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

I joined the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (College of Social and International Studies) at the University of Exeter in 2017 after a long formation between the Middle East and London. Before settling down in the United Kingdom in 2012, I extensively travelled from the Maghreb to the Syrian-Kurdish border and integrated with my education with the study of Arabic in Tunisia (2007), Jordan (2009-2010)  and Egypt (2012). In 2011 I was awarded the MA with Distinction from Italy. In early 2012 I moved to Cairo due to a national postgraduate scholarship I was awarded from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The empirical observations in Cairo, in a moment of socio-political tensions and vacuum, directly influenced the trajectories of my research  and shaped the areas of interest. I moved to the United Kingdom in September 2012 to join the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) as Academic Visitor due to a LLP postgraduate grant. 

Since then, I held research positions and appointments at SOAS basing myself at the London Middle East Institute (LMEI) . I was then appointed Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of International Politics at City, University of London where I worked on the publication a journal article focused on the 2014 Egyptian constitution, which at a later stage was included in the 2015 handbook of the Middle East published by the German Institute of Global Area (GIGA).  I initiated my two-year MPhil studies in International Politics at the University of London before joining the  University of Exeter for my Doctoral Studies in Middle East Politics. 


Since 2018 I have been taught in Exeter both at IAIS and the Department of Politics. Before teaching at the University of Exeter, in 2018 I was awarded a Teaching Fellowship at SOAS  and between 2016-2017 I taught at postgraduate level at Birkbeck College (University of London). In  June 2018 I was invited as external Lecturer for the Middle East and North Africa by the Centre for Post-Conflict Studies Operation (Italian Ministry of Defence).

2021 Research Activities:

- Country Expert of Libya in the European Research Council (ERC), European Parliament and British Academy funded GLOBALCIT Programme at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute (EUI). 

- Country expert of Egypt in the "Varieties of Democracy Project "(V-Dem) Varieties of Democracy Institute, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 


I additionally served as Peer-Reviewer for the Journal of Terrorism and Research published by St. Andrews University for articles covering the Middle East and North Africa.

Non-Academic Activities:

As part of my non-academic activities, I sit in Italy in the scientific roundtable on violent radicalisations (Midle East North Africa Unit). 

Since 2019 I am  Academic assessor, and from 2015-2018 acted as Regional assessor, in the Middle East Committee for the Chevening Programme, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK Government. 

I am also a member of the following European Consortium for Political Research ECPR standing groups and research network :

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


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

Countries of Expertise: 

Egypt (specialisation)