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. She is 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 the University of Exeter in 2017 after a long formation between the Middle East (Tunisia, Jordan, Syria and Egypt) and London. She holds a MA  with Distinction in Languages (Arabic) for International Communication with a major in Political Institutions/Economic cluster from Italy. Before moving to Exeter, she initiated her two-year MPhil studies in International Politics at the University of London. Before joining the University of Exeter and the IAIS, she held several research positions and appointments at SOAS  at the London Middle East Institute (LMEI) as an Academic Visitor and then as a Visiting Research Student, and at the Department of International Politics at City, University of London as an Honorary Research Fellow.  


Since 2018 Maria Gloria has been taught extensively at the University of Exeter both in the IAIS and the Department of Politics across many modules (an exhaustive list can be found in the "Curriculum" section). Before teaching at the University of Exeter, in 2017/2018 she was awarded a Teaching Fellowship at SOAS and in 2016-2017 she taught at the  Birkbeck College, University of London. She was 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 Political Legitimacy, Authoritarianism, Corruption, Elites, Militarism, Party-Politics, Democratisation/Autocratisation, Political Economy of Development, Development Politics, Urban Transformations in the Global South, Architecture of Politics, Euro-Mediterranean Relations, International Relations of the Middle East, State violence. 

Service to the Profession:

She additionally served as 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.


Since 2019 she is an Academic assessor (and from 2015 to 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 ffiliations:

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.