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The word began to be used at the end of the Eighties in the United States to indicate an ideal society in which various cultures could co-exist with reciprocal respect, but avoiding all domination and assimilation into the dominant culture..

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It is the philosophical and political concept that extends the ideas of citizenship and homeland to the whole world and to all humankind, opposing the particularity of nations and national states.

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Civil Society

From the mid-1980s to the present, civil society has been a key category of democratic politics, increasingly in a genuinely international setting.

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This is an ambiguous word.

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In the Greek polis the meaning of the term “democracy” implied the government of a vast majority of the people, the “plebs”, as opposed to the aristocracy.

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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding
ARTICLES for MAY 22 - JUNE 30, 2017

2017 Iranian Presidential Elections

On Friday May 19th Iranians lined up at polling stations in such numbers that elections officials had to extend the voting until midnight, confirming that the abstention risk was only a spectre. President Hassan Rouhani has been re-elected for a second term with a massive turnout both in rural areas and in large cities. Our dossier analyses different aspects and motivations of its result, from women and workers point of view to more geopolitical and economic aspects.  

The Reformist Landslide Ramin Jahanbegloo
History and Politics

Roman Herzog's death: the big loss of a man of dialogue


Roman Herzog, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, died on January 10th, 2017. A member of the Christian-Democratic Union party (CDU), Herzog was the first president elected after German reunification in 1990. He was also a member and president of the Federal Constitutional Court as well as minister for Culture and Education. During his mandate at the Constitutional Court, he intensely devoted his work to immigration and integration policies for minorities.

IT Citizenship

Second generations and the paths to integration

A conversation with Renzo Guolo

“Italy has made no choices as far as the issue of cultural integration is concerned, addressing the subject of immigration only from the perspective of public order or the economy.” Renzo Guolo is a professor of Sociology of Islam at Turin University’s Faculty of Political Science and a professor of The Sociology of Cultural Processes at Padua University’s Faculty of Humanities and Philosophy. The subjects of his research include contemporary extremisms, relations between politics and religion, the sociology of Islam and cultural pluralism in contemporary societies. We met with him in Turin at the Conference entitled G2 Muslims: the rights and duties of citizenship of second generation young Muslims.

Interview by Sara Hejazi.


The Legacy of Tony Atkinson
Great Analyst of Inequality

Mattia Baglieri

Tony Atkinson died in Oxford, England where he taught political economy and served as chairman of the International Economic Association. An acclaimed economist, Atkinson had been previously shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in the field of income inequality.


Voluntary Repatriations of Afghans
Reality or Only an Euphemism?

Virginia Pietromarchi

Alireza was in Kabul when he received his father’s call urging him to leave the country. A letter signed by the Taliban requested the immediate closure of the English institute that Alireza was directing in Ghazni. After having received a second letter including death threats, Alireza understood he and his family had no chance but to flee the country. The father sold his bakery and the house and paid a smuggler 32.000 dollars to get Alireza, his wife and his two other children out of Afghanistan.

IT AR Migrants

«Coexistence is more difficult if we do not respect their religion»

Olivier Roy talks to Sara Hejazi

The main problems faced nowadays in Europe by young immigrants are traditional racism, based the colour of a person’s skin, and widespread anti-religious sentiments. This is the opinion expressed by Olivier Roy, professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Scieneces Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. His most recent book, “La Sainte Ignorance” (2009), speaks of religious revivalism as the consequence of globalisation and a crisis of cultures.

IT Iran

«We need targeted sanctions, not bombs»

A conversation with Karim Mezran

“In Iran we are seeing a back to front revolution with the upper-middle classes protesting against a governing power managed by the poorer and less-educated classes, the main recruitment group for the basiji and for President Ahmedinejad’s base of support.” According to Karim Mezran, director of the Centre for American Studies and a professor at Johns Hopkins School of International Advanced Studies in Bologna, this is however a “leaderless protest” organised by a generation that has only known the Islamic Republic and that sees Moussavi and Karroubi as reference points, “certainly not as leaders.”

Interview by Ernesto Pagano.

IT Iran

«We should address human rights, not only the nuclear issue»

Pietro Marcenaro talks to Ernesto Pagano

A country with an stoppable demand for change and one where not even “state terrorism” has managed to triumph over those opposing it. That is the Iran that PD Senator and President of the Senate’s Human Rights Committee Pietro Marcenaro saw. The Senator has just returned from a private visit to the Islamic Republic. With its mass protests, conflict affecting both the clergy and the ruling classes, as well as international pressure about its nuclear programme, this country seems to be at a crossroads. “It is our great responsibility,” says Marcenaro, “to listen to these people and not abandon those fighting for freedom.”

IT Religion

The salt of the earth

Fred Dallmayr

«As we read in Matthew 5:13, religious believers are told: "You are the salt of the earth." The phrase means that religious believers are expected to be neither identical with the "earth", nor to be removed from it. In this sense, they are meant to be neither worldly-secular nor radically anti-worldly or anti-secular (thus perhaps post-secular).»

Freedom and Democracy

Thomas Ruttig: “We must not turn our backs on Afghanistan”

An interview by Giuliano Battiston, on his return from Kabul

Last Sunday, three months after they were sworn in, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani and almost “prime minister” Abdullah Abdullah announced their list of candidate-ministers. In order to discuss the prospects of the national unity government and the many challenges it will have to face over the coming years - ranging from Taliban guerrilla warfare to the fragile economy, from external interference to corruption and including the consequences of the partial withdrawal of foreign troops - we met in Kabul with Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, the country’s most authoritative research centre.

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