Gerhard Conrad holds a PhD in Oriental Studies, International Politics and International Law from Bonn University, Germany, and had contributed to classical Islamic Studies in the late 1980s (see below publications). He is a former senior member of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), mediator on behalf of United Nations' Secretary-Generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon between conflict parties in the Middle East on humanitarian issues. From early 2016 until his retirement in late 2019 he was Director of the EU Intelligence Analysis and Situation Centre (EU INTCEN).
Currently Gerhard delivers education on intelligence and politics for members of German intelligence and security services within the Master's Program for Intelligence and Security Studies (MISS) at the Federal University for Administrative Science in Berlin. In this capacity he is also part of the German academic support to the intergovernmental Intelligence College in Europe (ICE). Gerhard is member of the "Gesprächskreis Nachrichtendienste in Deutschland" (Forum Intelligence Services in Germany) that works to promote an improved understanding of the specificities related to intelligence and security services. Since 2019, he has been advising the German government in establishing Situation and Analysis Centres for Foreign Poilicy and Security questions. In 2020 he has joined the EEAS 2.0 Task Force set up by the Belgian Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (SIEPS) and the German Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) for engaging in a stocktaking exercise focussing on 10 years' European External Action Service (EEAS) and the presentation of actionable proposals for the next decade. Forthcoming publications in late 2020 and early 2021 will deal with pertinent questions of intelligence support to the EU by Member States' services, another one in November/December 2020 will address the "Future of European Intelligence Services" (in the periodical "Die Politische Meinung" published by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung).
Since 2017, Gerhard has been a member of the Advisory Board for King’s project on "Learning to Learn in an Era of Surprise: Intelligence Production and Use in Foreign Policy-Making in Britain, Germany and the European Union" that is directed by Professors Christoph Meyer (PI) and Mike Goodman (Col) and is invited to contribute to the publication of "Learning Lessons from an Era of Surprise" envisaged for 2021.
- Intelligence studies, especially the processes of collection and analysis
- Intelligence governance with an emphasis on interaction between decision makers and intelligence providers
- European intelligence cooperation – intelligence support to European Union decision making
- Politics and society in the Middle East
- Extremism and terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa
- State and non-state actors in the Middle East and North Africa
- History of Islamic law
Gerhard's research currently focusses on questions of intelligence governance in Germany and with regard to the European Union building on his long-standing experience and insight in these fields. Beyond that, he engages in intelligence studies on the Middle East again with special regard to the analysis of hostage taking and related international humanitarian mediation efforts since the 1980s.