Dr Silvia Maria Colombo is a Senior Researcher and Faculty Advisor at the NATO Defense College in Rome. Previously she held senior research positions at the International Affairs Institute (IAI) in Rome and acted as the head of the Mediterranean and Middle East Programme and of Italy’s Foreign Policy Programme.
Her research work focuses on contemporary politics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the EU and US foreign policy towards and their role in conflicts in the Middle East as well as the implications for NATO. Among her research interests there are also the relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
On these issues, she has published one monograph (Routledge), 6 peer-reviewed articles, 11 edited books, 10 book chapters and numerous research papers and commentaries. Her publications include Political and Institutional Transition in North Africa: Egypt and Tunisia in Comparative Perspective, London: Routledge, 2018; “Europe and the ‘New’ Middle East”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, with Eduard Soler i Lecha, 2021, available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19448953.2021.1888246 (Open Access); “The EU and Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt after the Arab uprisings: A story of selective engagement”, Mediterranean Politics, with Benedetta Voltolini, Vol. 23, Issue 1, January 2018, pp. 83-102; Ten Years of Protests in the Middle East and North Africa. Dynamics of Mobilisation in a Complex (Geo)Political Environment, edited with Daniela Huber, Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2022; The EU and the GCC. Towards a New Path, Singapore, edited with Adel Abdel Ghafar, Palgrave Macmillan, 2021; Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East, edited with Andrea Dessì, Rome: Edizioni Nuova Cultura, 2020; “Re-conceptualising EU-North Africa Relations: ‘Outside-In’ and ‘Inside-Out’ Dynamics” in S. Giusti and I. Mirkina (eds), The EU in a Trans-European Space. External Relations across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, pp. 177-196; “The Gulf and the EU: Partners or Competitors?” in S. Gstöhl and E. Lannon (eds.), The Neighbours of the European Union’s Neighbours. Diplomatic and Geopolitical Dimensions beyond the European Neighbourhood Policy, Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate, 2014, pp. 123-144.
As a Researcher, her work focuses mainly on the broader MENA region and NATO’s Agenda for the South (Projecting Stability, partnerships, etc.). As a Faculty Advisor, she contributes to the NATO Regional Cooperation Course (NRCC).
She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Politics from the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and a Master’s Degree in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Sha has taught at the Centre International de Formation Européenne (CIFE), Nice – Tunis – Istanbul, and has given lectures and seminars in the fields of comparative politics and international relations of the MENA in several academic institutions as well as has organized/participated in policy workshops and conferences both in Europe and in the MENA countries. She has pursued extensive fieldwork in the MENA region and speaks Arabic fluently.