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 in Middle East Politics 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 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 between 2016-2017 she taught at at Birkbeck College (University of London). She was Adjunct Lecturer for the Middle East and North Africa by the Centre for Post-Conflict Studies Operations. 

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,  State violence and Dynamics of contention, with a regional focus on the Middle East. 

Service to the Profession:

Maria Gloria 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 (from 2015 to 2018 Regional assessor) in the Middle East Committee for the Chevening Programme, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, British Government. 


BRISMES: British Society for Middle Eastern Studies

ECPR: European Council for Political Research 

Member of the following (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

Countries of Expertise: 

Egypt (specialisation)


Besides her academic life and commitment to the profession, Maria Gloria is a mountain hiker with a passion for ski mountaineering, the Graian and North-Western Alps and the surrounding culture. She is a sea lover.