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

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 an Academic Visitor due to an 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 of 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 the postgraduate level at Birkbeck College (University of London). In  June 2018 I was invited as an 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 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. 


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:

Since 2019 I am an 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)