Privacy Policy Staff - theSquare Centre



Managing Director & Co-Founder

Giacomo Maria Arrigo is Postdoctoral Researcher at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (Milan), Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Occhialì – Rivista sul Mediterraneo islamico”, and Teaching Assistant for the courses “History of Moral Doctrines” and “Philosophy of History” at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan). He has a PhD in Political Philosophy from the University of Calabria (Italy) and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). Giacomo Maria holds a Bachelor and a Master Degree in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Milan, and a Specializing Master in Middle Eastern Studies from ASERI (Graduate School of Economics and International Relations). His research interests focus on moral and political philosophy, religion, multiculturalism and the Enlightenment. He is author of Gnostic Jihadism. A Philosophical Inquiry into Radical Politics (Mimesis International 2021).


Co-Founder & Coordinator for the cybersecurity area

Jacopo Franceschini is PhD Candidate at the International Relations Department of Kadir Has University (Istanbul), focusing on cybersecurity and cyber threats in Turkey and in the Mediterranean region. Prior to founding theSquare, Jacopo has worked in several think tanks between Belgium and Turkey such as European Neughbourhood Council (Brussels), Friedrich Naumann Foundation, and Istanbul Policy Center/Sabancı University (Istanbul). He holds a Master Degree in Law from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan), with a final dissertation on political and institutional relations between the EU and Turkey. Moreover, he obtained a Specializing Master in Middle Eastern Studies at ASERI (Graduate School of Economics and International Relations of Milan). Beyond cybersecurity, security studies and geopolitics of the Mediterranean are his main areas of expertise.


Research Fellow & Coordinator for the MENA area

Lorena Stella Martini holds a double Master’s degree in Analyse Comparée des Sociétés Méditerranéennes from the Université Muhammad VI Polytechnique (Morocco) and the University of Turin. Her thesis focused on the claim of individual freedoms linked to sexuality in Morocco. Lorena also pursued a Specializing Master from ASERI (Graduate School of Economics and International Relations – Milan) and a BA in Foreign Languages Applied to International Relations from the Catholic University of Milan. She speaks English, French, Arabic and Spanish and has spent several periods in Morocco to improve her language skills. In the last few years, Lorena has worked for two NGOs and for a Tunisian governmental organization, she has collaborated with the MENA Centre of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and served as a Programme Assistant for Erasmus + Partner Countries Programme at the University of Turin. She is a contributor for the MENA desk of Il Caffé Geopolitico and she currently works for the Rome office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Her research interests revolve around MENA region’s sociopolitical dynamics, with a focus on women’s rights and gender issues. 


Research Fellow and Coordinator for the AI and Tech area

Mattia Falduti is lawyer with Master’s Degree in Legal Professions and Graduated in Law. Mattia is a PhD student at the Computer Science Department of the University of Milan (UNIMI). His main research interests are information retrieval, data mining, and related applications to Legal Tech. He joined the UNIMI group within the “JusTech” research project in the framework of the Italian Ministry of Justice in cooperation with University of Pavia, Politecnico di Milano, and Court of Milan. Moreover, he worked as a Data Protection consultant and as a trainee for the Public Prosecutor Office of Milan at the Cyber Crime Department.


Research Fellow

Marie Figoureux is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for Media Studies at KU Leuven, Belgium. Her project focuses on the framing of radicalization, migration and multicultural society in the Low Countries. Previously, she obtained a Master of Science in International Relations at Ghent University (Belgium) and a Specializing Master in Middle Eastern Studies at ASERI (Graduate School of Economics and International Relations), Milan (Italy). Her main areas of interest are Israel and Palestine, multiculturalism in the Middle East and Western Europe and the history of the Islamic World.


Research Fellow

Emily Tapinato is graduated in International Studies at the University of Trento (major: Political and international organizations). She focused especially on the case study of the European Union, its process of integration and its political and sociological challenges in the future. Concurrently, she started getting very interested in the changing geopolitics of the Middle East and, as a result, she decided to attend a double degree Master program between the University of Turin (major: International relations – Mena politics) and the Ecole de Gouvernance et d’Économie in Rabat (major: Analyse comparée des sociétés méditerranéennes). This academic experience allowed her both to get familiar with French, and to start learning Arabic. During these two years, she has become increasingly interested in geopolitical dynamics of the Persian Gulf region with a focus on Iran, a country that she is deepening both in its pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary phase from a politico-historical, socio-cultural and geostrategic point of view. Thus, her master thesis dealt with the role played by the Strait of Hormuz in the history of the militarization and securitization of the Persian Gulf, and Iran’s perception of this strategic chokepoint in a historical and legal perspective. Furthermore, she is also interested in Iran-Israel relations. At the University of Turin she also attended an academic minor in Migration Studies, in order to enforce her knowledge about migratory phenomena. She had a voluntary experience in Rio de Janeiro. Currently, she is attending a specializing Master in Middle Eastern Studies at ASERI (Graduate School of Economics and International Relations- Milan).


Research Fellow

Giulia Valeria Anderson holds an MA in International Comparative Relations from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, graduating with honors in 2019 and winning a prize for her dissertation on “US-Kurdish Relations: The 2nd Iraqi-Kurdish War and the Al-Anfal Campaigns”. During her studies, she became highly interested in the Kurdish cause, consequently deepening her knowledge of the Kurds and their relations with the West. For this reason, she mainly focuses on the Kurdish region, such that she has written many studies on their culture, political status, and society. Moreover, she also collaborates with The Washington Kurdish Institute in Washington D.C. as a freelance analyst, and with Il Caffè Geopolitico, the Istituto Analisi Relazioni Internazionali, and the African Center for Strategic Progress. As her interest in the Kurds, and generally in the Middle East, grew, she matured several experiences at the United Nations. Specifically, she spent several months at the UNESCO Office in Venice and three years at an NGO associated with the UN Department of Global Communications and ECOSOC. While continuing her work in the international sector, her main area of interest still remains the Middle East and especially the Kurdish question.



Research Fellow

Ilayda Nijhar holds an MA from UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) in Russian and Post-Soviet Politics. Her thesis looked at security relations in the Black Sea Region, particularly between Russia-Turkey-NATO, and she continues to conduct research in this area. Ilayda was invited to discuss her research findings at the International Turkish-Russian World Congress on Academic Research in Ankara. Ilayda worked as an associate journalist for five years contributing articles on contemporary Russian politics and published her first book entitled ‘Russia Unfiltered’ in 2019. She has worked in the UK, Germany, Turkey and is currently based in Brussels working in EU affairs. Her research focus is on Russo-Turkish relations as well as Russian Foreign Policy, Central Asian and wider Eurasian politics.


Research Fellow

Sara Zanotta is a PhD student in History at the University of Pavia and holds a MA in International Relations from the University of Milan. She is Teaching Assistant for the course of History and Institutions of Islamic Countries at the same University, supervisor of the editorial team of Osservatorio su Nuovi Autoritarismi e Democrazie for the regions MENA, Africa and Asia and deputy chief of the editorial staff of the academic journal Nuovi Autoritarismi e Democrazie. Previously, she was research intern at IAI-Istituto Affari Internazionali (Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa program), Centro Studi Problemi Internazionali and Villa Vigoni–German-Italian Centre for the European Dialogue. She is fluent in Italian, French, English and German and she is improving her Persian and Spanish. She is mainly interested in the political history of Islamic countries, in particular protest movements and their effects on constitution-building and democratization/autocratization. Her research project focuses on the Iranian Constitutional Revolution.


Research Fellow

Federico Borsari is an Associate Analyst with the MENA Centre at ISPI, where he also worked as Research and Project Assistant for the MED Dialogues Conference from November 2018 until April 2021. He holds a master’s Degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the University of Bologna and a second Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies at the Postgraduate School of Economics and International Relations (ASERI), Milan. He previously worked as a research trainee at the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) in Erbil, Iraq, where he also conducted field-work for a research project on the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Security Forces. Besides regularly publishing for ISPI, he has authored several analyses on political and security issues regarding the Middle East and North Africa for the Italian Parliament and provided commentaries to Italian and International media outlets. His research interests revolve around security dynamics and military transformation in the MENA region, US foreign policy and proxy relations, the role of non-state actors (NSAs) and the implications of UAV technology for regional’s armies.


Research Fellow

Irene Lizzola is currently PhD Candidate in Political Science at Sciences Po Bordeaux. Her research project focuses on human rights, NGOs’ advocacy campaigns in Morocco and the transnational circulation of advocacy “best practices”. Alumna of the Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (The Geneva Academy) and of the Master of Arts in Ethnology and Social Anthropology (EHESS), Irene spent her academic career studying law and human rights from the social sciences’ perspective. Among her areas of expertise: anthropology and sociology of law, international political sociology, anthropology of Islam, Middle Eastern studies, human rights and transitional justice, ethnomethodology.


Research Fellow

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a postgraduate student from the University of St-Andrews in Scotland, where she completed her Master’s degree in Terrorism and Political Violence with a dissertation titled “Droning On: A New Era of Targeted Killings Outside of Armed Conflict.” Previously, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Queen’s University while working for the Governor General of Canada. She speaks French, English, and is currently learning Italian. Her most recent research focused on the change of the norms surrounding the use of armed UAVs for the Centre of International and Defence Policy. Her main research interests are international security, the evolution of warfare, as well as conflicts and extremism in the MENA region.


Research Fellow

Elisa Marra holds a Master Degree in Contemporary Arabic Studies at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and a Bachelor Degree at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. Elisa spent seven months in Tunisia, where she obtained a certificate of proficiency in Arabic at the Institute Bourguiba des Langues Vivantes. She also speaks English, Spanish and Italian, as well as Tunisian and Syrian dialects. Currently, Elisa works as a research editor for a multinational, where she focuses on risk management and regulatory compliance monitoring, with a particular emphasis on Gulf and North African countries. Her main areas of interest are terrorism and counterterrorism as well as the political and social dynamics that shape the Middle East and North Africa.


Research Fellow

Filippo Donvito is lawyer in Milan with a Master’s Degree in Roman Law and holds a Specializing Master in Shari’a Law with Altalex. His main working fields are Banking Law and International Commercial Law. For many years Filippo has been a regular contributor of the Dutch specialized magazines “Ancient Warfare” and “Medieval Warfare”. More recently, he has contributed to the Italian historical magazine “Archeo” with a special number on the historical Silk Road and is currently writing a book on the Kushan Empire. His main interests are the history of Iran and Central Asia and the Islamic Messianic figure of the Mahdi.



Nazim Suleymanov is currently last year master’s student at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy). He graduated bachelor’s degree with honour at UNEC (Azerbaijan), and his thesis was related to civil wars in African countries. Before starting his internship at theSquare, he was a project manager at several local and regional organisations. Moreover, he has a good command of Azerbaijani, English, Turkish, German, and Italian. His research interests focus on civil wars, the geopolitics of African countries, gender studies and non-formal education.