Scroll Top

The Growing Thought Leadership Award 2022

An international award programme providing a platform for students to showcase their ideas,
insights and observations with a global audience of industry professionals.

2022 Winner

Camilla Carlesi – Understanding the Relationship between Terrorism and Climate Change: The case of Boko Haram Activities and the Environmental Degradation of the Lake Chad Basin.

Camilla Carlesi is a 23-year-old Italian student of the Master in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies offered by the University of Glasgow (Scotland), the University of Trento (Italy) and Charles University of Prague (Czech Republic). Camilla holds a BA in International Relations from John Cabot University in Rome, with a minor in Communications. She is currently working as a Digital Fellow in the Council for European Studies (Columbia University) and collaborating with the Security Distillery, the think tank managed by her Master’s cohort. Previously, she also worked in the US Embassy in Italy, the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics and Human Rights and the Italian Ministry of Youth and Civil Service. Her interests range from environmental security to peacekeeping, conflict and terrorism studies and her academic work has been previously awarded in the COP26 research challenge.

What inspired you to write about this topic?

My spark interest in terrorism studies and climate change-related grievances mainly inspired me to examine the link between the two areas, as their connection is currently not widely explored in academia. In the past, I have already analysed the relationship between ISIS recruitment and water issues in the Middle East. Thus, this research on Boko Haram activities and the Lake Chad basin builds upon my previous work and aims to expand it by taking into account a different case study. Overall, I believe that considering different terrorist organisations and various environmental problems helps to test the main claim of my research, which is that climatological grievances have an impact on many more problems than expected since they indirectly fuel extremism.

To benefit from enhanced interactivity and see additional data we recommend you open this paper using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Camilla Carlesi

Honorary mention

Rebecca Hartley – When Can Ransomware be Considered Cyberterrorism? A Framework for Classification.

Rebecca Hartley is a Ph.D. student in Information Security at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security at Royal Holloway, University of London. She holds a BA in History and Politics from the University of Oxford, during which she researched the role of women in terrorist groups. Rebecca’s research interests lie at the intersection of geopolitics, gender, and security, with a particular interest in IoT in the home and critical infrastructure. Rebecca’s current research project investigates cyber security practices in smart city innovation.

What inspired you to write about this topic?

I was inspired to write this paper through my research on cyber insurance, during which I looked at the difficulty of defining cyberterrorism and how this impacts the insurance sector. The lack of case studies of cyberterrorism presents a significant challenge to this research area. To address this, my paper looks at case studies of ransomware attacks that have not been defined as cyberterrorism. I explored what prevented these incidents from being classed as cyberterrorism, with the aim of using the findings to inform a framework for identification. The prevalence of ransomware provided a significant number of case studies, making it a good subject for analysis and a pressing concern to be addressed.

Rebecca Hartley

The Opportunity:

The Growing Thought Leadership Award (GTLA) is an international award programme that provides a platform for motivated students to showcase their ideas, insights and observations with a global audience of industry professionals. The GTLA is a truly unique award programme that allows young thought-leaders (the leaders of tomorrow) to share their inputs and insights on terrorism risk concerns and issues being faced today and in the future. The GTLA is an initiative of IFTRIP, the International Forum of Terrorism Risk (Re)Insurance Pools.

The Brief:

The GTLA is open to undergraduate and post-graduate students (and persons enrolled in a further education course) worldwide, aged between 18-30 years, and will be awarded to the best original paper that presents an observational study or investigative research under one of the six terrorism and/or insurance-related topics listed below. These topics will form the basis of the discussions taking place at the IFTRIP ‘ReCODE’ Livestream Conference, taking place on May 10, 2022.

  • Cyberterrorism.
  • Bioterrorism.
  • Pandemic Insurance.
  • Pooling Risks: Are There Opportunities to Expand this Insurance Model?
  • Climate Change: From an Insurance or a Terrorism Threat Perspective.
  • Parametric Insurance: A Potential Solution for Difficult to Insure Risks.

The paper should provide a unique perspective into the chosen topic area. Applicants may conduct their own research and/or provide unique insights using existing data relating to the chosen topic.


The Award:

The applicant of the winning paper will receive:

  • Mentorship
  • £3,000 Cash Prize
  • Showcase Opportunity



  • Open only to persons who are undergraduate or post-graduate students (or persons enrolled in a further education course), aged between 18 – 30 years.
  • The paper must be original, unpublished and written in English.
  • Word count: 3,000-4,000 words.
  • Exclusions: Full-time employed professionals.