Dr Maria Gloria Polimeno



College: College of Social Sciences and International Studies
Discipline: Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
Department: College of Social and International Studies
Research Centre/Unit: IAIS Middle East Politics


Maria Gloria is a Researcher and Teaching Associate in Middle East Politics and Economy at the University of Exeter and a nominated Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). She joined the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (College of Social and International Studies) at Exeter in 2017 after an intense formation in Italy and between the Middle East, where she was based before moving to the United Kingdom, and London. She holds a MA  with Distinction in Languages (Arabic plus Oriental Studies) for International Communication with a Major in Political Institutions/Economic cluster. Before moving to Exeter for her PhD in Middle East Politics, she initiated her two-year MPhil studies in International Politics at the University of London. As for the research appointments, before joining the University of Exeter and the IAIS, she held several research positions as an Academic Visitior and Visiting Scholar at SOAS at the London Middle East Institute (LMEI), and as an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of International Politics at City, University of London.   


Since 2018 Maria Gloria has been taught extensively at the University of Exeter both in the IAIS and the Department of Politics across several modules (an exhaustive list can be found in the "Curriculum" section). Before teaching at the University of Exeter, in 2017/2018 she was a member of the Department of Politics and International Studies as SOAS where she was awarded a Teaching Fellowship. In 2016-2017 she taught in the Department of Politics at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Beyond British Academia, where she is based, Maria Gloria was invited as an Adjunct Lecturer for the Middle East and North Africa by the Centre for Post-Conflict Studies Operations. 

2021-to date:  Research in International Projects 

- Egypt and Tunisia Review Expert in the V-Dem Project at the Varieties of Democracy Institute, University of Gothenburg. Co-funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and the EU-DEVCO.

2020/2021 Research  in International Projects:

- Country Expert on Libya for the GLOBALCIT Observatory, supported by the European University Institute's Global Governance Programme, and the British Academy project CITMODES. 

- Egypt Country expert in the "Varieties of Democracy Project "(V-Dem) Varieties of Democracy Institute, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

Research Interest:

Maria Gloria's research is located in Authoritarianism, Political Legitimacy, Corruption, Comparative Politics, State Violence, Elites, Party-Politics, Democracy/Democratisation, Political Economy, Political Economy of Development, Urban Transformation in the Global South, Architecture of Politics, Euro-Mediterranean Relations, International Relations of the Middle East, Civil-MIlitary relations, Qualitative and Quantitative methods. 

Scientific Service:

- Abstract reviewer for the British Society of Middle Eastern Studies Conference (BRISMES). 

- Peer-Reviewer for the Journal of Terrorism and Research published by St. Andrews University for articles covering political violence in the Middle East and North Africa.


2019-2021: Academic assessor in the Middle East and North Africa Committee for the Chevening Programme, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, British Government. 

2015-2018 Regional assessor in the Middle East and North Africa Committee for the Chevening Programme, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, British Government. 

Academic and Scientific affiliations:

BRISMES: British Society for Middle Eastern Studies

DAVO: German Society for the Study of the Middle East 

ECPR: European Council for Political Research 

Member of the following (ECPR) standing group(s) and research network :

  • Elites and Political Leadership (SG)
  • Political Violence (SG)
  • Religion and Politics (SG)
  • Mediterranean Politics and Society (RN)


  • English: Full Professional
  • Arabic: Fluent (plus Palestinian-Jordanian dialect: upper-intermediate and Egyptian dialect: intermediate)
  • Italian: Native Speaker

Countries of Expertise: 

Egypt (specialisation)

Tunisia (comparative)


Besides her academic life and commitment to the profession, Gloria is a mountain hiker with a passion for ski-mountaineering and the surrounding culture. She is a sea-lover and a former martial arts player.