Sympodium is the leading global institute for Strategic Communications, focusing on its geopolitical dimensions.
We are a team of scholars, policymakers, and media practitioners working across the world. We bring rigour, innovation, and community to three interconnected areas: education; research; and public engagement.
Sympodium is committed to educating a new generation of thinkers and doers in strategic communications. We achieve this by investing our teaching with the results of our own cutting-edge researchers.
Sympodium works with government and civil society strategic communicators who face the most challenging problems across the world. And we do this in a holistic, ethical, and sustainable way. But above all, we seek to demonstrate that through more innovative and far-sighted communications, a better politics and geopolitics can be brought to benefit our societies.
Our Executive Team
Dr Neville Bolt
Dr Neville Bolt is the Founder and Director of the Sympodium Institute for Strategic Communications, the global centre in geopolitical communications research and education. Dr Bolt graduated from The Queen’s College, University of Oxford before becoming an investigative journalist-television producer and specialising in making war zone documentaries at the BBC, CBC (Canada), and other international networks. He later returned to the academic world, joining the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. Bolt subsequently went on to create the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications which he directed for nearly a decade. There, he established and convened the popular and successful Masters programme in Strategic Communications. His associated Doctoral programme attracted ESRC funding and produced award-winning scholars. For the last seven years, Dr Bolt has also served as Editor-in-Chief of Defence Strategic Communications, the peer-reviewed academic journal of the NATO StratCom Centre of Excellence. He is the chief academic advisor to NATO’s Terminology Working Group. Bolt is Senior Fellow at SCERU, University of Tokyo, and Visiting Scholar at St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. He is an award winner for teaching excellence at King’s College London and for his written work, The Violent Image: Insurgent Propaganda and the New Revolutionaries (Columbia University Press), and recently published Unmapping the 21st Century: Between Networks and the State (Bristol University Press).
Director of Operations
Dr Ofer Fridman
Dr Ofer Fridman is Director of Operations at the Sympodium Institute for Strategic Communications. Dr Ofer Fridman graduated from the Hebrew University Jerusalem (B.A. Military History and Security Studies) and in Reichman University (MA Counter–Terror and Homeland Security), while serving as an active duty officer in the Israel Defense Forces for 15 years. Following his military service, Dr Fridman spent 5 years in defense sector, leading different research and development projects. In 2016, Dr Fridman completed his PhD at the University of Reading, and shortly after joined the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, where he is currently Senior Lecturer. Dr Fridman has worked on different projects commissioned by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, EUCOM RSI, the European Parliament and the Government of Canada. He is member of the Canadian Network on Information and Security (CANIS) at the University of Calgary, and member of the editorial board of Perspectives on Terrorism journal. Dr Fridman contributed many articles, reports and opinion pieces His recent books include: Strategiya: The Foundations of the Russian Art of Strategy, (Oxford University Press, 2021); Russian ‘Hybrid Warfare’: Resurgence and Politicization, (Oxford University Press, 2018/2022).
Director of Education
Dr Vera Michlin-Shapir
Dr Vera Michlin-Shapir is Director of Education at the Sympodium Institute for Strategic Communications. After graduating from King’s College London (B.A. in War Studies and History) and St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford (M.Phil. in Russian and East European Studies), Dr Michlin-Shapir worked at Israel’s National Security Council. In 2016-2020 she was a Research Fellow at Israeli Institute for National Security Studies, where she engaged in projects commissioned by the Israeli Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, the Israeli Intelligence and Commemoration Centre, as well as foreign embassies based in Tel Aviv. Simultaneously, she wrote her PhD dissertation on Russian national identity in the post-Soviet era at Tel Aviv University. From 2020 to 2023, Dr Michlin-Shapir was a Visiting Research Fellow at the King's Centre for Strategic Communications. In 2022-23 She was a Lecturer for Strategic Communications at the War Studies Department, King's College London. She contributed to different project commissioned by EUCOM RSI and authored many articles, reports and opinion pieces. Her recent book is Fluid Russia: Between the Global and the National in the Post-Soviet Era (Cornell University Press, 2021).
Student Administration Officer
Can Beyza Uçak
Can Beyza Uçak is Student Administration Officer at the Sympodium Institute for Strategic Communications. She is a London-based communication strategist specialising in defence StratCom. She holds an MA in Strategic Communications from King’s College London and both a BA and an MA in Visual Communication from Central Saint Martins. With a branding and marketing strategy background, Beyza has worked on social and cultural campaigns and managed consumer research in the MENA region and the Caucasus. She has executed local campaigns for brands such as Unilever, Istanbul Airport, and Diageo. Currently, she is continuing research at NATO StratCom COE in Riga, focusing on hostile narratives in the Nordic-Baltic countries and ways of visualising information resilience in the region. Her academic interests include the history of propaganda, defence StratCom, and the role of media in regional geopolitics. In addition to her research work, Beyza has produced a documentary and a publication on counterculture posters in Turkey from 1968-71. She also curated a data-driven exhibition with the Zmet Institute (US) and Behaviour Institute (TR), exploring the collective subconscious in Turkey. As a writer, contributed to several publications, including “Political Posters as Strategic Communication Tools in Latin America” (KCL & Brasil Institute), “In Place of War: Culture. Conflict. Change” (Manchester University), “Balkan Locus-Focus: Visual Communication Design Histories in the 20th Century” (Parsons New York), and “Graffiti Sessions” (UCL).