Privacy Policy Staff - theSquare Centre



Managing Director & Co-Founder

Giacomo Maria Arrigo is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Moral Philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (Milan), Co-Editor-in-Chief of the scientific 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 joint PhD in Political Philosophy from the University of Calabria and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. 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, multiculturalism, the Enlightenment and the possibilities of an interreligious ethics. He is author of Gnostic Jihadism. A Philosophical Inquiry into Radical Politics (Mimesis International 2021), and is currently publishing a monograph on Edmund Burke’s moral philosophy.


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 healthcare policy and regulation in Turkey and the Mediterranean region. Jacopo has worked as researcher on security matters in several think tanks between Belgium and Turkey such as European Neighbourhood 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). Strategies, approaches and legislation in cybersecurity in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries are his main areas of expertise.


Research Fellow & Coordinator for the MENA area

Lorena Stella Martini is Research Fellow and Coordinator for the MENA area for theSquare Centre, and she has been working for the Rome Office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) since October 2020. Since 2016, Lorena has gained professional experience with think tanks and NGOs, besides having worked for a Tunisian governmental organization and served as a Programme Assistant for Erasmus+ Partner Countries Programme at the University of Turin. She holds a double Master’s degree in Analyse Comparée des Sociétés Méditerranéennes and International Studies from the Université Muhammad VI Polytechnique and the University of Turin, a Specializing Master in Middle Eastern Studies from ASERI (Graduate School of Economics and International Relations) and a BA in Foreign Languages Applied to International Relations from the Catholic University of Milan. Lorena speaks English, French, Arabic and Spanish and has spent several periods in Morocco to improve her language skills. Her research work mainly revolves around MENA geopolitics and socio-political dynamics, with a strong interest in human rights and gender issues, and a geographical focus on North Africa (Morocco and Algeria) and Iraq.


Research Fellow and Coordinator for the AI and Tech area

Mattia Falduti is Research Fellow at theSquare Centre. He is a lawyer with a Master’s Degree in Legal Professions and Graduated in Law. Mattia holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science obtained 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, and Cybercrime. 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. Recently, he concluded a postdoc at the University of Bolzano-Bozen.


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 two Master’s Degrees, one in Comparative Relations from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, from which she graduated with honors and won a prize for her dissertation on “US-Kurdish Relations: The 2nd Iraqi-Kurdish War and the Al-Anfal Campaigns”, and one from La Sapienza University in Rome in Geopolitics and Global Security. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. Giulia currently works for the NATO Public Diplomacy Division in Brussels. She previously worked as a journalist for the Italian news agency Formiche and collaborated with The Washington Kurdish Institute, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Il Caffè Geopolitico, the Istituto Analisi Relazioni Internazionali (IARI), and the African Center for Strategic Progress. She co-authored several books and publications, including Diario Geopolitico: Afghanistan. Settembre 2001-Settembre 2021 published by AGC Communication in 2021, Il 2021 in Iraq. Tra poteste e l’insuccesso delle elezioni politiche and 2001-2021: Vent’anni dall’11 settembre: Cause, errori, lezioni ed eredità della guerra globale al terrore, both published by IARI in 2022. She also spent several months at the UNESCO Office in Venice and three years at an Italian NGO associated with the UN Department of Global Communications and ECOSOC. While she continues her work in international affairs, her main area of interest still remains the Middle East and especially the Kurdish question, topics on which she continues to write on for theSquare Centre, where she has been a Research Fellow since 2020.



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 Iranian History at the University of Pavia and holds a MA in International Relations from the University of Milan. She is Research fellow at theSquare Centre and Deputy chief of the editorial staff of the academic journal Nuovi Autoritarismi e Democrazie: Diritto, Istituzioni, Società. In addition, she is a Teaching assistant for the course of “History and Politics of North Africa and the Middle East” at the University of Milan. 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 mainly interested in the political history of Islamic countries, in particular protest movements and their effects on constitution-building and democratization/autocratization.


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 PhD student in Political Science at Sciences Po Bordeaux, attached to the research unit Les Afriques dans le Monde (LAM – CNRS UMR 5115). Alumna of the Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights) and of the Master in Ethnology and Social Anthropology (École des Hautes Études en Science Sociales, EHESS), Irene conducts her research in the fields of sociology of law and international political sociology. Irene’s doctoral research aims to study advocacy practices carried out by both Moroccan and international human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) within cooperation and/or partnership frameworks. In particular, it focuses on the study of the advocacy for the abolition of the death penalty in Morocco, on the international cooperation in the field of migration, as well as on a range of advocacy activities aimed at reforming the field of security governance according to a human rights-based approach.


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

Matias Shocron was born in Argentina and holds a B.A. in Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy from Reichman University, Israel, and is an Argov Fellowship Honors program alumni (Class 22′). During his studies in Israel, he experienced a different environment with people from all over the world while achieving experiences in different types of organizations such as Think Tanks, Startups, UAE-Israel Business Council, and The Peres Center for Peace & Innovation. Currently, he is working at BARD (Israel-US Binational Agriculture R&D Fund) as Project Coordinator encouraging collaborative research in agriculture between Israel and the United States. In addition, he is a teaching and research assistant for E-Government and IT Policy at Reichman University. Moreover, his main interests are politics, economy, and sustainability, being his research focused on these areas.


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.