Pak Hei Hao

International Relations Network
Merton College
MPhil International Relations

I am a DPhil candidate in History at Merton College, University of Oxford, under the supervision of Professor Rana Mitter. My research focuses on the dynamics and relationships between late colonial Governors of Hong Kong and Whitehall, with a particular emphasis on the use of emotional manipulation by colonial actors in their relationships with the metropole. 

Previously, I completed an MPhil in International Relations with Distinction under the supervision of Professor Todd Hall. I wrote my MPhil dissertation on conceptualising a framework for how 'Crash Points' can be constructed in international negotiations that have been understood as a game theoretical "Game of Chicken", and used this framework to understand the decisions of British policymakers at significant points during the 1983-84 Sino-British negotiations over Hong Kong.

Prior to joining the DPIR, I obtained a BA in History with First-Class Honours at Somerville College, University of Oxford. I wrote my undergraduate dissertation "Twenty-five percent ‘Macao’d’ already?”: Emotion and analogical reasoning in the Governor-Whitehall relationship during the 1967 Hong Kong riots" on the use of emotion and analogies by British policymakers during the 1967 Hong Kong riots, for which I was awarded the Robert Herbert Memorial Prize for the best thesis on British Imperial and Commonwealth History. 

I have worked as a Graduate Research Assistant to Professor Jennifer Altehenger, Jessica Rawson Fellow in Modern Asian History & Associate Professor of Chinese History at the University of Oxford, and was awarded the Catherine Hughes Award (Margaret Thatcher Scholarship Trust) for a fully funded archival project assessing material recently donated by Baroness Shirley Williams to Somerville College, University of Oxford. I have also worked as a Graduate Admissions Assistant for Undergraduate Admissions in History & Joint Schools at Somerville College, University of Oxford.


My research interests include:

  • International Relations  
  • International Negotiations
  • Negotiation Theory
  • Foreign Policy and Diplomacy
  • Game Theory


  • English (native/bilingual proficiency),
  • Cantonese (native/bilingual proficiency),
  • Mandarin (full professional proficiency)


  • Archibald Jackson Prize (Distinction for the IR MPhil, including on thesis and all final-year papers)
  • Somerville College Alumni Scholarship
  • Robert Herbert Memorial Prize (Best thesis on British Imperial and Commonwealth History at Oxford)
  • Mary Somerville Prize
  • Shaw-Lefevre Scholarship in History
  • College Prize
Pak Hei Hao