The IISS and Women in International Security UK (WIIS-UK) would like to invite you to a private screening of the documentary Europe at Sea (2017), followed by a panel discussion.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Annalisa Piras, the documentary follows Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as she contends with Europe’s pressing migration and security challenges. With exclusive access to EU military and civilian missions in the southern Mediterranean Sea and Niger, the film offers a unique insight into the decision-making that shaped Europe's response to a mounting, multifaceted crisis.

Recently named by Forbes as the fifth most powerful woman in politics, can Federica Mogherini make a difference?

Europe at Sea. Credit: Springshot Productions

Annalisa Piras is an Italian film director, writer and journalist based in London. She is a former London correspondent for L'Espresso magazine and La7 TV. Her documentary Girlfriend in A Coma (2013) was nominated for an Italian Golden Globe (Best Documentary) and for a CinEuphoria Award (Best Documentary). She directed, produced and wrote The Great European Disaster Movie, a feature documentary on the crisis in the EU.

Sophia Besch is a research fellow at the Centre for European Reform (CER). She works on European defence issues, with a focus on EU common defence and security policy, European defence industry cooperation, as well as NATO, German security and defence policy. Prior to joining the CER, Besch was a Carlo Schmid Fellow at the Policy Planning Unit at NATO headquarters and worked as a researcher for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Jessica Hagen-Zanker is a research fellow leading the migration research portfolio at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Her research focuses on understanding how migration and other policies affect migrant decision-making, the impact of migration on migrants and their families, the interlinkages between migration and social protection, and remittances. Her expertise covers a diverse range of countries, including Albania, Ethiopia and Nepal. She holds a PhD in Public Policy from Maastricht University.

Steve Valdez-Symonds is the Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme Director at Amnesty International UK. He was called to the bar in 1995 and has experience as a practitioner, legal trainer and policy advocate in the UK's immigration and asylum systems. His work at Amnesty International UK has a significant focus on the role of the UK in the EU’s response to migration across the Mediterranean, and he has provided written and oral evidence to parliamentary inquiries on this subject.


Virginia Comolli

Virginia Comolli leads the Security and Development Programme, setting its research priorities and direction. She contributes to IISS research, represents the Institute at conferences internationally and in the media, and delivers briefings to government and corporate audiences.

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Event details

Wednesday 14 March, 5.30–7pm GMT
Arundel House, London
Annalisa Piras, filmmaker; Director, Springshot Productions
Sophia Besch, Research Fellow, Centre for European Reform 
Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute
Steve Valdez-Symonds, Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme Director, Amnesty International UK
Virginia Comolli, Senior Fellow for Security and Development, IISS