Our Team


Pierandrea2019 Pierandrea Leucci (President)

Pierandrea graduated in Law (Master’s Degree) at the University of Florence with a thesis in Law of the Sea. He also studied Public International Law at the University of Uppsala, and holds an LL.M. in International Law of the Sea from the Arctic University of Norway. Pierandrea works as a Legal Officer at the Fisheries Control and Inspections Unit of the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) of the European Commission. Before joining DG MARE, he worked as law of the sea expert at the Max Planck Foundation, where he supported the work of Governments, including Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia and Angola, and conducted (lead author) a Study assessing the level of implementation of UNCLOS in 21 countries of the Indo-Pacific. He also worked at the Fisheries Unit of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, and at the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS). Rhodes Academy alumnus, he is member of the European Environmental Law Forum (2016/present), and Co-Editor in Chief for the Yearbook on the Law of the Sea (YLoS). Pierandrea has experience in supporting Governments in drafting national legislation (e.g., maritime zones, and anti-piracy legislation), and in advising private and public entities on a wide array of law of the sea’s issues, including navigational rights and obligations, maritime boundary delimitation, deep-seabed mining, and fisheries legislation.

photo of Dr. Abdullah Al Faruque (5)

Dr. Abdullah Al Faruque (Senior Legal advisor)

He graduated in Law at the University of Dhaka and then he conducted both his PhD in Petroleum Law and Policy and his post-doctoral studies in Balancing Investment Protection and Human Rights at the University of Dundee, United Kingdom. Since 1999, he has been teaching law – including, Public International Law, Natural Resources Law, Human Rights Law, Law of Contract and Tort Law – at the University of Chittagong, where he was appointed, from 2007 to 2010, Head of the Department of Law and, from 2012 to 2016, Dean of the Faculty of Law. He worked as legal consultant for many important national and international bodies and institutions, such as ILO, UNDP, USAID, SAHR, German Watch and BELA, notably in the context of human rights issues, environmental legislation and energy policy. Dr Al Faruque is also an experienced legal researcher and Executive Editor at the Chittagong University Journal of Law. In the course of his successful career, inter alia, he has published seven books and a multitude of articles in national and international journals (for which he also received a number of Awards), as well as he took actively part in many important conferences, seminaries and workshops in Bangladesh and abroad, e.g., in India, UK, Germany and Thailand. His main areas of expertise include: Investment Law, Petroleum Contracts, International Human Rights Law, Public International Law, Environmental Law.


Jenifar Nesa Popi (Legal advisor)

She graduated in Law (LL.B. and LL.M.) at the Premier University, Chittagong and, in 2018, she obtained a postgraduate qualification in International Law of the Sea at the University of Tromsø, Norway. Attorney at law licensed to practice before the district courts and the High Court of Bangladesh. She developed her career in International Human Rights Law by focusing on the body of rules governing humanitarian intervention at sea and refugee law. Since 2018, she has been actively involved in the technical and legal assistance of Rohingya refugees, inter alia, by working as a Protection Officer at the Danish Refugee Council. Jenifar previously served as consultant at the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) and as Project Officer/Technical Team Lead at NGO Forum. She is currently working as Lecturer at the Department of Maritime Law & Policy, Faculty of Maritime Governance & Policy of the Bangabandhu Sheikj Mujibur Rahman Maritime University in Dhaka.

nopersonimageDr. Anna Arnautova (Legal advisor)

PhD in International Law at the Kazan State University, with specialized studies in Public International Law and Law of the Sea, conducted respectively at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, in Moscow and at the Arctic University of Tromsø, Norway. By means of her academic achievements she was able to acquire in-depth knowledge in a number of areas of international public law, including theory of international law, diplomatic law, law of treaties, humanitarian law, international environmental law. Law of the sea interests include shipping law (with particular emphasis on navigational rights in the polar regions), conservation, management and sustainable use of natural resources, protection and preservation of the marine environment and marine scientific research. She worked several years as a Diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, performing diplomatic, legal and consular services and helping to facilitate the processes of multilateral diplomacy and cooperation in Northern European geographical context.

180607_StaffHeadshots_MarcoLaRocca_2Marco La Rocca (Head of Operations and Strategy)

Marco graduated in Political Science and Decision Making at the University of Florence and also obtained a Postgraduate Master degree in International Development from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. During his studies he has demonstrated interest for International Affairs and International Law with focus on Human Rights. Marco has worked as a Program Administrator with RedR Australia, a standby Partner organisation for the UN Agencies and other international organisation, that focuses on humanitarian response such as the Rohingya refugees crisis in Myanmar. In this capacity he supported the deployment of skilled people in key sectors of the response such as Wash, Shelter and Camp Management to different UN Agencies. He is also working with Amnesty International as Team Coordinator for the Mobilization Network by training new volunteers and introduce them to the structure of the organisation. Marco is a fellow at Amnesty International Australia Fellowship Lead Activist Program. In this capacity he is focusing on straightening the activism in the regional Victoria by training activists in advocating and campaigning in achieving the goals set by Amnesty International campaigns, nationally as well as internationally. He has been a fellow at the “Monash Fellow Leadership Program” in 2017.


David Mannini (Planning and Outreach Officer)

He graduated in Economic Development, International Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at the University of Florence, with a postgraduate qualification in Human Rights and Conflict Management obtained at the prestigious Sant’Anna University in Pisa. He improved his knowledge and understanding of human rights law by working as project assistant for a number of important international bodies and institutions, including: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in Egypt; the Foundation for Human Rights, in South Africa; the ‘Roots & Shoots’ programme of the Jane Goodall Institute, in Tanzania. He is currently working as a local project manager at the Italian Committee for UNICEF, in Rome. For ASCOMARE, he is endowed with the task of strategic planning, coordinating and implementing ASCOMARE activities and initiatives.


Lorenzo Petrelli (Financial Officer)

Lorenzo carried out his studies in Economics and Business and graduated in Economics, Management and Corporate Law from the University of Bari Aldo Moro. Before specialising in web marketing (Google Digital Training) and business development strategies (Tourism Marketing Management: course certified by ‘Regione Puglia’), he worked as accounting consultant at Progenia S.r.l.; he coordinated services of outbound marketing at New Voice S.r.l.; he collaborated with Molly SAS for the organisation and promotion of cultural events. He also worked as administrative assistant at the General Secretatiat of the Office of the Mayor of Carmiano, in Apulia. For ASCOMARE, he is endowed with administrative tasks, including those concerning ASCOMARE’s affiliations with bodies and institutions in Italy and abroad, as well as those related to the promotion of services and activities of the association.

Chiara Pavesi (Project Coordinator and Research Associate)

Chiara graduated iFoto Chiara Pavesin Law (Master’s Degree) at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano undertaking a thesis with the title “The law on the use of force: the relationship between Islamic law and International Law”. She also holds an LLM in International Law from the University of Nottingham. Her thesis concerned the relationship between UNCLOS and the Non-State actors and the use of force by States against private oil companies. She was an intern for the legal office of the International Tribunal for the Law of the sea in Hamburg and participated to the Jean Monnet Summer School on “European Union and the Law of the Sea” (EULoS) in 2021.  Since her LLM in Nottingham she has developed a deep interest in International Law of the Sea with a particular focus on the protection of human rights at sea, the use of force at sea and maritime security.


Matteo Bedendi (Research Associate)

Matteo graduated at Università degli Studi di Genova with a dissertation on International Law of the Sea entitled “Enforcement  of UNCLOS in Italy and in Japan: similarities and differences”. During his studies, he participated to the Erasmus+ European mobility program, spending 10 months at Université Toulouse 1 Capitole (France) and a three-month research period at Waseda University in Tokyo (Japan). After attending the Jean Monnet Summer School on “European Union and the Law of the Sea” (EULoS) in 2021, he joined in October a law firm specialized in maritime and admiralty law. In July 2022 he attended the Summer Course of the Hague Academy of International Law. Ph.D. Candidate (November 2022) in international law at Università degli Studi di Genova.

20211005_185820          Cristina Canella (Research Assistant)                   

Cristina’s professional career can be summed up as intense research into the evaluation of the anthropogenic impact on the natural ecosystem. In 2018, She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences and Technologies with a thesis on the analysis of mineral dust contained in a snow core of the Illimani glacier (Bolivia), contributing to the ICE MEMORY project. Cristina pursued her university career with a master’s degree in Marine Sciences promoted by the University of Milan – Bicocca and the National University of the Maldives. This interdisciplinary course has allowed her to deepen her knowledge of the marine environment from a biological point of view, but also to improve her skills in managing the natural ecosystem through the study of International Law of the Sea and marine geopolitics. In 2020, Cristina participated in the 3bVent project on the assessment of the marine biodiversity of the Azores Archipelago and the impact of ocean acidification. She obtained the master’s degree with full marks with a thesis on the sustainability of the governance of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus). Since 2020 she has been providing scientific and technological support to the Civic Aquarium of Milan.

foto per ASCOMARE (1)Andrea Valentina Salamino (Research Assistant)

Andrea graduated in Law (Master’s Degree) at the Università degli Studi di Torino undertaking a thesis with the title “Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in International Law” and participating in several project and initiatives, including the International Human Rights Legal Clinic. In the context of the latter, she co-drafted a third-party intervention in a case before the European Court of Human Rights. She also holds an LLM in Public International Law – concentration stream in International Environmental Law and Governance – from the Graduate Institute of Geneva. In 2019, she participated to the Jean Monnet Summer School on “European Union and the Law of the Sea” (EULoS) and in the UNICRI and SIOI Winter School on Environmental Crimes. She completed the legal traineeship required in Italy to access the bar and she is currently undertaking an internship at the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs in the Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea. Andrea developed a true passion for environmental law and the law of the sea, specifically regarding fisheries, climate change, maritime security and the protection and preservation of the terrestrial and marine environment.

20221128_143750 Giacomo Grappoli (Research Assistant)

He graduated at the University of Milano-Bicocca (Master’s Degree) with a thesis on the Law of the Sea, focusing on the issue of maritime boundary delimitation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. In 2019 he took part in the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition as a member of the team representing Bicocca University and has been one of the coaches of the team ever since. While undertaking his thesis, Giacomo contributed to the organization of various activities relating to the Law of the Sea organized by Bicocca University. He is currently attending the Master in Diplomacy at the Italian Institute for
International Political Studies (ISPI).

IMG_20220822_164107_174Mira Ghazzoul (Trainee)

Mira Ghazzoul graduated at the Lebanese University of Law with a bachelor’s degree in Lebanese law. She is currently doing her master’s degree in European and Comparative law at the Sapienza University of Rome with a focus on comparative private law. She undertook various internships throughout her studies ranging from the field of civil and commercial law, corruption laws and international law. She is also fluent in 5 languages and is eager to gain concrete experience in the field of international law of the sea.

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