About us

Established in 2018 between London and Verona, ITSS-Verona is a regularly licensed, international, interdisciplinary, apolitical, not-for profit, cultural association dedicated to the study of international security. Our mission is to combine the best minds the world can offer to create one of the largest international networks addressing current and future security challenges. 

As former UN secretary Kofi Annan famously stated, mankind increasingly deals with “problems without passport”. Within this picture, not only are we convinced that everything can shape security; we strongly believe that internationalising research and debate is paramount, for these must not be solely relegated to academia.

That is why ITSS-Verona unites outstanding men and women from governments, institutions, civil society, and industry, with the intent to analyse the kind of societal, economic, and geopolitical tensions affecting our times.


Founding Members


Dr Michele Groppi

ITSS Verona President

As the first Italian varsity student-athlete at Stanford University, Michele Groppi graduated with ‘Honors’ in International Relations. He then obtained his MA in Counterterrorism and Homeland Security from IDC Herzliya, Summa Cum Laude, and his PhD in Defence Studies from King’s College London whilst finishing his professional volleyball career. Starting 2018,
Michele has been a Teaching Fellow at the Defence Studies Department, KCL, Defence Academy of the UK, focusing on issues of international security. Michele is also an ICT research fellow and Senior Research associate at RAND Europe. Author of several articles published in peer-reviewed journals on matters of terrorism and radicalisation, Michele applies his energies for the internationalization of ITSS-Verona and its network.



Avv Marta Macaccaro

ITSS Verona Vice President

Born and raised in Verona, Marta Macaccaro graduated in Law in 2012 from Verona University, Summa Cum Laude. She obtained her legal specialization from Verona and Trento University and in 2015 she became a lawyer. Upon her arrival to Como, she has focused mainly on bank law, bankruptcy law, and insurance consulting. Active in Veneto and Lombardy, Marta has opened her own legal firm, where she continues to offer services to insurance companies and multiple firms, including high-quality consultancy on matters related to credit recovery and enforcement procedures. A dedicated professional, Marta is in charge of the Association’s vision and international stance.



Dr Zeno Leoni

Assistant to the President

Zeno Leoni is a Teaching Fellow in Challenges to the International Order at the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London and the Defence Academy of the UK. In addition, he is affiliated with the Lau China Institute of King’s College London and in the year 2020-2021 he paid a visit to the Nebrija University (Madrid). Zeno is an expert in Geopolitics, Globalization, World Order, American Grand Strategy, Chinese Strategy Grade, and US-China relations. In fact, he is also the author of the book American Grand Strategy from Obama to Trump: Imperialism After Bush and China’s Hegemonic Challenge (2021, New York: Palgrave Macmillan). His analyses appeared in The Times, Rai Radio Uno, Corriere della Sera, Limes. In 2020, he was a consultant at the Italian Ministry of Defense for writing the first Future Trends document as part of Innov@Difesa, a civil-military collaboration project. Since its establishment, Zeno has been the heart of ITSS-Verona’s operations, projects, and outreach.


ITSS Verona Leads

Sonia Martínez Girón, Executive Director
Anna Lorenzini, Members Series Editor-in-Chief
Rebecca Pedemonte, Lead of Communications
Arslan Sheikh, South Asian Regional Manager and Media Relations Lead (Interim)
Francesco Bruno, Chief of Staff
Alessandro Spada, HR Lead
Carlotta Rinaudo, Webinar Seires Director
Alessandra Gramolini, International Security Magazine Editor-in-Chief
Martina Gambacorta, Institutional Relations Manager
Julia M. Hodgins, Deputy of Research
Esther Brito Ruiz, Deputy of Education
Irene Senfter, Arctic Regional Manager & Senior Advisor
Omri Brinner, Middle East Regional Manager and Academy Relations Manager
John Devine, UK Regional Manager and Podcast Co-Lead
Marco Verrocchio, Italy Regional Manager
Shain Modarres, Iran Regional Manager and Iran Project Lead
Oleg Abdurashitov, Senior Advisor

The International Team for the Study of Security -Verona

Villafranca di Verona, Italy
CF: 93285920232

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