Understanding Terrorism and Climate Change: Meet Alumna Camilla Carlesi
Camilla Carlesi is a 23-year-old alumna from Rome who graduated in Spring 2020 with a B.A. in International Affairs and a minor in Communications. After graduation, she began a Master’s in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies offered jointly by the University of Glasgow, the University of Trento and Charles University of Prague. Camilla recently won “The Growing Thought Leadership Award 2022,” with her paper “Understanding the Relationship between Terrorism and Climate Change: The case of Boko Haram Activities and the Environmental Degradation of the Lake Chad Basin.” She is currently a Digital Fellow for the Council for European Studies.
What brought you to JCU?
I did a study abroad experience during high school. After spending one year living in the USA, I wanted to continue learning in a multicultural environment with an educational system that was different from the Italian one.
Congratulations on winning “The Growing Thought Leadership Award 2022,” with your paper “Understanding the Relationship between Terrorism and Climate Change: The case of Boko Haram Activities and the Environmental Degradation of the Lake Chad Basin.” Tell us about it. What were the main challenges when conducting your research and writing the paper?
Thank you. The idea for this paper came from my undergraduate thesis topic, but the case study actually relates to an exam I did during my master’s program. The main challenge during the research and writing process was the limited number of scholarly resources available. Few academics connect the topics of climate change and terrorist activity, probably because of the quite recent nature of environmental concerns. I believe that overcoming this obstacle was what made my paper stand out. By linking existing arguments within the two areas of study, I shed light on an unpopular aspect of security dynamics, which is impossible to isolate, but is yet present and threatening.
You’re currently pursuing a Master’s in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies offered jointly by the University of Glasgow, the University of Trento, and Charles University of Prague. How and why did you choose this program?
I chose this program because it has allowed me to keep learning in an international environment and has offered me invaluable networking opportunities. Furthermore, studying in three different institutions pushed me to adapt to various teaching methods, which has enriched me in many ways. The area of Security, Intelligence, and Strategic Studies particularly attracted me because of the wide nature of its curriculum. Thus, I was able to tailor my concentration of courses according to my various interests, which range from environmental security to terrorism studies, peacekeeping, and conflict resolution.
What class and/or professor at JCU had the greatest impact on you?
Definitely Professor Donatella Della Ratta. Her classes were extremely engaging, and her course “War, Terrorism, and Violence in Visual Culture” was one of the reasons that I picked the topic of my undergraduate thesis, and why I decided to pursue this master’s program. She inspired me as a person, an academic, and an ethnographer.
Professor Silvia Scarpa also played a huge role in my academic journey. She supported me during my undergraduate experience and also after graduation. She is an amazing human being who taught me kindness and determination. I am sure we will cross paths again in the future.
You were very active in extracurricular activities at JCU. How did this engagement shape you personally and professionally?
I tried to make the most of my time at JCU by being an active community service volunteer and Student Government’s vice president. I was always willing to jump into a project or apply for an internship. I believe that this way of experiencing my undergraduate life opened a lot of doors for me and enriched me in an unparalleled way. Personally, I became more empathic and aware of my goals, whereas professionally, I mastered a set of skills that have been essential for the positions I later filled.
What are your plans for the future?
Hopefully, I will be able to start a traineeship once I conclude my master’s program in September. I would be interested in filling any position involving research and policy drafting in the field of security studies. In the meantime, I will soon start a part-time internship with the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) in Vicenza, where I will conduct research on the environmental aspect of peacekeeping operations.