Experts & Staff

Arturo Varvelli

Head, ECFR Rome
Senior Policy Fellow

Areas of expertise

Geopolitics and International Relations; MENA Region; Libya; EU-MENA relations; Italian-Libyan relations; Italian foreign policy

Languages

Italian, English, basic French

Biography

Arturo Varvelli is the Head of the Rome Office and a Senior Policy Fellow for the European Council on Foreign Relations. His research interests include geopolitics and international affairs, international relations of the MENA region, EU-MENA relations, Italian foreign policy towards the MENA, and transnational terrorism movements affecting the area. His main focus is Libya, a country he has extensively worked on, unpacking its domestic and foreign politics, and Italian-Libyan relations in particular.

Previously, Varvelli worked as the Co-Head of the MENA Center and Head of the Terrorism Programme at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI). In ISPI, he provided scientific coordination of the “Rome MED – Mediterranean Dialogues” organized by ISPI and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Furthermore, he was also a lecturer of History and Institutions of the Middle East at IULM University in Milan and a Visiting Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD).

Varvelli holds a PhD in International History from the University of Milan, and a post-PhD from the CRT Foundation of Turin. He also took part in research projects funded by the Italian Chamber of Representatives and Senate, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Parliament and Commission. In 2015, he was chosen by the US State Department to take part in the International Visitor Leadership Program.

He has extensively published on Libya. His first book, “Italy and the rise of Ghaddafi” (“L’Italia e l’ascesa di Gheddafi”, 2009) focused on Italian-Libyan relations, while later books, published in collaboration with The Atlantic Council and Brookings Institutions, rather delved into Libya’s and the MENA’s foreign projections. In 2018, he took part in a Brooking Institution’s working group on the Libyan crisis.

He is also a regular speaker and commentator on Libyan and MENA issues in the main Italian media. His comments have also appeared in international newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Economist.

Africa-Europe Relations in 2021

The roundtable will focus on the state of the Africa-Europe relationship with its challenges and opportunities, and the role that Southern Europe could play in the process

Publications

Articles

Podcasts

In the media

This transitional government was born as the consequence of al-Sisi and Erdogan’s attempts to open a dialogue.

Arturo Varvelli comments on the new Libyan transitional government in the light of the rapprochement between Egypt and Turkey.

We might be facing the prelude of a new rapprochement in the region, a development that would provide more space for Europe and, consequently, for Italy.

Following the visit of Foreign Minister Di Maio to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Arturo Varvelli analyzes Italian strategy in the Gulf and its potentiality.