Michael Hardy

Professor, Professor and Executive Director

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    Personal profile


    Professor Hardy was appointed as Director of the Centre for Social Relations, incorporating the Institute of Community Cohesion, in June 2011. He has, most recently taken responsibility for Coventry University’s new strategic work in Human Security. From 1995, Mike was a senior leader with the British Council responsible for the Council’s global programme for Intercultural Dialogue, youth engagement and global strategic partnerships.

    Mike is an applied economist by training and was Head of Economics and Public Policy at Leeds Metropolitan University before moving to a Chair in International Business at the University of Central Lancashire. His policy and research work in economics focused on local jobs plans and skills for development in local labour markets. In 1995, following work with the UK Government, British Council and European Commission, Mike moved full time to British Council to develop international work in intercultural relations.

    Following overseas postings in the Arab world and Asia, he was appointed to frame and lead British Council's global programme in intercultural dialogue. Through his leadership British Council’s work worldwide increased its emphasis on working with difference and with inter- and intra-community relations. His particular interest was with disconnected and underemployed young people particularly those affected by conflict and rapid change. His £34 million annual portfolio included British Council's international work with schools and skills, networks of young global citizens and capacity development within civil societies worldwide as well as supporting partnerships which help conflict and post-conflict contexts and people and communities in fragile states. In his leadership role he was active in evaluations and policy advocacy in international affairs and public diplomacy.

    As a thought leader at British Council he managed the corporate relationship with the World Bank and the World Bank Institute, the UK Department for International Development, and United Nations Alliance of Civilisation, Between 1997 and 2004 with the Palestinian Welfare Association, Mike led the innovative World Bank funded ‘Support to Non-governmental Organisations in the Palestinian Territories and prepared a major evaluation of Palestinian public sector management and the role of the Ministry of Planning and International Co-operation of the then Palestinian National Authority for UK DfID. Other major evaluations include UK public administration reform programmes in Cameroon (1995) EU technical assistance programmes in Siberia (1997), Tension Monitoring in pre-election Kenya (with University of Nairobi, 2012)

    In 2011, for Coventry University, Mike led the significant Safer Belfast Cohesion Mapping Project in partnership with the Belfast Community Safety Partnership and following this evaluation designed and launched a capacity enhancement programme on community-led Tension Monitoring in Belfast.

    In 2009, Mike was appointed as lead expert for ‘Identity’ for the Vodafone-sponsored new Future-Agenda Initiative. He was invited to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, 2011, Davos-Klosters. He continues to contribute to conferences, global discussions and applied research in intercultural dialogue, and cultural diversity. Mike has been active within the UN Alliance of Civilization organisation and led an active network session on the role of higher education in managing diversity at the Doha Forum in December 2011. In 2012 He was appointed as special adviser to the Government of Azerbaijan and led the design of the 2013 World Forum held in Baku.

    He was invited to speak at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale in October 2013, and is part of the leadership team for the new Coventry University Research Centre: Trust, Transformations and Peace.

    Mike was awarded the OBE in 2001 for his work in the Middle East, and was appointed a Companion of Honour of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours June 2010 for his work internationally in Intercultural Dialogue

    Research Interests

    The imperative of Intercultural dialogue; The Development of a European Index of Social Integration ; The impact of Foreign Policy Interventions on domestic cohesion

    External positions

    Board Member, London Hate Crime Commission

    1 Oct 2016 → …

    Vice-Chair, Board Director, International Leadership Association

    1 Sept 2015 → …

    Chair and Board Director, Rising Global Peace Forum, Coventry University

    1 Sept 2014 → …

    Senior Adviser, World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Azerbaijan

    2 Jun 2013 → …

    Trustee, The Faith and Belief Forum, UK

    1 Jul 2012 → …


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