Dr. Gerard Toal (Gearóid Ó Tuathail) is a Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech’s campus in the Washington DC metro region. A native of Ireland, he is the author of more than a hundred peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on critical geopolitics, territorial conflicts (mostly in post-communist contexts), US foreign policy, de facto states, media and discourse analysis. He is the recipient of multiple collaborative research grants from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). His latest book Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest for Ukraine and the Caucasus (Oxford University Press) won the International Studies Association’s ENMIA Distinguished Book Award in 2019. Currently, he is writing a book on concepts for critical geopolitics. His latest research project examines geopolitical orientations in six different states, and three contested regions, bordering the Russian Federation.