SALMAN, Mohammad (2018), "Positive and Negative Power, New Concepts to Understand Hedging Behavior under the Unipolarity", paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Global Discourse and Chinese Experience, organized by the Institute of Chinese Marxism Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), November 29 to December1, 2018, Shanghai, China.

  • SALMAN, Mohammad (2018), "The ‘Welcome Student-Refugees Program’: An Analysis of the Interviews", paper presented at the RC04 session titled “Escaping Routes: Educational, Cultural and Economic Issues in Refugee Populations’ Integration in the Host Countries”, the XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, 15-21 July, Toronto, Canada.

  • BIRCAN, Tuba & SALMAN, Mohammad (2018), "Syrian Refugee Youth Seeking Hope: Educational Aspirations and Integration of Refugee Youth in Belgium", paper presented at the RC04 session titled “Escaping Routes: Educational, Cultural and Economic Issues in Refugee Populations’ Integration in the Host Countries”, the XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, 15-21 July, Toronto, Canada.




  • SALMAN, MohammadPIEPER, Moritz GEERAERTS, Gustaaf (2015). Hedging in the Middle East and China-U.S. Competition, Asian Politics & Policy, Vol. 7, No, (4):pp. 575-596.
  • SALMAN, Mohammad & GEERAERTS, Gustaaf (2015). Strategic Hedging and China's Economic Policy in the Middle East, China Report, Vol. 51, No, (2): pp. 102-120.
  • SALMAN, Mohammad (2015). Strategic Hedging and Unipolarity's Demise: The Case of China's Strategic Hedging, paper presented at the Conference "Power: Back to the Future?", April 29, Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
  • SALMAN, Mohammad (2015). Strategic Hedging and Balancing Model under the Unipolarity, paper presented at Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA 2015), April 16-19, Chicago, USA.



  • SALMAN, Mohammad & GEERAERTS, Gustaaf (2013). The Impact of Strategic Hedging on the Foreign Politics of Great Powers: The Case of Chinese Energy Strategy in the Middle East, Paper presented at 7th China Goes Global Conference, September 25-27, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
  • SALMAN, Mohammad & ZAHID, Farhan (2013). Turkey Faces Security Challenges and Political Dilemmas in the Syrian Conflict, The Jamestown Foundation/TM, Vol. 11, No. 22


Invited Talks:

2017, invitation from the Jonge Academie in Belgium to participate in the Conference ‘Students & Refugees: What Next?’ organised by the Flemish Students’ Union, on 8 November 2017, in Paleis der Academiën, Hertogstraat 1, Brussels.

2017, invitation from the European Resettlement Network (ERN) to participate in a roundtable discussion on higher education scholarship programmes as a pathway of refugee admission to Europe, with a focus on the Dutch national context, on 26 October 2017 in The Hague.

 2017, invitation from the European Commission to participate in the policy workshop on "the future of migration in Europe" in the European Commission's Joint Research Centre n collaboration with the European Commission's Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography, on 16 October 2017, at the Management Centre Europe (MCE), Rue de l'Aqueduc 118, 1050  Brussels.

2017, invitation from the European Commission to participate as a speaker in the conference on "Higher education and Refugees in the Mediterranean region" in the broader discussion about the practical ways to ease access of refugee students and teachers to higher education during the session entitled "Easing access to higher education: scholarship schemes and beyond" on 26 and 27 September 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Beirut, Lebanon.

2017, invitation from the European University Association EUA to participate in the workshop on "Refugees in European Higher Education: Exchange, networking and synergies" to bring together mainly Brussels based organisations and institutions involved in policies and activities to integrate refugees into European higher education, on 22 September 2017, Brussels.

2017, Key note speech about Higher Education of refugees at workshop ‘De wisselwerking tussen Personen- en Familierecht en Onderwijsrecht’ op 14 September 2017 in de Faculteit Rechten van de Universiteit Hasselt, Belgium.

2017, key note speech and present the Refugee Welcome Programme of the VUB during the public event ‘Refugees in the art sector & academia’, organized by the Jonge Academie (the young academy of Flanders) and UAF-Scholars at Risk, 4 July 2017, at the Palace of the Academies in Brussels.

2017, key note speech during the public conference event linked to the ACADEMIC REFUGE staff training co-organised by UNICA, SAR, University of Oslo and the University of Ljubljana, from 19-23 June 2017 at the University of Oslo.

2017, Invitation from The Jonge Academie (Young Academy of Belgium) to participate as a speaker in "Meeting refugee scholars, scientists, students & artists", on 17 March 2017, Palace of the Academies, Brussels.

2017, Invitation from The European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation to participate as a speaker in the Science4Refugees (S4R) workshop "European Research with a view to integrating refugees" from 15-16 March 2017 in Brussels.

2017, Invitation from German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to participate as a speaker in the workshop "Perspectives for Syrian Students: Higher Education Scholarships for Refugees", 31 January 2017 in Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the European Union, Rue Jacques de Lalaing 8-14, 1040 Brussels.

2016, Key note speech at the 3rd UNICA EduLab Conference, the presentation entitled "Higher education in times of crisis – Integration of refugees in universities: The case of Vrije Universiteit Brussel".  Given at the third UNICA EduLab 15-16 December 2016. Hosted by Roma Tre University in cooperation with Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”.

2016, Invitation by the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) to attend the project of Middle East Research and Innovation Dialogue (MERID). This event will serve to discuss the obstacles in cooperation between the EU and the Middle Eastern countries and in particular, how to develop a framework for strengthening the STI enabling factors. Hosted by the CNRS (at its premises Jnah, Beirut), 1-2 December 2016.

2016, Presentation of needs seen from staff for ‘Hosting refugees and threatened academics on campus’, Given at the ACADEMIC REFUGE project workshop 17-18 Oct 2016, Oslo.

2016, a speaker in the closing panel of the seminar about crisis management, its international aspect, and how universities can best respond to or prepare for crises. Given at ‘ACA European Policy Seminar - Crisis management in international higher education', Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), 13 October 2016 in Brussels.

2016, Key note speech about a new challenge for European Universities, “Discussion: What is the role of public authorities in easing access to higher education to refugee students and staff? How can universities organise themselves on the ground?”. Given at the third policy dialogue on higher education with Southern Mediterranean countries (European Commission), in Brussels, 12-13 July, 2016.

2016, Key note speech about the question of recognition of qualifications held by refugees “Access and integration of refugee students. The case of Vrije Universiteit Brussel”. Given at the annual meeting of all recognition centres of the national administration in Europe (ENIC and NARIC centres), in Amsterdam, June 19-21, 2016.

2016 “Description of the University Task Force Coordinating Refugee Support at VUB: background, aims, activities, achievements & milestones so far, expected future outcomes,” Given at European University Association (EUA) webinar: Access and integration of refugee students in European higher education, March 23, 2016.

2016 “Conflicts in Syria from an International Law and Political Science perspective,” Given at the Day of Light, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), March 18, 2016.

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D. Political Science (International Relations), Vrije Universiteit Brussel

8 Sep 20118 Sep 2015


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