MEM Team

Gilles Kepel

Scientific Director

Adjunct Professor - Faculty of Communication Sciences, Università della Svizzera italiana
Scientific Director, Middle East Miditerranean Freethinking Platform
Director Chaire Moyen Orient Méditerranée (MOM), ENS Paris Science et Lettres

Gilles Kepel is a French political scientist and Arabist, specialised in the contemporary Middle East and Muslims in the West. He is Adjunct Professor 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 Levant in 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 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, whence the events sparked. He did also compared studies of political-religious movements in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. In 2019 he published 'Sortir du Chaos: Les crises en Méditerranée et au Moyen-Orient' (Éditions Gallimard, 2018) and in 2021, 'Le prophète et la pandémie'. 

Federica Frediani

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

Administrative Assistant

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.

Boryana Stratieva

Executive Assistant

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.