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The United Nations

The Organization of the United Nations is the largest international organisation and in fact includes almost all the states existing on the planet. There are currently 192 member states. The seat of the UN is in New York and the current Secretary General is the South Korean Ban Ki-Moon..

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The city is an artefact.

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It is possible to participate in a brutal event – such as gang rape, lynching, an ethnic cleansing operation – or in a humanitarian event – fund raising, collective adoption, sacrificing oneself in an exchange of prisoners..

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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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The philosophical justification of the idea of freedom is one of those enigmas all great philosophers have addressed, often concluding their imposing attempts by acknowledging the impossibility to access a firm Archimedean point placing freedom on a incontrovertible theoretical pedestal..

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

Life and Society

Life and Society

A new cosmopolitan sociology to match unity and diversity

Vincenzo Cicchelli interviewed by Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi

Italian-French sociologist Vincenzo Cicchelli describes in his newest book (Pluriel et Commun. Sociologie d'un monde cosmopolite, Presses de Sciences Po, 2016) a world featuring both unifying and separating processes, mastered by a new generation of cosmopolites bearing in them such a duality. How is human experience shaped in such a world? How do individuals socialize today in Rome, Bombay, Lagos and Tokyo? In an attempt to answer these questions, the author has carried out an investigation using an innovative approach, matching the analysis of the cosmopolitan world and its global cultural dynamics with their impact on everyday life and ordinary socialization to the otherness.

Business and Geopolitics: Iran’s New Asian Course

Eleonora Ardemagni

Once upon a time there was a prince called Muhammad Dara Sikoh who belonged to the Moghul dynasty. In 1655, before embracing the Sufi confraternity of the Qadiriyya, Dara Sikoh wrote a treatise comparing Hinduism and Sufism, the beautiful Majma‘ al-bahrayn (The Confluence of the Two Seas); he wrote it in Persian, at the time the official and cultured language of the Indian administration. Nowadays everything has changed. Iran, however, still has great potential in its cultural and political influence over Asia. With the end of international sanctions, Iranians have returned to the centre of geopolitics, and not only Middle Eastern geopolitics.

Family and Citizenships

Inclusive citizenship and the plural ways of “forming a family”

Daniela Cherubini

To what extent is it relevant to discuss “family” issues – observing the changes that affect this sphere and the ways in which people organise and give meaning to their relationships of care, affection and mutual exchange and responsibility – in a debate on inclusive citizenship? My paper is set around this question and thus is linked to the topic addressed in the series of conferences in which the seminar with Saraceno is set; the creation of inclusive citizenship in plural societies.

Family and Citizenships

Which regulations are needed for new types of families?

Chiara Galbersanini

The regulation of “types” of families is a subject greatly debated from a juridical perspective. It is the law that must establish, within a judicial framework, “what a family is” and in fact “who a family consists of” and hence who are the holders of rights (and duties) deriving from the family bond.

In depth

Iran. The Silent Revolution That (still) Frightens Power

Marina Forti

The Iranian monthly magazine Zanan-e Emruz (“Today’s Women”) had barely reached its tenth issue when it was forced to stop publication following a ruling by the Tehran courts’ Office of Press Control. The announcement was made in April and the news itself is nothing new; over the past fifteen years dozens of newspapers have had authorisations issued and then revoked on the basis of changing internal political events. In the past two years, following the election of President Hasan Rouhani, the social and political atmosphere has certainly changed drastically. Books once censored are now given an imprimatur, banned films have returned to theatres and new newspapers are published. Censorship, however, has not disappeared although the ‘red lines’, the boundaries of what is permissible, have been moved.

Focus EXPO 2015 - Feeding the planet

Food ‘suitable’ for Jews. The Origins of Kosher

Piero Stefani, University of Ferrara

“You must be able to distinguish between what is sacred (qodesh) and what is profane (chol), between what is clean (tahor) and what is unclean (tame’)” (Leviticus 10,10). In a fundamentally important essay on this subject, Paolo Sacchi asks himself whether the organisation of the words in this sentence should be understood in a parallel or chiastic manner. The answer is that one must opt for parallelism; the proportion is the following, sacred : impure = profane : pure. At a more ancient level, the sacred was perceived as if gifted with an intrinsic force that, just like impurity, acts of its own volition. As time passed things changed and the foundations of pure and impure became heteronomous. Yochanan ben Zakkay, the “legendary” founder of Rabbinic Judaism, is attributed the sentence, “a corpse does not defile nor does ash of the red heifer make levitically clean, but it is the decree of the Holy One” (see Numbers 19,1-16).


A convenient scapegoat

Joseph McCartin, director of Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, interviewed by Martina Toti

In Madison, Wisconsin, none was expecting that reaction. At least until a few weeks ago. Senators escaping in the near States in order to avoid the vote, the occupation of the Capitol hall and 100000 people demonstrating in the streets. All to defend public workers’ right to collective bargaining. A law, conceived by Republican governor Scott Walker, freezes contracts and cuts salaries and, moreover, it seriously limits the presence of trade unions in the public sector. We discussed about that with professor Joseph McCartin, director of Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, a Washington based research centre engaged in the promotion of labor and the poor.

Family and Citizenships

From the “family” to “families”

Chiara Saraceno

The multiplicity of ways of forming and interpreting the meaning of the word family is anything but a recent phenomenon. Human history in fact presents an almost inexhaustible repertoire of different ways of organising and attributing meaning to procreation and sexuality, to the alliances formed between groups and between individuals in creating families. One could say that there is nothing less “natural” and more socially constructed than a family.

Focus EXPO 2015 - Feeding the planet

Religious Pluralism in School Canteens

Maria Chiara Giorda, University of Milan Bicocca

Co-authors: Luca Bossi and Elena MessinaCultural and religious diversity characterizes today’s Italy (Melloni 2014). An outcome that has become more evident as a trait of contemporary migration flows, which have put the country among the first three-four receiving destination in the whole Europe since the 2000s. Yet, even though diversity and religious pluralism may have become politically salient issues in current public debate, they were nonetheless traits that had already contributed to forging the Italian identity during the previous centuries (Ventura 2013; 2014). The different relationships entangling political and cultural institutions and the school system in Italy, traditionally see the search for common paths that conciliate religion, religious diversity and secularism a confrontational and divisive field of action. Actors who are involved in this field actively strive to find strategies to adjust the needs emerging from relatively new religious settings – with an increasing share of students coming from a diverse population and religiosity - which are disrupting the long established cohabitation of the Catholic Church and the State in the public sphere. TO VIEW ALL GRAPHS AND TABLES IN THIS PAPER, PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE ATTACHED DOCUMENT

Focus EXPO 2015 - Feeding the planet

European Halal. Theological definitions and social depictions

Khalid Rhazzali

The word Halal is part of a complex lexical and a conceptual system that is particularly refined in its more authentic and articulated configuration. The opposition between Halal (allowed) and Haram (not allowed) creates a broad area within which there are many intermediate words, such as, for example, Makruh (inadvisable) and Mubah (admissible), which allow one to contextualise the various forms of behaviour regarding an inclination to contribute positively or negatively to a relationship of a complex physical and spiritual order in both individuals and communities. Leaving aside the aspect usually addressed, that of vetoes concerning some types of meat or drinks, this system of precepts is best addressed from a theological perspective in which the believer is called upon to elaborate ways in which the best use of oneself can be made, in view of a more active and successful obedience to divine will.

Focus EXPO 2015 - Feeding the planet

Nourishing the Soul. Food and Religions

Contribtions by G. Filoramo, M.C. Giorda, K.Rhazzali, P. Stefani, D. Zoletto

A moment of sharing and gathering, a vehicle for traditions and a means of communication, food signifies far more than simply providing the body with the energy is requires to work. Food is also a religious symbol; it nourishes the soul and sharing it at the table is a moment of conviviality and intimacy with others. But what happens when we dine with someone only eating halal food? And what attitude should the authorities assume regarding school cafeterias when faced with families refusing to eat pork? And what answer should the state provide to those demanding to know how an animal was butchered before its meat is sold in supermarkets? - Read the special focus

In depth

Iran, a Journey Through the “Great Change”
Expectations and risks of the Rouhani Era

Marina Forti

Tehran - One front page headline reads “Delegation of U.S. oil companies to visit Tehran.” Others instead announced that “Trade delegations follow one another.” There have even been headlines stating “Crowds of foreign investors prepare to invade Iran,” with English-language Iranian newspapers not holding back in their use of superlatives and one column saying that Iran is the “last frontier” for international investors. Expectations are high, extremely high.

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