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Who We Are
Justin O. Frosini Justin O. Frosini is Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development and an Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is also Associate Professor of Comparative Public Law at Bocconi University. Prof. Frosini is the co-coordinator of a research group of the International Association of Constitutional Law devoted to Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies and he is a member of the Advisory Board of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Constitutional Law published by Oxford University Press. Frosini has been a visiting professor at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada where, in 2010, he was awarded the European Union Centre of Excellence Visiting Scholar Grant. Since 2003 he is the co-director of the Summer School European Union and Legal Reform held every July in Igalo, Montenegro. Frosini was also a member of a group of seven international scholars conducting case studies for a 5-year project on Constitutional Design and Conflict Management in Africa funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Prof. Frosini is the author of a ground-breaking book on the legal value of constitutional preambles for which he received an Excellency in Research Prize from Bocconi University in 2013. He has published copiously in English and Italian in the field of comparative constitutional law with particular attention to federalism, regionalism and devolution, Brexit and the European Union, constitutional justice and forms of government. His most recent publications include The Brexit car crash: using E.H. Carr to explain Britain's choice to leave the European Union in 2016, in Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 27 (5) 2020, 761-778 (co-authored with Mark Gilbert); Dalla Sovranità del Parlamento alla Sovranità del Popolo, La rivoluzione costituzionale provocate da Brexit, Wolters Klewer - Cedam, Padova, 2020; Comparative Constitutional History Volume One: Principles, Developments, Challenges, Brill, Leiden, 2020 (co-edited with Jason Mazzone and Francesco Biagi); The Making of Constitutional Preambles, in H. Lerner, D. Landau (eds), Comparative Constitution-Making, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019, 341-361 and Splendid Isolation or Open to the World? The Use of Foreign Law by the UK Supreme Court, in G.F. Ferrari (ed.) The Use of Foreign Law by Constitutional and Supreme Courts, Brill, Leiden, 29-68.
Frosini is a regular media commentator and he writes a trimonthly report on constitutional matters in the United Kingdom for Quaderni costituzionali one of Italy's leading constitutional law journals. He received his PhD in constitutional law from the University of Bologna.
Sara Pennicino is a Senior Affiliated Research Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development, Adjunct Professor of International Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Europe and Associate Professor of Comparative Public Law at the University of Padua. Pennicino completed her PhD in Comparative Public Law (2008) at the University of Siena and was then awarded a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Bologna's School of Law. In the meantime, she became a member of the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (CCSDD) where to date she holds the position of Senior Affiliated Scholar. She is the author of a book on the use of the concept of legal reasonableness in the case law of the US Supreme Court and of numerous articles published in Italian and international law reviews regarding constitutional adjudication in common law systems and elections. Her research areas include electoral management in transitional and post conflict countries, systems of electoral justice, constitutional ban on political parties and constitutional eternity clauses. Sara works with the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (COESPU) training Italian and third country members of security forces with specific regard to human rights and policing, security and elections-related violence and humanitarian law.
Francesco Biagi is an Affiliated Research Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development, as well as a Senior Assistant Professor of Comparative Public Law at the Department of Legal Studies of the University of Bologna. From October 2015 to January 2017 he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law (Heidelberg), where he now works as a legal consultant. Biagi obtained a Ph.D. in Constitutional Law from the University of Ferrara after graduating in Law from the University of Bologna. In 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 he was Visiting Professor at the College of Law of the University of Illinois, and in 2012 he was Visiting Scholar at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York City. He is the Coordinator of the Sub-Group on Africa of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) Research Group on Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies. He has written extensively on transition processes, constitution-building, forms of government, constitutional justice, fundamental rights, federalism, electoral justice, hybrid and illiberal regimes. His latest books include European Constitutional Courts and Transitions to Democracy (Cambridge University Press 2020), Comparative Constitutional History. Volume 1: Principles, Developments, Challenges (edited with J.O. Frosini and J. Mazzone, Brill 2020), and Political and Constitutional Transitions in North Africa: Actors and Factors (edited with J.O. Frosini, Routledge 2015). He presented his works in many national and international conferences. Languages: Italian, English, Spanish and French. In 2017 he obtained the National Scientific Qualification to become Associate Professor of Comparative Law.
Carna Pištan is an Affiliated Research Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development and a Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Global Fellow at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University (US) and the Institute for Comparative Federalism, Eurac Research (Italy). Previously, she was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Udine, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Comparative Public Law at the University of Udine (2016-2019), and University of Bologna (2010-2016). Pistan obtained a Ph.D. in Constitutional Law from the University of Bologna after graduating in Political Science from the University of Trieste. She is the Coordinator of the Sub-Group on Eastern Europe and Eurasia of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) Research Group on Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies. From 2013 to 2019 she was the Main Researcher for the CCSDD project on "The Role of Constitutional Courts in the Challenges to Democratization and the Protection of Human Rights in Central Asia", funded by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, LA. She is the author of several book chapters and articles focusing on democratic transitions, constitutional justice, hybrid regimes, illiberal constitutionalism, nationalism, collective memory and national identity, with particular reference to Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union sphere, and the author of the monograph "Between democracy and authoritarianism: experiences of constitutional justice in Central and Eastern Europe and post-Soviet Union countries" (BUP, 2015, in Italian). She is currently working on the project: "Illusions of eternity: the Constitution as a lieu de mÃ©moire and the problem of collective remembrance in the Western Balkans" that has received funding from the European Unionâ€™s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie grant agreement No 898966.
Marko Milenkovic is an Affiliated Research Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Developmentand a Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences Belgrade (Centre for Legal Research). Marko has a PhD from the University of Belgrade and LL.M. from the University of Cambridge. He has been associated fellow at SAIS from 2016 - 2019, visiting postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bologna â€“ International Research Center for European Law (CIRDE) in 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 as well as visiting researcher at Europa Kolleg in Hamburg in 2015. Marko has been teaching in CCSDD summer school EU and has been an academic coordinator of the programme since 2016. He is steering committee member of the Academic Research Network on EU Agencies and Institutional Innovation (TARN). Marko has a wide experience in implementation of projects aimed and legal transformation and advancement of the rule of law. He has published in areas of European Integration, Public Law Reforms and Institutional Change, Environmental Law, Health Law and State Aid.
Giuseppina Scala is an Affiliated Research Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development, as well as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Comparative Public Law at the Department of Political Science, Law and International Studies (SPGI) of the University of Padova. She holds a Ph.D in Canon and Ecclesiastical Law from Macerata University after graduating in International Politics and Diplomacy from the University of Padova.
Giuseppina became an affiliated research fellow of the CCSDD in 2019 where she is responsible for the Spin-off project "Legal Reforms in Nordic Constitutionalism: the Challenges of a State-religion" within the main research field "Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies".
She is the author of several articles focusing on comparative public law and ecclesiastical law with particular reference to the countries of Northern Europe and she is now involved in a project dedicated to the guarantee of fundamental freedoms from the perspective of the legal institution of subjective public right.
Giacomo Tagiuri is an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development, a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute as well as an Emile Noël Fellow at New York University School of Law (remotely). He obtained a Ph.D. in Legal Studies from Bocconi University in Milan (2018), and previously held a fellowship at the Safra Centre for Ethics at Tel Aviv University (2018/2019). He has teaching experience in several areas of public law and EU law. Giacomo's research focuses on the impact of transnational law on local markets and societies. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in various international law reviews (e.g. The Columbia Journal of European Law; Revue Trimestrielle de Droit Européen; European Journal of International Law).
Giacomo holds degrees from the University of Bologna (Laurea Magistrale in Law, 2011), and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) (M.A., 2013). He has been collaborating with the CCSDD in various capacities since he was a Master's student at SAIS. His work at CCSDD has focused on British constitutionalism and British politics especially with regard to EU-related issues. This line of research resulted in a series of articles and book chapters on topics such as British constitutional history, devolution, and British accession to the EU, including through co-authorships with CCSDD director Justin Frosini.
Svetlana Chetaikina is an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development, as well as a PhD candidate at the University of Padova. Her current research is related to international electoral standards. Svetlana holds an LL.M. degree in Comparative Constitutional Law from Central European University. She has considerable practical experience in the fields of constitutional and electoral law. She has participated in about a dozen of international election observation missions as a legal and election analyst in Central and Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, Western Balkans, and Central Asia. She has authored articles on suffrage rights and international standards for democratic elections. Svetlana has taught courses and workshops on election observation and assistance.
Alexandra Malangone is an Affilliated Practitioner at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development, as well as Slovak lawyer, specialised in immigration and asylum law, and a former member of the Council of Europe GRETA committee (2008-2016). Since 2012, she worked as a Senior Lawyer at Human Rights League, a prominent Slovak NGO, leading its work in addressing nexus between human trafficking and migration. She holds Masters degree in International and European Law from the Utrecht University in the Netherlands (2002), and Masters degree in International Cooperation and Development from the University of Pavia (2005) where she was a recipient of two Academic Excellence Scholarships. Alexandra is a 2016 US State Department International Visitor Leadership Program in Trafficking in Persons Alumni. NGO Human Rights League, where she had worked is a holder of Human Rights Defender Award (2013) awarded by the US Embassy in Bratislava, Orange Foundation 2016 Award, People in Need 2016 Award. Apart from joining the CCSDD as an Associate Practitioner, she regularly consults for the OSCE, OSCE/ODIHR, UNODC, UNHCR, Council of Europe, ECPAT, EU Fundamental Human Rights Agency, and the Municipality of Venice Numero Verde Anti-tratta.
Viktoria Lapa is an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development, as well as an Associate Fellow at SAIS Europe, a Lecturer at Bocconi University, Milan and a Guest Lecturer at the University of Bologna. Previously she was Visiting Research Fellow, Lauterpacht Center for International Law, University of Cambridge (2018); Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public and International Law (2017-2018); Junior Lawyer at Dentons, Ukraine (2014-2015); and Public Prosecutor in Ukraine (2011-2012). She received her PhD in Law from Bocconi University and was awarded an LL.M. from the University of Barcelona and Maastricht University. Viktoriia has published in areas of international trade law and constitutional law of Ukraine. Her recent publication includes a co-authored with Justin O.Frosini chapter on the historical and legal significance of the constitutional preamble of Ukraine in Comparative Constitutional History published by Brill in 2020.
Taysier Roberto Mahajnah is an Affiliated Researcher at the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development. He holds a degree from the University of Bologna (Laurea Magistrale in Law, 2021). His thesis "Corti Costituzionali e Decadimento Democratico: Ungheria e Turchia a Confronto" (Constitutional Courts and Democratic Decay: Hungary and Turkey in Comparison) focuses on the new ways through which illiberal regimes are deteriorating the democratic predicates. He has been collaborating with the CCSDD since 2018 as Research Assistant and published an article on the CCSDD blog entitled: "The Rojava Experiment: Ideological Manifesto or New Legal Order?" aimed to explore the democratic experiment developing in Syrian Kurdistan since 2014. He is currently a student of the Legal Theory LL.M. at the European Academy of Legal Theory at the Goethe University, Frankfurt.
Giuseppe de Vergottini is a member of the Johns Hopkins University Advisory Board and is the co-funder of the CCSDD. He is Emeritus Professor of Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Bologna. Prof. de Vergottini is a world renowned constitutional scholar and is an expert in the fields of: comparative constitutional law, national security and emergencies, Government - Parliament relations, constitutional reform and federalism.
Michael G. Plummer is director of Johns Hopkins University, SAIS Europe, and ENI Professor of International Economics. He was head of the Development Division in the Trade and Agriculture Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris (2010-2012) and associate professor of Economics (with tenure) at Brandeis University (1992-2001). He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Asian Economics (Elsevier) and has been adviser/consultant to many international organizations, including the Asian Development Bank and the ASEAN Secretariat. Plummer is an alumnus of SAIS Europe.
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