Sara Castegini, a LUISS Law graduate, is one of the six winners of the Italian National Security Thesis Prize.
The initiative – launched in 2014 by the Department of Intelligence of the Prime Minister’s Office – aims to recognize the best master’s theses on intelligence themes, such as cybersecurity and digital innovation. Sara’s work, entitled Human Intelligence: Espionage and Intelligence Gathering in National and Intenational Law focuses on “problems related to spying on the international level, and more specifically, analyzes Italian and international law.” Sara explains: “Winning the award was indescribably exciting, but it also meant putting all the decisions I had made up to that moment up for discussion and thinking concretely about a future in a field that intrigues me, national security.”
After graduating from the German School of Rome in 2011, Sara decided to study at LUISS because she wanted an international environment with several educational opportunities. Nevertheless, her university career was challenging, especially at the beginning: “It was difficult to work with legal language and with a faculty that required complete dedication.” However, after her first years and after finding the right study method, Sara grew accustomed to the environment and to be satisfied with her studies.
Her passion for public international law led her to an Erasmus project at Bucerius Law School in Berlin and to participate in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the largest international law competition in the world. Not only did Sara make the LUISS team, but she also represented Italy in the finals in Washington. “Jessup was the experience that best represents my time at LUISS,” explains Sara. “During the months of preparation, the University became my home as well as my teaching assistants who acted as tireless life coaches and my teammates.”
Thanks to her preparation and the knowledge gained during Jessup, preparing her thesis was a downhill battle. While writing, Sara decided to participate in the Department of Intelligence’s competition with the confidence that she met all the requirements. With the support and encouragement of her advisor, Professor Pietro Pustorino, Sara was one of the top six. “A thesis is the fruit of rich individual study and research, but I think that the final product is the result of suggestions, advice and corrections from professors and assistants,” explains Sara.
Now 25 years old, Sara is finishing her first year with an international law firm in Rome and preparing for the bar exam. When she thinks about her future, Sara states that she would like to continue in the direction of her thesis in order to work in intelligence and national defense.