Michael Leigh

Michael Leigh, PhD

Adjunct Professor of European Studies

SAIS Europe
Bologna, Italy


  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • Energy Issues
  • European Union and Transatlantic Relations
  • European Union Foreign Policy
  • French
  • Italian

Background and Education

Senior Adviser, German Marshall Fund of the United States, Brussels, Belgium. Director-General for Enlargement of the European Commission (2006-2011); Deputy Director-General for External Relations (2003-2006); cabinet member and official, European Commission (1977-2003); Assistant Professor of International Relations, SAIS Bologna Center (1976-1977); Lecturer in International Relations University of Sussex (1974-1976). Erskine Fellow (2017) University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Wilton Park Advisory Council; Covington, Brussels, Senior Adviser.

His research, writing and public speaking focus on the future of the EU, Brexit, enlargement, neighborhood policy; Turkey's relations with the EU, Europe's response to political change in the Mediterranean and Middle East; energy questions in the eastern Mediterranean; public opinion and foreign policy. He also has an interest in Asia-Pacific and its relations with Europe.

He holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from M.I.T.

2017-06-27 00:00:00 
Spring 2018 
In this advance...
In this advanced seminar, Dr. Leigh will draw on his experience as a senior EU official to focus on the main challenges facing the European Union as well as predictions that these could prove fatal to the European project unless addressed.

The course will identify the conditions that permitted past initiatives to succeed, especially the single market and enlargement. It will then look at challenges including eurozone governance, migration, the rise of populist anti-EU parties, leadership failures, Brexit, and instability to the East and South in order to take an informed view about the EU's future prospects.

Classes will involve lectures, presentations by guest speakers, and inter-active sessions in which students will have an opportunity to participate.