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The Mediterranean

Mediterranean: literally the sea in the middle of lands, a bordering sea, and linking these lands. This characteristic makes the Mediterranean a sea that does belong to all the countries overlooking it, but to none in particular, a shared sea, not available for becoming private property..

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This is an ambiguous word.

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Fundamentalism means the literal and dogmatic interpretation of holy texts (but these may also be secular texts), the prescriptive indications of which are considered the foundations of all action.

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While empathy breaks down the barriers of borders, ethnocentrism – the supposed superiority of one’s own cultural world – is addressed at strengthening them, and if possible, at raising new ones.

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After the Nineties of the 20th Century tolerance returned to the centre stage in political thought, returning to fashion a concept that has certainly been central within the framework of political thought in modern times, but that appeared to have become a closed book with the French Revolution that...

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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding

Islamic Philosophy in the Age
of Ethical Malaise and Local Turmoil

Like other classical world traditions and civilizations that seek renewal for survival, continuity and contribution to world affairs, the Islamic one is convened and questioned, maybe more than others and more than ever before, seeing its geographical and intellectual positions between the so-called East and West, an archaic dichotomy that disrupts politics and stirs philosophy at the same time. The ongoing dire socio-political chaos in the Arab-Islamic world questions the intellectual tradition of this part of the world, to see where it stands, and what contributions it offers to overcome the turmoil. Reset-DoC is pleased to present three reflections on Islamic Philosophy by Mohammed Hashas (PhD), as part of an ongoing conversation with a civilization that was, and a worldview that is still vibrant and confident that it can still contribute to world intellect and local politics. 

Turkey - Egypt

Erdogan, Qaradawy’s Most Vocal Defender

Azzurra Meringolo

The global mufti is fighting against Interpol. As soon as the agency issued a warrant for his arrest, Youssef Qaradawy sparked a verbal crossfire between his state and no-state opponents. Denying the charges moved against him by the “new” Egyptian authorities – which accused him of using his Facebook page to incite murder – Qaradawy is now triggering a region wide controversy.

Archive - Meister Eckhart Award Lecture

Human Rights and the Critique of “Humanitarian Reason”

Seyla Benhabib, Yale University

On February 16, 2014 The New York Times Magazine ran an article called “Container City.” “Container City” refers to the Kilis camp in southern Turkey housing 14, 000 refugees from Syria. Protected by high gates and surrounded by barbed wire, Kilis from the outside shares features with many refugee camps all over the world that make them indistinguishable from prisons or criminal detention centers. Kilis houses its population in 2,053 identical containers, spread in neat rows. The pictures that accompany the article remind one of shipping containers at a harbor. Each container is a 23 by 10 foot trailer with 3 rooms; and a color TV with close to 1000 channels, probably picking up programs from all the surrounding countries of the Mediterranean.

Africa - In depth

Rwanda’s Untold Story. A Commentary on the BBC Two Documentary

Nicoletta Fagiolo

Criticism of current Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his administration is on the rise. This twist in the premier’s uncontested 20-year reign has mostly been sparked by the exodus of many of his closest allies speaking up in exile, at great risk to their lives, to reveal a different story from the one the world has come to accept regarding the 1994 genocide. A recent and controversial BBC Two documentary, Rwanda’s Untold Story [1], began a thunderclap reaction when it questioned the official version of the genocide’s history that places the blame entirely on ethnic Hutus.

Middle Eastern Turmoil

Turkey sends arms to Iraqi Kurds: Arbil official confirms

Verda Özer

This article was originally published on Hurriyet Daily News.

In addition to training troops, Turkey has sent weapons to the Iraqi Kurdish forces combating the Islamist militants who have swept across large parts of the country, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Chief of Staff Fuad Hussein has said. Speaking in an interview with daily Hürriyet columnist Verda Özer in Istanbul, Hussein confirmed that Turkey had begun training Peshmerga troops in northern Iraq, also saying it has supplied arms to the Kurdish forces.


From KGB to Reactionary Nostalgia for Imperial Russia. Who is Vladimir Putin?

Roberto Toscano

This text is drawn from a lecture held at Harvard University (HILR) on October 31, 2014.
I spent over half of my forty-year diplomatic career as a so-called sovietologist, including during four years at the Italian embassy in Moscow in the second half of the 1970s. Even after my subject-matter, the Soviet Union, disappeared, I continued being interested in Russia, in spite of being busy, professionally, with other areas of the world, and in spite of my absorbing experiences as ambassador to Iran and to India. What I saw, however, is that, starting from the last decade of the XX century, interest in Russia, attention to Russia, study of Russia, have sharply dropped in the West, and especially in this country. It was as if the Russian file had been moved from the desk to the archives. Today it seems to me that we are realizing that doing that was not a good idea, and that the file is back on our desk. The reason has to do mainly with the actions and the personality of one leader, Vladimir Putin.


Globalised populism and anti-politics: the rising threat to democracy

Antonella Rampino

This article was published by the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa on November 12th, after the 4th edition of Reset-DoC’s Venice-Delhi seminars held in Italy on 6-8 November 2014.

What if Islamic State’s contemporary terrorism, so clever at using the communication devices of affluent societies, were nothing more than a variation – an atrocious one – of populism? And what if modern western societies, gripped by deviant nationalist egoisms and the xenophobic particularism of “small homelands” shared this kind of danger with the democratic reawakening partly affecting the Arab world?

In depth

Why the West Needs to Reach an Agreement with Iran on the Nuclear Issue

Emma Bonino interviewed by Antonella Rampino

Emma Bonino, Italy’s former minister of foreign affairs, has returned from Iran, where, with a group of European and Arab experts on Middle Eastern affairs organised by the European Council on Foreign Relations, she attended a two and a half hour long briefing with Foreign Minister Zarif. However, returning from the country from which, as Italy’s Foreign Minister, she was the first to sense a strong signal of political change when the reformists won, Emma Bonino has brought a warning: “Should negotiations on nuclear issues fail, the only real chance of beginning a stabilisation process for the entire region would be lost.”

Middle Eastern Turmoil

«We need an alliance with moderate Islam in order to defeat ISIS»

Italian MP Khalid Chaouki interviewed by Elisa Gianni

“The first to pay with their lives are those who profess this religion in a peaceful, calm and respectful manner.” With those words the Italian Speaker of the House Laura Boldrini commented on her meeting with the secretary of Italy’s Islamic Cultural Centre, Abdellah Redouane, and the faithful who were meeting for Friday prayers at Rome’s Great Mosque. This was an encounter that the Islamic community had wanted and requested and addressed at Italians and Muslims in order to say “no to terrorism” and reiterate that “Islam is a religion of peace.” Those words were part of the clear and explicit appeal read at a table at which the Italian state’s third highest ranking official sat next to authorities of the largest mosque in Europe.


Malala and Satyarthi, an important Nobel Peace Prize. This is why it concerns us all

Roberto Toscano

This year the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize was greeted everywhere with a chorus of approval. It could not have been otherwise when the award was assigned to two very different people (Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year old Pakistani girl, and Kilash Satyarthi, a 60-year old Indian, she is a Muslim and he is a Hindu), but united by one of the most noble and undisputed causes; the right of all children, poor and wealthy, boys and girls,  to receive an education. The Nobel Peace Prize certainly needed this consensus, allowing one to set aside certain past decisions which were legitimately criticised and had tarnished its prestige.

In Depth

A frozen conflict in Ukraine: surrendering to Russia, or the lesser of two evils?

Marco Giuli | Research Fellow, Madariaga – College of Europe Foundation

The hypothesis of a stabilization of the Ukrainian crisis into a frozen conflict presents serious dangers. As mentioned, an unrecognized republic would come into existence on a fluid border that could be an ulterior cause of additional instability in the future. Like other unrecognised republics, it could transform itself into a hub of illegal trade, an aspect that is decidedly worrying seeing the potential size of Novorossija compared to the other small and isolated unrecognised republics.  It would certify the West as impotent when faced with the revisionist designs of other powers in the international system, with subsequent effects on other geopolitical situations. And yet, the alternatives risk being less attractive than yet another frozen conflict.

In depth

Rached Ghannouchi’s American tour
“Tunisia must become a model for the Arab world”

Paul Karamchand

They say he has not changed, that his ideas are the same as when he lived in exile in London. However, his influence over his country is totally different. Rashid Ghannouchi, is post-revolutionary Tunisia’s strongman, the president of Ennhada, the party with a relative majority in the current legislative assembly. The October 26th general election and the November 23rd presidential election are approaching, but from September 28th to October 1st he found time to spend a few days in the United States.

In depth

Internet and Public Sphere
What the Web Can't Do

Jürgen Habermas interviewed by Markus Schwering

"After the inventions of writing and printing, digital communication represents the third great innovation on the media plane. With their introduction, these three media forms have enabled an ever growing number of people to access an ever growing mass of information. These are made to be increasingly lasting, more easily. With the last step represented by Internet we are confronted with a sort of “activation” in which readers themselves become authors. Yet, this in itself does not automatically result in progress on the level of the public sphere. [...] The classical public sphere stemmed from the fact that the attention of an anonymous public was “concentrated” on a few politically important questions that had to be regulated. This is what the web does not know how to produce. On the contrary, the web actually distracts and dispels." This is how, among many more subjects, Jürgen Habermas comments the evolution of democratic participation in the internet era. Reset-DoC is pleased to republish the translated version of a long interview published last June on the "Frankfurter Rundschau" for the philosopher's eighty-fifth birthday.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Iraq, Why Islam Cannot Accept Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s “Caliphate”

Massimo Campanini, University of Trento

Iraq no longer exists as a unified state. The Kurdish north is moving towards increasingly greater autonomy that sooner or later will become outright independence; the Shiite south increasingly gravitate towards Iran, and the Sunni central region is home to the new-born, so-called caliphate proclaimed by ISIS, the jihadist-qaedist organisation that aims to redefine the Levant’s political framework. An otherwise little-known character, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has proclaimed himself “caliph” of this supposed new Sunni state.


Intercultural dialogue: the potential of emerging leaders

Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi

In the last few years many international organizations have been implementing youth empowerment activities as a tool to achieve their own strategic objectives. One of most structured efforts in this field is represented by the Arab-European Young Leaders Forum (AEYLF), created in 2009 by the League of Arab States in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria. At the centre of this initiative are emerging leaders representing the civil society, the academia, the media as well as the social and creative economy, carefully selected on the basis of their remarkable achievements and their potential as “multipliers”.

In depth

Eurosceptic parties will save Europe’s soul, despite themselves

Albena Azmanova, University of Kent

We must take seriously all the new parties in the European Parliament, not least because they might well be doing us a favour. The surge in the protest vote (in spectacular support for far-right, far-left, Eurosceptic and anti-establishment, ‘fringe’, parties) at the recent elections for the European Parliament has been bemoaned; we are warned that an increased presence of such parties in the European Parliament bodes ill for the European project and for the health of democracy in Europe. Yet, these parties might turn out to be Europe’s saviours. Here is why.

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