Daniel Thumpston is a PhD student at SOAS, University of London in the department of politics and international studies. His research is within political economy and international relations with a focus on China. His research interests are centred around Chinese and European trade and investment policy, in particular the dynamics of the Belt and Road Initiative and Digital Silk Road in Europe. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, he worked in research and consultancy roles in the UK and China. He speaks Mandarin Chinese and French.
Valeria Talbot is a Senior Research Fellow and Co-Head of ISPI's Middle East and North Africa Centre, in charge of Middle East Studies. She also is a lecturer at the Master in Middle Eastern Studies in ASERI – Catholic University, and at the IULM University of Milan. She was ISPI scientific coordinator of Arab Trans, a FP7 funded research project on political and social transformations in the Arab World after the Arab uprisings in 2010-2011.
Gaia Taffoni was a research trainee at ISPI and a PhD. student in Political Studies at the University of Milan, NASP. She holds a BA in International Studies at University of Bologna and an MA in International Relations, European Institutions curriculum, at the University of Bologna. Her research interests focus on the European external action, European foreign policy toward the MENA region and democratisation processes.
Vita Spivak is analytical projects head at “Expert RA” credit rating agency. Prior to that she worked as the Russia in the Asia Pacific Program Coordinator at the Carnegie Moscow Center. Her research interests focus on contemporary Chinese economy and foreign investment in the energy sector, the anti-corruption campaign in the PRC, and the development of the One Belt, One Road Initiative.
John Seaman joined Ifri in 2009, where he specializes in the geopolitics and political economy of energy and natural resources in Asia, with a focus on China and Japan. Mr. Seaman holds a Master in International Affairs - International Security from Sciences Po, Paris, a Bachelor of Arts in International Economics from Seattle University, and studied as a NSEP David L. Boren Scholar at the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies (2002-03).
Francesco Salesio Schiavi is Research Assistant for the MENA Centre at ISPI. He holds a Bachelor's in History and a Master's in History and Oriental Studies from the University of Bologna. He has successfully concluded the TOMidEast Summer School at the University of Turin, andhasrecently completed a Master in Middle Eastern Studies (MIMES) at the Postgraduate School of Economics and International Relations (ASERI), Milan.
Nicola is a Partner in McKinsey Milan Office and global leader of Transport Infrastructure. He joined McKinsey in 2008 after a previous experience in the consulting business. He supports multiple clients, in particular major players in the transport and infrastructure sectors, with a focus on international growth, investment optimization and multi-year strategic planning.