Sources of Democracy: Citizenship, Social Cohesion and Ethical Values

Venice SEMINARS ‘19 | Giorgio Cini Foundation, Mominoun Foundation and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. May 23 – 25, 2019.

VENUE: Giorgio Cini Foundation, Island of San Giorgio.

The liberal democratic systems that rose to preeminence in the postwar international order are uniformly enveloped in crises of doubt and self-confidence. Under pressure from extremist and nationalist movements, political institutions reveal unseen weaknesses that provoke widespread fears of democratic decline. The products and purveyors of 19thand 20th century trends towards more liberalism and more democracy seem themselves to be insufficiently grounded in liberal values.

The lack of resilience and social cohesion to resist the illiberal trend finds resonance in the old paradox of philosopher Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde: “The liberal state lives on premises that it cannot itself guarantee […] without renouncing its liberalism.” The surprising rise of nationalism, populism, illiberal extremism and the profound crisis of Western democracy all confirm the need to examine these “premises”, i.e. the moral, cultural and educational resources that are taken for granted. The questions that face societies seeking to cultivate and reproduce them are timeless and recurrent: Has individualism endangered communitarian and religious allegiances as much as it has done for the relative importance of national boundaries? Has it undermined the social capital and civic fabric that ground societies? Or is the illiberal trend a temporary regression, a momentary lapse in the long and winding history of democratic development? What insight do we gain on current political illiberal trends from other regional contexts that have been more reluctant to sacrifice communitarian values (South America, Arab and Muslim world, Asia)?

The Venice seminars will analyze these vital questions in Western and non-Western contexts, bringing a comparative approach to examine the attractive power of democracy on a global scale.


  1. Students, young scholars, and recent graduates in the field of humanities and social sciences, as well as visitors, are welcome to participate in the Venice Seminars 2019 that will take place in Venice from the 23rd to the 25th of May 2019 at Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the Island of San Giorgio. 
  2. Have a good working knowledge of English, knowledge of other languages is considered a plus but not indispensable.

Please, see all application details here below.

Summer School Faculty and Seminars Speakers:

Tahir Abbas • Fiona Adamson • Mohamed Al-Ani • Giuliano Amato • Albena Azmanova • Giulio Azzolini • Karen Barkey • Daniel A. Bell • Sheri Berman • Giancarlo Bosetti • Marina Calloni • José Casanova • Paolo Costa  • Patrick Deneen • Jon Elster • Alessandro Ferrara Pasquale FerraraPatrizio FondiPasquale Gagliardi • Seán Golden • Andrea Graziosi • Micheline Ishay  • Mohsen Kadivar  • Volker Kaul • Mounir KchaouDilek Kurban • Jonathan Laurence • Tiziana Lippiello • Alan Patten • David Rasmussen • Abdel Hussain Shaban • Mona Siddiqui • Marcella Simoni Yael Tamir • Francesca Tarocco • Pei Wang • Michel Wieviorka and others


It is now possible to apply for participating in the Venice Seminars, it is possible to apply WITH or WITHOUT financial support.


In order to register to the Venice Seminars ’19 with financial support, please click here, complete the form and send your application by March 27, 2019Successful applicants will be contacted no later than March 30, 2019.

Application requirements: 

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. A Letter of Motivation, stating why you want to be part of the Venice Seminars and why this is relevant to your studies and/or working field. 2,000 characters max.
  3. A personal ID (Passport or National Identity Document).
  4. Reference names are appreciated but not indispensable.

GRANTS for the Seminars:

Budget is limited. Small grants are addressed to students/scholars depending on their cv, motivation letter, travel distance from Venice, financial status.

The financial support includes lunch meals during the whole period of the Seminars.

In order to receive the GRANT, attendance for the whole duration of the Seminars is mandatory.

The GRANT will be delivered in cash on Saturday the 25th of May.


To apply without financial support, please click here, complete the form and send your application by May 27, 2019. 

Application requirements:

  1. Curriculum Vitae.
  2. A personal ID (Passport or National Identity Document).
  3. Reference names are appreciated but not indispensable.

Social Event: It is possible that an informal closing event for students and speakers will be organized on the 25th afternoon. The participation of all students will be highly appreciated.


The list of speakers may be subject to change. Participants will receive the final program of the Summer School.




You may find useful the official Venice transport map here:

Travel and Accommodation: participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses. Students must arrange their accommodation personally.

A room near Santa Lucia Train Station may be a suitable option since you can reach Ca’ Foscari University – Ca’ Dolfin in 15 minutes by walking. You can easily reach San Giorgio Island as well with vaporetto line n°2 in 45 minutes from Ferrovia Stop (in front of Santa Lucia train station).

Also a room near “Zattere” vaporetto stop may be a good option since you can reach Ca’ Foscari University (Aula Morelli, Palazzo Malcanton Marcorà, Dorsoduro 3484/D, Calle Contarini, 30123 Venezia) in 15 minutes by walking and San Giorgio Island with vaporetto line n°2 in 10 minutes.

Another option can be a room in Mestre, that is cheaper than a room on the main Island, from where you can reach Ca Foscari University in 30 minutes with the bus T2.

Here a list of suitable accommodations:

Hotel Andria (Mestre)

Legrenzi Rooms (Mestre)

B&B outlet sweet Venice (Mestre)

B&B romantica Venezia (Mestre)

Hotel San Geremia (near Ferrovia stop, Santa Lucia Train Station – vaporetto line n°2)

Hotel Adriatico (near Ferrovia stop, Santa Lucia Train Station – vaporetto line n°2)

Hotel Dolomiti (near Ferrovia stop, Santa Lucia Train Station – vaporetto line n°2)

Hotel Pensione Seguso (near Zattere Stop – vaporetto line n°2)

For any further information please write to Marco Lucidi:




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