University of Malta


The Department of International Relations with the University of Malta’s Faculty of Arts provides a BA (General and Honours) in International Relations, a taught MA in Humanitarian Action, as well as research degrees in International Relations at Masters and PhD level. Our students go on to pursue careers within the civil and foreign service within their respective home countries, the EU and other international institutions in Brussels, Geneva and elsewhere, as well as careers in academia and private enterprise.  The Department also has a strong history of engaging with the public and policy makers by hosting and organizing numerous guest speakers, public dialogues and conferences in collaboration with various national and international entities.

Contact information

Department of International Relations, Faculty of Arts

University of Malta, Msida, MSD2080, Malta

Tel.: +356 23402974


Point of contact

Dr Valentina Cassar, Lecturer

Tel.: +356 23402974

The team

Contacts Resume Speciality
Dr Anna Khakee

Head of Department

Anna Khakee obtained her first degree from the University of Lund, Sweden where she majored in Political Science. She went on to study for a M.A. (Diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures, D.E.S.) and a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

Before joining the Department of International Relations at the University of Malta, she worked as a Senior Researcher at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and for several years as a consultant to think tanks and international organizations, including the Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre, FRIDE, EuroMeSCo, The Policy Practice, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

She has been a guest lecturer at Université Aix-Marseille, College of Europe, DiploFoundation, University Institute of Lisbon, United Nations University for Peace, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. For the last four years, she has been on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Board of Selection for the co-funding of development projects under Malta’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds.


Her research interests include democratization/democracy promotion and development issues. Her previous work experience has also focused extensively on human security. Dr. Khakee has published widely, including in international journals such as Journal of North African Studies, Mediterranean Politics, Mediterranean Quarterly, and East European Politics and Societies.

  • Democracy assistance & democratisation
  • Development cooperation
  • Humanitarian action
  • Human Security
Dr Valentina Cassar


Valentina Cassar is a Lecturer within the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Arts at the University of Malta. She completed a PhD in International Relations at the University of Aberdeen in 2015, where she conducted research on the post-Cold War Nuclear Strategic Cultures of the United States and Russia.

Valentina is a graduate in International Relations from the University of Malta and a graduate in Strategic Studies from the University of Aberdeen. Before joining the Department of International Relations in 2008, she held posts within Malta’s Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs, the Ministry for Rural Affairs and the Environment, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

  • European Security
  • Nuclear policy and nonproliferation
  • Strategic cultures
  • Strategic studies
  • US Foreign Policy
  • Russian Foreign Policy
  • European Security
Dr Isabelle Calleja Ragonesi

Senior Lecturer

Dr Isabelle Calleja Ragonesi completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Malta in History, Classics and Mediterranean Studies. She went on to do a Masters in political science at the LSE where she focused on Southern European and EU politics and completed a dissertation on The Impact of the EU on Local Government: The Case of the London Boroughs.

She completed her PhD under the supervision of Prof Robert Leonardi from the European Institute at the LSE. Her focus was on Democratisation in Southern Europe. While undergoing PhD studies she worked as a researcher at the Centre for Labour Studies at the University of Malta specialising in trade union issues with a focus on the impact of EU membership on this domain.  She was a Member of the Core Group of the Malta/EU Steering and Action Committee, an official body of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was Deputy Chair of the MEUSAC Sub-Committee on General Affairs and External Relations between 2003 and 2005.
She started lecturing in International Relations in 1993 and became a fulltime member of the department in 2001 when it was setup. She headed the department from 2008 to 2014. During her time as Head of Department, she set up the local Masters in Humanitarian Action and also oversaw the department’s membership to the Network of Humanitarian Action (NOHA) and their joint Masters programme. She also worked as part of a University group on developing a joint Masters in border guarding for FRONTEX.

  • Southern Europe
  • EU Studies
  • Democratisation
  • Small state studies
  • Comparative government
  • Local & regional government studies
  • Migration issues
  • Border studies
  • Politics of Malta
  • Politics of Cyprus
Dr Angela Pennisi di Floristella


Dr Angela Pennisi di Floristella joined the University of Malta as lecturer in International Relations in 2015.

In 2012 she received a PhD in Global Politics and European Integration from the Scuola Superiore of the University of Catania. Between 2013 and 2014 she has been a post-doctoral fellow at the Research College The Transformative Power of Europe at the Freie Universität, Berlin. Between 2014 and 2015 Angela has been a research fellow at the Department of Political and Social Studies at the University of Catania.
She has been a visiting scholar at the School of International Service (SIS) at the American University (Washington DC), at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore and at the Shandong University in Jinan (China). Her research focuses on Asian Pacific security cooperation with a special focus on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), on ASEAN-EU interregional relations and on non-traditional security.She has published in the Asia Europe Journal, in the Pacific Review and in the KFG Working Paper Series. She has authored the book The ASEAN Regional Security Partnership. Strengths and Limits of a Cooperative System published by Palgrave MacMillan.

  • Asia Pacific relations
  • ASEAN security
  • Non traditional security
Prof Carmen Sammut

Pro-Rector & Associate Professor

Professor Carmen Sammut is Pro Rector for Student & Staff Affairs and Outreach. She lectures in the Department of International Relations (Faculty of Arts) where she also served as Head of Department.
She holds a PhD in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She obtained her Masters (cum laude), a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and a BA Degree from the University of Malta. She currently teaches and writes about journalism, international communications, political communication and issues of culture in international affairs. At the University of Malta she also teaches journalism within the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences (MAKS).
Carmen Sammut is a long experienced broadcaster and regularly appears as an analyst discussing current events. She starting her career as a journalist with the national broadcasting station in the early 1980s, where she mainly engaged with the writing and production of foreign news and current affairs programmes. Since the arrival of pluralism in broadcasting in 1991 she has freelanced for various media outlets.
  • Media systems
  • Journalism
  • Political communication
  • Gender and politics
  • Soft power and nation branding
  • International relations
  • Political economy
Prof James Sater

Associate Professor

James N. Sater is Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations. He previously held full time positions in the International Studies Department at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (2008-2018), as well as in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco (2005-2008). He was also a Guest Professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Southern Denmark (2012-13) as well as a Guest Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Southern Maine (2012). He is the author of Morocco: Challenges to Tradition and Modernity (Routledge 2010/16); and Civil Society and Political Change in Morocco (Routledge, 2007). His research interests include sectarianism, citizenship, electoral politics, gender, marginalization and migration with a focus on North Africa and Arab Gulf monarchies. Recent articles include “Drafting Tunisia’s Constitution: Tensions between Constituent Power and Constituted Power in the Transition Process,” Al Sabah Paper Series (University of Durham 2018); “Patronage and Democratic Citizenship in Morocco” in The Crisis of Citizenship in the Arab World (Brill 2017); and “Citizenship and Migration in Arab Gulf Monarchies” Citizenship Studies, 18 (3/4) 2014.
  • Middle East
  • North Africa
  • Political Science
  • Political Economy