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Professor Helen Yanacopulos

Helen Yanacopulos

Profile summary

  • Discipline Convenor
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Polis, Phil, Econ, Dev, Geog
  • Development
  • h.yanacopulos

Professional biography

Helen received her BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia. She worked in finance in the corporate and the not-for-profit sectors before returning to complete an MA in Development Studies at the University of East Anglia. Since completing a PhD in Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge in 2000, she has been at the Open University. She has been a consultant for various international organisations, and has acted as Academic Consultant on the BBC productions African School, Syrian School, Comic Relief, the Reith Lectures, as well as the critically acclaimed series ‘Why Poverty?’

Research interests

Helen’s research interests bridge the fields of International Politics and International Development and are focused on explanations of how non-state actors influence poverty and inequality.  Specifically, she examines social justice focused and digitally enabled networks of NGOs, social movements and civil society involved in:  political mobilization and political action; global justice networks; transnational governance; and the construction and representation of International Development.  Her most recent book (2016) is International NGO Engagement, Advocacy, Activism.  The Faces and Spaces of Change 

Teaching interests

Helen received the ‘Open University’s Teaching Excellence Award’ in 2003.  
She was the Environment, Development and International Studies Programme Director between 2010-2012 and was the Qualification Director for the MSc in Development Management between 2004-2009.  Helen has worked on the following modules:


U208  Third World Development
U213  International Development: challenges for a world in transition
DU301  A World of Whose Making? 
TD223  International Development: Making sense of a changing world


T879     Conflict and Development
T878   Capacities for Managing Development
TU871  Development Context and Practice
TU872  Institutional Development: Conflicts, Values and Meanings
TU874  Development Management Project
TU875  War, Intervention and Development

W822   Business, Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility

PhD Supervision
Digital activism
International NGOs and social change
Social media and development
Solidarity based action and social movements
Transnational Advocacy Networks
Conflict and Development


The janus faces of a middle power: South Africa's emergence in international development (2014)
Yanacopulos, Helen
Journal of Southern African Studies, 40(1) (pp. 203-216)
Global justice: From theory to development action (2009-08)
Papaioannou, Theo; Yanacopulos, Helen and Aksoy, Zuhre
Journal of International Development, 21(6) (pp. 805-818)
Governing and democratising technology for development: bridging theory and practice (2007-05)
Mohan, Giles and Yanacopulos, Helen
Science and Public Policy, 34(4) (pp. 233-238)
Knowing but not knowing: conflict, development and denial (2006-12)
Caddell, Martha and Yanacopulos, Helen
Conflict, Security and Development, 6(4) (pp. 557-579)
Learning from African School (2006)
Yanacopulos, Helen and Mohan, Giles
Development Education Journal, 12(2) (pp. 19-22)
Understanding governance and networks: EU–US interactions and the regulation of genetically modified organisms (2005-09)
Murphy, Joseph and Yanacopulos, Helen
Geoforum, 36(5) (pp. 593-606)
Patterns of Governance: the rise of transnationalcoalitions of NGOs (2005-07)
Yanacopulos, Helen
Global Society, 19(3) (pp. 247-266)
The strategies that bind: NGO coalitions and their influence (2005-01)
Yanacopulos, Helen
Global Networks, 5(1) (pp. 93-110)
The Public Face of Debt (2004-07)
Yanacopulos, Helen
Journal of International Development, 16(5) (pp. 717-727)
Networks as transnational agents of development (2004-07)
Henry, Leroi; Mohan, Giles and Yanacopulos, Helen
Third World Quarterly, 25(5) (pp. 839-855)
The Public faces of Development: an introduction (2004-07)
Smith, Matt and Yanacopulos, Helen
Journal of International Development, 16(5) (pp. 657-664)
International NGO Engagement, Advocacy, Activism: The Faces and Spaces of Change (2015-10-21)
Yanacopulos, Helen
Non-Governmental Public Action
ISBN : 9780230284562 | Publisher : Palgrave MacMillan | Published : Basingstoke
Cutting the diamond: networking economic justice (2009)
Yanacopulos, Helen
In: Kahler, Miles ed. Networked Politics: Agency, Power, and Governance . Cornell Studies in Political Economy (pp. 67-78)
ISBN : 978-0-8014-7476-7 | Publisher : Cornell University Press | Published : Ithaca, New York
The ambivalent cosmopolitanism of international NGOs (2007)
Yanacopulos, Helen and Baillie Smith, Matt
In: Bebbington, Anthony J.; Hickey, Sam and Mitlin., Diana C. eds. The challenge of development alternatives: can NGOs make a difference? (pp. 298-315)
ISBN : 978 184277 893 7 | Publisher : Zed | Published : London
The Business of Human Rights: An Evolving Agenda for Corporate Responsibility (2011)
Voiculescu, Aurora and Yanacopulos, Helen eds.
ISBN : 978-1848138629 | Publisher : Zed Publishers | Published : London, England
Civil war, civil peace (2006-01)
Yanacopulos, Helen and Hanlon, Joseph eds.
ISBN : 852558953 | Publisher : James Currey Publishers | Published : Oxford, UK
Integrating Second Life in humanitarian and development training (2008)
Peachey, Anna and Yanacopulos, Helen
In : SLEDcc 2008 Second Life Education Community Conference, part of the Official Second Life Community Convention 2008 (5-7 September 2008, Tampa, FL, USA)

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