The American University of Rome is delighted to announce Professor Cecilia Sottilotta’s appointment as Director of the Master’s of Peace Studies. 

Professor Sottilotta, an emerging leader in the field of International Relations, will bring new perspectives and a broad range of academic expertise to the AUR Peace Studies Program. Building on the momentum of her predecessor, Professor and Interim Program Director Valerie Higgins, Professor Sottilotta is poised to take the program to the next level. 

Professor Sottilotta earned her Ph.D. in Political Theory at LUISS Guido Carli University and she holds two Master’s degrees, a Master for Experts in Business Internationalization from the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE), and a Master of International Politics and Diplomacy from the University of Padua. 

A leading expert on political risk analysis, Sottilotta’s research interests include European affairs, with a special focus on the quality of democracy, and Latin American politics, particularly the peace process in Colombia. Between 2015 and 2019 she coordinated the Southern Europe research team in the framework of Horizon 2020 project “The choice for Europe since Maastricht: Member States’ preferences for economic and fiscal integration” (EMU Choices). 

A prolific scholar, Professor Sottilotta is the author of Political Risk: Concepts, Theories, Challenges (Routledge, 2016) and Il rischio politico: Istruzioni per governare l’incertezza (LUISS University Press, 2019); she co-edited a volume entitled The Politics of the Eurozone Crisis in Southern Europe: A Comparative Reappraisal (Palgrave, 2019), and she is a co-author of Equality, Freedom and Democracy: Europe after the Great Recession (Oxford University Press, 2020). Her research has appeared in multiple edited volumes as well as international peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of European Public Policy, Terrorism and Political Violence, and International Affairs. 

Sottilotta has served as Visiting Research Fellow at the Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies (2016), Visiting Professor at the Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia (2017), was a DAAD Visiting Research Fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies – GIGA Hamburg (2019), and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Jacques Delors Centre of the Hertie School, Berlin (2021). She is currently a Visiting Professor at the EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies Department of the College of Europe, Bruges. 

On her new role, Sottilotta commented, "I am excited to take up the role of Director of the Peace Studies Program. At this particular historical juncture nothing seems more relevant than educating future professionals, scholars and policy-makers who will be able to understand complexity and contribute to multi-dimensional peace-building initiatives. I very much look forward to sharing my research and professional expertise with the Peace Studies students" 

President of AUR, Scott Sprenger, took the opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank Professor Valerie Higgins for her many contributions to the Peace Studies program over the last two years: “Professor Higgins has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to oversee and make real improvements to the Peace Studies program during her tenure as Interim Program Director. She has laid the groundwork for a program that will continue to grow and flourish under Professor Sottilotta’s leadership.”