School of Social and Political Science

Pietro Stefanini

Job Title

PhD Student


I am a PhD student in the department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. My research explores the relationship between humanitarianism and settler colonialism using Palestine/Israel as a case study.

Previously, I worked for five years as a researcher for a London-based organisation dedicated to defend refugee rights. In 2018 I was featured in and helped produce an Al Jazeera TV documentary titled 'Seven Days in Beirut: Life Inside Burj al-Barajneh Refugee Camp'.


Dr. Nicola Perugini; Dr. Nida Alahmad.


PhD Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh (2020-)

MSc Politics of Conflicts, Rights and Justice, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, (2014-2015)

BA with Honours Politics and International Relations, Kingston University London, (2010-2013)


2020-2023 Politics and International Relations PhD Scholarship, University of Edinburgh

Teaching Experience

Tutor - International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond (2021-2022)


Peer-Reviewed Articles

2021 'Incendiary Kites and Balloons: Anti-colonial Resistance in Palestine's Great March of Return', Partecipazione e Conflitto - The Open Journal of Sociopolitical Studies, 14(2), pp. 663-660.

2021 ‘Come normalizzare l’assedio: il Meccanismo per la Ricostruzione di Gaza’, Historia Magistra. Rivista di storia critica, n. 34, 2020, pp. 21-39. 

Book Chapters

2021 'Normalizing the Siege' in Sorkin, Michael and Sharp, Deen eds., Open Gaza: Architectures of Hope, Cairo: American University in Cairo Press.

2020 ‘Introduction’ in Stefanini, P. (ed.), UNRWA at 70: Palestinian Refugees in Context, London: Al Jazeera Centre for Studies & Palestinian Return Centre.

Articles in edited publications

2018 “Normalizing the Siege: The ‘Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism’ and the Contradictions of Humanitarianism and Reconstruction”, The Politics of Post-Conflict Reconstruction, POMEPS Studies, 30.

Edited Volumes

2020 UNRWA at 70: Palestinian Refugees in ContextLondon: Al Jazeera Center for Studies and Palestinian Return Centre.

Selected Reports

2021 Contributor to '73 Years Later; What life is like for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon: highlighting lived experiences and sustainable policy-oriented solutions', report published by the Office of Margarete Auken MEP.

2018 'Voices of Return: Documenting Israel's Repression of the Great March of Return', London: Palestinian Return Centre.

2018 with Maya Hammad (equal contribution) 'Syria’s Palestinian Refugees: An Account of Violence, Precarious Existence and Uncertain Futures', London: Palestinian Return Centre.

Conference Organisation

2019 British Library, London. 'UNRWA at 70: Responding to Crises and Building a Just Future', University of Exeter, Al Jazeera Centre for Studies and Palestinian Return Centre.


I'm on the editorial committee of the Italian student-run journal Maydan

Academic Conferences and Research Workshops

2021 Politics of the Middle East: Interdisciplinary Seminar Series for Early Career Researchers, Online, Paper presented: "A genealogy of settler colonial humanitarianism in Palestine/Israel".

2021 Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies SeSaMO Online Doctoral Workshop, University of Bologna, Paper presented: "A genealogy of settler colonial humanitarianism in Palestine/Israel".

2020 Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Online Conference: "Entanglements and Detachments in Global Politics", London School of Economics and Political Science, Paper presented: Settler Colonial Humanitarianism: Invasion, Settlement and Violence.

2020 University of Southern Denmark, Centre for War Studies Annual Conference (online), "What is a battlefield? Who is a fighter?" Paper presented: Militant Kites and Balloons: Anticolonial Resistance in Palestine's Great March of Return.

2020 POMEPS Junior Scholar Virtual Research Workshops, Workshop #4: Gaza. Paper presented: Political Violence in Gaza’s Great March of Return.

2019 University of Oxford, Palestine Refugees and International Law short course. The British Institute, Amman, Jordan.

2018 POMEPS, George Washington University and Carnegie Middle East Center, The politics of post-conflict reconstruction in the Middle East, Beirut, Lebanon. Paper presented: Normalizing the Siege: ‘The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism,’ Humanitarianism and the Contradictions of Reconstruction.

2018 Academic Council on the United Nations System, Vienna, Austria. International Peace Studies Conference, Paper presented: Normalizing the Siege: ‘The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism’ Humanitarianism and Settler Colonialism.

2017 University of Oxford, Rethinking Transitional Justice: What Does It Mean Today? Paper presented: Seeking Transitional Justice in the Former Metropole: the case of the Palestinian Diaspora.

2017 Queen Mary University of London, Palestine under Occupation: The Legitimation of Violence and the Violence of Legitimation. Paper presented: ‘Unlawful Associations:’ Israel’s colonial weapon of de-legitimation.

Invited lectures and presentations

2021 Webinar organised by the Office of Market Auken MEP, What is life like for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon? 

2018 Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (Inalco) Paris, France.

2017 London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Palestine Society.

2017 University of Essex, Palestinian Solidarity Society. 

2017 Palestine Museum in Bristol, UK.

2016 Palestinian Youth in Europe, Berlin, Germany,

2015 European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. EU Delegation for relations with Palestine.

Research interests

Research interests

Political violence, Settler Colonialism, Humanitarianism, War, Militarism, Anti-colonial Resistance, Refugee studies, International Relations, Middle East politics, Israel/Palestine.