Gilles Kepel is a French political scientist and Arabist, specialised in the contemporary Middle East and Muslims in the West. He is Adjunct Professor at the Univeristà della Svizzera italiana and scientific director of the Middle East Mediterranean Freethinking Platform. He is also Professor at the Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) and director of the Middle East and Mediterranean Chair at PSL, based at Ecole Normale Supérieure. Originally trained as a classicist, he started to study Arabic after a journey to the Levantin 1974. He first graduated in Philosophy and English, then completed his Arabic language studies at the French Institute in Damascus (1977–78), and received his degree from SciencesPo in 1980. His research interests focus on the current geopolitical configurations and conflicts in the Middle East Mediterranean region; on the impact of Jihadi terror in the wake of the Massive attacks on French and European soil. He investigated the developments of Islam as a social and political phenomenon in France, with an innovative approach in Islamic studies in the West. He researched on the 2005 French Banlieues riots in the Clichy-Montfermeil area, north of Paris, when the events sparked. He also did compared studies of political-religious movements in Islam, Judaism and Christianity.His latest book is Sortir du Chaos: Les crises en Méditerranée et au Moyen-Orient (Éditions Gallimard, 2018).
Maria Cristina Reinhart
General Platform Manager
Maria Cristina Reinhart has solid humanistic studies followed by a specialization in management. She has worked and collaborated with national and international institutions in the field of communication, education, and non-profit, offering strategic, territorial and marketing advice. She is currently working for the Foundation of the Università della Svizzera italiana, dealing with programs’ development, institutional relations and fundraising.
Educational Program Manager
Federica Frediani, Senior researcher and lecturer at the Università della Svizzera italiana, she is currently Educational Programme Manager of the Middle East Mediterranean Freethinking Platform. She is member of the Project Committee and Project Leader of the Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Università di Siena. She had a research position within the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures of University of Bergamo and she had worked for several years at the Laboratorio Studi mediterranei. Her research interests focuses mainly on representations, cultural productions and political and intercultural dynamics of the Middle East Mediterranean region. She published books and articles on the travel writing. In particular the women travel literature, and on the relationships between Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean. She appeared as expert in the documentary series “Lady Travellers” thatRai Storia devoted to women travelers.
Monica Steger has over 22 years of experience in university administrative support. While assisting in the administration of the Rectorate office at the Università della Svizzera italiana, she is also occupied with the general administration of the Middle East Mediterranean Freethinking Platform.
Kleona Bezani holds a Master degree in Communication Management and Health, and a Bachelor in Science of Psychology. She has worked on research related to Corporate Social Responsibility, Consumer Behaviour, and Social Sciences. She also has experience on change management related to migrant friendly practices and social re-integration processes. She is currently working at the office of Development and Institutional Relations at the Università della Svizzera italiana and is executive assistant for the MEM Summer Summit and the MEM Freethinking Platform.
Boryana Stratieva is a Master graduate in Management and Informatics with a background in Mathematics. She has worked in the Human Rights Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria. She also has experience with CRM systems, working on customisation, implementation and change management. She is currently working at the office of Development and Institutional Relations at the Università della Svizzera italiana and is executive assistant for the MEM Summer Summit and the MEM Freethinking Platform.