Arena seeks to promote a fact-based discourse that enhances security, enables democracy and entrenches trust

Arena seeks to promote a fact-based discourse that enhances security, enables democracy and entrenches trust. We are a small programme that runs projects with partners across the world.

Arena’s directors are well experienced in this field. From 2014-2017, they ran a research project at the Legatum Institute, called ‘Beyond Propaganda’, which analysed 21st century propaganda, sought solutions, and set the agenda on this issue. Arena’s team have given evidence to the US Congress and UK Parliament, advised the British, Dutch, Latvian and US governments on counter-propaganda strategy, and held numerous seminars at a wide range of organisations, including NATO, Lviv University, Harvard University and the German Foreign Service. Ideas and insights borne directly from this research project have been quoted by senior officials, such as the US Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, and have helped shape the programmes of the British Foreign Office, the National Endowment for Democracy and the European Endowment for Democracy, among others.

Our people


Anne Applebaum

Professor Applebaum is a journalist and prize-winning historian with a particular expertise in the history of communism and the experience of post-communist ‘democratisation’ in the Soviet Union and central Europe. She was recently appointed Professor in Practice at LSE’s Institute of Global Affairs.

Anne is a weekly columnist for the Washington Post and the author of several books, including Gulag: A History, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction; Iron Curtain, which won the 2013 Cundill Prize for Historical Literature; and Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, published in 2017. She held the Phillipe Roman visiting chair in International History at LSE, and has lectured at other universities, including Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge, Humboldt and Heidelberg.

Profile page


Sophia Gaston

Sophia Gaston

Sophia Gaston is a social and political researcher, who conducts international, citizen-focused projects on social and cultural crises, political change, the media and democracy - with a focus on threats to governance in Western nations. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at the LSE's Institute for Global Affairs.

Profile page


Peter Pomerantsev

Peter Pomerantsev is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the LSE, and an author and TV producer. He specialises in propaganda and media development, and has testified on the challenges of information war to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the UK Parliament’s Defence Select Committee.

Peter writes for a wide range of publications, including the Financial Times, the London Review of Books, Politico, Atlantic and many others. His book on Russian propaganda, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, won the 2016 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and was nominated for a number of others, including the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Guardian First Book Award, the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize and The Gordon Burn Prize. It has been translated into over a dozen languages.

Profile page


Maria Montague_300x300

Maria Montague

Maria Montague is the projects' manager for the Arena programme. She joined the team in January 2019 from the Chatham House Russia and Eurasia programme where she worked previously. Maria holds a BA in French and Russian from the University of Cambridge, and an MPhil in Ukrainian Studies.



Nina Loncar

Nina Loncar is a Project Officer for the Arena programme. She joined the team in May 2019 alongside completing her Masters studies. Nina holds a BSc in Economics and International Development from the University of Bath and an MSc in Inequalities and Social Science from LSE.