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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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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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Islamism is a highly militant mobilizing ideology selectively developed out of Islam’s scriptures, texts, legends, historical precedents, organizational experiences and present-day grievances, all as a defensive reaction against the long-term erosion of Islam’s primacy over the public...

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The process resulting in the definition of one’s own identity – hence an “us” – in an oppositional manner by, explicitly or implicitly comparing ourselves with “others”, is considered a universal movement in every society.

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



The European Safe Country of Origin List:
Challenging the Geneva Convention’s Definition of Refugee?

Bianca Benvenuti

Over the last years, we witnessed the worst refugee crisis since World War II (1); starting from 2011, when level stood at 42.5 million, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has steadily increased, reaching up to 59.5 millions individuals at the end of 2014. As the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs) continued to grow, it is likely that the total number of forced migrants have far surpassed 60 million (2) in 2015. The rapid acceleration in the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide characterize the current situation in a way that lead politicians, journalists and public opinion to consider it as a migration or refugee crisis. This is fiercely affecting the European Union, as a growing number of migrants are reaching its boarders seeking protection. While the EU is facing this challenge, a debate has been going on at both media and political level concerning the differences between refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants. 

Immigrants in Europe

Beyond the Burqa: Accepting the Other Europe

Brahim El Guabli

The burqa battle is the tree that hides a thick forest called the general plight of Muslim and other immigrant minorities in Europe. Abdelmalek Sayad coined the notion of “double absence,” which wittily represents the fate of immigrants—and their children in particular—caught between two worlds. A world of origin to which they do not really belong except partially in their swarthy looks, linguistic code-switching, names, and religious traditions; and a world, into which they were born, raised, educated and work as any responsible citizen. This “double absence” experienced by the descendants of immigrants in Europe is a thorny question, which challenges the long-standing definitions of identity, nationalism and citizenship in Europe.


Nobody wants to be a refugee

Seyla Benhabib interviewed by Slawomir Sierakowski

The current crisis is generating the myth of borders as controlled, says Seyla Benhabib. But this is only a myth. It is a fact that states are escaping their obligations under international and European law; while migrants themselves may be helping to keep the social peace between classes.


Central Europe says ‘no’ to the Refugees
Who is rejecting quotas and why?

Matteo Tacconi

Europe will welcome 160,000 refugees in 2015. Each member state will be called upon to receive a quota in proportion to their economic and demographic size. This is the proposal put forward by the EU Commission’s President Jean-Claude Junker in his ‘State of the Union’ speech on Wednesday. Germany has been promoting this plan and has been putting it into action for some time, giving the the states, the Länder, responsibility for sharing the burden of managing asylum seekers. They are allocated on the basis of the so-called “Königsteiner key”, a system created in the ‘50s and originally aimed at spreading over what was then West Germany the funds destined for research.

Europe and Refugees

Merkel “the Good” has understood, Europe needs migrants

Manlio Graziano

The migratory flow from the south towards Europe was “scientifically” announced at least 25 years ago. Faced with problems concerning immigrants between Great Britain and France, between France and Italy, faced with walls and railway stations under siege in Hungary, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has reproposed the European Union as an “community based on law” with the laws of individual states subordinated to the common interest and principles of openness and immigration policies.

Migrations and Human Rights

About Europe’s Refugee Crisis
Where Are We and What Should We Expect

Enza Roberta Petrillo

“The migratory crisis does not concern distant places. It is happening right in front of us. This is not an Austrian crisis. This is not an Italian, French, German or a Greek or a Hungarian crisis. This is a European crisis and it requires a collective European response.” This comment made by Dimitri Avramopolous, EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, when speaking of the horrifying discovery of 71 migrants who died of asphyxiation while attempting to reach northern Europe crammed in the back of a truck abandoned on the Austrian-Hungarian border, marked the epilogue of the tenuous new deal on European migration policies announced on July 20th.

IT 27-28 January 2011: A conference in Bologna

Muslims of Europe: Perspectives on Gender and Religion

Bologna, 27-28 January 2011Islam is today the second religion in Europe. Despite the complexity implied by this fact, a widespread dichotomy presents a homogeneous Europe versus a likewise consistent Muslim "Other". This conference aims at deconstructing such a dichotomy and to scrutinize how gender lies at the heart of the frictions occurring as a result of contemporary transnational challenges. It presents frontline research on how European states govern Muslims´ migration movements and everyday life along with research focused on power relations within the Muslim minorities.      


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.


One milion refugees in Lebanon
A quarter of the population

Ilaria Romano

According to data published on September 6th 2016 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are almost five million Syrian citizens living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and North Africa, comprising a total of 4,799,677 people who have fled the war, among them at least 1.5 million children. While Turkey is the country that hosts the most in proportion to its citizens with 2,726,980, it is Lebanon that has the most in total with 1,033,513, which amounts to about 25% of the country’s inhabitants.


Two months since the EU-Turkey Statement: An unsuccessful partnership?

Bianca Benvenuti

On March 18 the European leaders agreed on a plan with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to Europe, called the EU-Turkey Statement, which is well know by now for its controversy. The deal was presented as the last resort for the EU to address the migration crisis amid growing division among the member states on how to handle it. During the summer of 2015, confrontation among member states grew, as two opposing strategies revealed different visions to address the migration crisis.

An international press review

Merkel’s U-turn on the migrants issue reveals new image of European hope

Mattia Baglieri

From the New York Times to the Washington Post, from Der Spiegel to Le NouvelObs, the most prestigious international magazines have begun to call it “the U-turn”: we are talking about Angela Merkel’s approval of a new hospitality policy towards thousands of Syrian migrants. Maintaining financial rigor and economic conservatism on the one hand, and making each country responsible for safeguarding human life, on the other, seem nevertheless two sides of the same coin in Germany.


Former Concentration Camp to become Migrants’ Cemetery

Azzurra Meringolo

A toll booth on the ill-famed Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway. It is not just any old toll booth, but the one that most keeps alive the memories of the wounds Fascism inflicted on our history. Tarsia, the exit leading to Campi Ferramonti, the largest concentration camp built in Italy following the proclamation of racial laws. It is on this strip of land extending all the way to the River Crati, where on September 8th, 1943, 2,200 people were crowded, that the cemetery for migrants will be built. An international burial ground created to provide a dignified resting place for the thousands who have perished chasing the dream of coming to Europe, the continent in which they placed all hope of redemption from hunger and destitution.

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