Convening 18 October 2012
Cultural differences in times of economic turbulence. Social tensions, cultural conflicts and policies of integration in Europe and India.

Cultural differences in times of economic turbulence. Social tensions, cultural conflicts and policies of integration in Europe and India

-Islam in Europe and India – past and present
-Contemporary India and its roots – culture, politics and society
-Global challenges for politics and the radicalization of identities
-The economic crisis and its impact on ethnic, cultural and class divisions in society. A comparison between India and Europe.
-Europe between fear for economic uncertainty, unemployment and re-emerging nationalisms
-What is meant by ‘modernization’ in culturally and religiously diverse societies?

Speakers and participants:
Giuliano Amato, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Stefano Allievi, Rajeev Bhargava, Akeel Bilgrami, Giancarlo Bosetti, Peter Ronald deSouza, Nilüfer Göle, Renzo Guolo, Dipankar Gupta, Najeeb Jung, Sebastiano Maffettone, Vincenzo Pace, Giangiorgio Pasqualotto, Antonio Rigopoulos, Federico Squarcini, Olivier Roy, Georg Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, Roberto Toscano, Ananya Vajpeyi, Michel WieviorkaGiuseppe Zaccaria.

Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore – Venice, Italy

Thursday October 18th and Friday 19th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 20th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The conference will be held in English – FREE ENTRANCE

Under the patronage of Università di Padova


Scientific coordinator: Nicola Missaglia (

Press office: Luisa Rovati (

The second Venice-Delhi Seminar is being held at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice. The overall subject addressed is Cultural Pluralism. Hence, the Venice-Delhi project aims to be an exceptional opportunity for an intellectual and intercultural exchange of knowledge between East and West, offering in-depth analyses of political, social and economic trends in societies where cultural, ethnic and religious differences have or will need to coexist. We will analyze the challenge that cultural differences and composite growing minorities are presenting to European democracies in times of financial turbulence, and Indian society’s intense pluralist experience during this phase of extremely rapid growth, while still dealing with dramatic poverty, ethnic differences and acute inequality. A focus is on the relationship between media and public policies in this context.

For March 2013 a third Delhi-Venice Seminar is in preparation in New Delhi in collaboration with the India Habitat Center, the University of Padua, the Delhi Jamia Millia Islamia University and Seminar Magazine.

Venice-Delhi Seminars 2012

Mani Shankar Aiyar is a former Indian Diplomat, Minister, well-distinguished politician, and active journalist. He is a member of the Indian National Congress and has served 26 years in the Indian Foreign Service. Honors Graduate from the University of Cambridge with an M.A. in Economics and the University of Delhi. Books published include: A time of Transition: Rajiv Gandhi to the 21st century, Penguin India, 2009, Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist, Penguin India, 2004, Rajiv Gandhi’s India, UBSPD New Delhi, 1997.

Stefano Allievi is a Professor of Sociology at Padua University in Italy. He specializes in migration issues, sociology of religion, and cultural change. He focused his studies and researches on the presence of Islam in Italy and Europe. Amongst his publications: Le trappole dell’immaginario: islam e occidente (2007); Conflicts over Mosques in Europe (2009); Al-Islâm al-Itâlî. Rihla(t) fî waqâ’i’ al-diyâna al-thâniya (Italian Islam) (2010); Producing Islamic Knowledge in Western Europe (eds. M.Van Bruinessen and S. Allievi, 2010); La Guerra delle moschee. L’Europa e la sfida del pluralismo religioso (I libri di Reset, 2010).

Giuliano Amato is President of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa and is also teaching at the School of Government at LUISS University in Rome. He is Emeritus Professor at the European University Institute in Florence. Before he was Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law at University of Rome “La Sapienza”. He was the Italian Prime Minister in 1992-‘93 and in 2000-’01, Minister of Domestic Affairs in Italy until April 2008 and served also as Secretary of the Treasury in Italy. He was the Vice-President of the Convention for the European Constitution. His most recent publications include Antitrust and the Bounds of Power, When the Economy is affected with a Public Interest, The Europeanisation of Law, The Anticompetitive Impact of Regulations (co-editor with L. Laudati), and Tornare al futuro. He is the President of the Scientific Committee of Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations.

Rajeev Bhargava is Senior Fellow and Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Dehli. He was formerly Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Between 2001 and 2005, he was Professor of Political Theory and Indian Political Thought, and Head of the Department of Political Science at University of Delhi. His research concerns Indian secularism, constitutionalism and multiculturalism. Amongst his publications: Secularism and its Critics (1989), Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution (2009); What is Political Theory and Why do we need it? (2010); The Promise of India’s Secular Democracy (2010).

Akeel Bilgrami is the Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Director of The Heyman Center for the Humanities (until 2011), and a member of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. His areas of specialization are philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, political philosophy and moral philosophy. Among his publications are: Belief and Meaning (1992) and Self Knowledge and Resentment (2006). His collection of essays called Politics and The Moral Psychology of Identity is forthcoming from Harvard University Press (2012). He is also contracted to publish two small books in the near future, one called What is a Muslim? and another on Gandhi’s philosophy.

Giancarlo Bosetti is the editor-in-chief of Reset, a cultural magazine he founded in 1993, and of the online magazine He was vice-editor-in-chief of the Italian daily L’Unità. He is the editor-in-chief of the web-magazine He is currently a columnist for the Italian daily La Repubblica and he has been teaching at University La Sapienza, and University Roma Tre. He published La lezione di questo secolo, a book-interview with Karl Popper, Cattiva maestra televisione, (ed.) writings by Karl Popper, Il Fallimento dei laici furiosi (2009). He is one of the founders and Director of Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations.

Peter Ronald deSouza is Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla (India) since 2007. Prior to assuming charge of the Director, IIAS, he was at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, as a Senior Fellow and Co-director of the Lokniti programme on Comparative Democracy. Earlier he was Professor of Political Science at Goa University from 1987 till 2003. He has published the following edited books: (i) Contemporary India: Transitions, Sage, 2000; (ii) With E. Sridharan India’s Political Parties, Sage, 2003; (iii) With  Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palashikar State of Democracy in South Asia (SDSA), OUP,  2006; (iv) With Sanjay Kumar and Sandeep Shastri  Indian Youth in a Transforming World: Attitudes and Perceptions, Sage, 2007; and With Tridip Suhrud Speaking of Gandhi’s Death, Orient Blackswan, 2010.

Nina zu Fürstenberg is the founder and the President of Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations. She has been focusing for years on the study of Islam and on the promotion of intercultural dialogue, working as a journalist for the cultural magazine Reset. She edited Euro-Islam. L’integrazione mancata by Bassam Tibi, Lumi dell’Islam. Nove intellettuali musulmani parlano di libertà and Europa laica e puzzle religioso with Krzysztof Michalski. She is the author of Chi ha paura di Tariq Ramadan. L’Europa di fronte al riformismo islamico (German version 2008) and edited recently a book of Nasr Abu Zayd on Testo sacro e libertà. Per una lettura critica del Corano.

Pasquale Gagliardi is Secretary-General of the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice since 2002. After graduating in law from the Catholic University, Milan, in 1958, he focused on the study of social sciences applied to business management. Since 1986 he has been professor of the sociology of organizations in the Faculty of Political Sciences at the Catholic University, Milan. From 1977 to 2005 he was the head of ISTUD, an institute of management studies, now the ISTUD Foundation. As a scholar, Pasquale Gagliardi has contributed to the international spread of the use of cultural and social anthropology in studying the issues faced by companies and contemporary institutions. On this subject he has published articles, essays and books both in Italy and abroad; the best-known is Le imprese come culture (1986). He is a member of the editorial board of Organization and Organization Studies, and a member of the scientific committee of AICIS- Åland International Institute of Comparative Island Studies.

Nilüfer Göle is Professor of Sociology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. She works on Islamic visibility in European public spaces and the debates it engenders on religious and cultural difference. Her sociological approach aims to open up a new reading of modernity from a non-western perspective and a broader critique of Eurocentrism in the definitions of secular modernity. She is the author of Islam in Europe: The Lure of Fundamentalism and the Allure of Cosmopolitanism (2010). She is member of the Executive Committee of the Istanbul Seminars. Director of EuropeanPublicIslam at the European Research Council Project 2008-2012.

Renzo Guolo is a Professor of Sociology of Cultural Processes at the University of Padua. He is a member the Scientific Committee of Reset-Dialogue on Civilizations and a member of Sociology of Religion of the Italian Sociology Association. He is a contributing writer for several magazines and newspapers including La Repubblica. His field of work concerns the sociology of Islam, fundamentalism contemporaries, integration and conflict of multicultural societies, the relationship between religion and politics. His publications include: Potere e  responsabilità. Obama, l’islam e la comunità internazionale (with A. Caffarena), 2009; Generazione del fronte, 2008; La via dell’Imam, 2007; L’Islam è compatibile con la democrazia?, 2007.

Dipankar Gupta taught sociology and social anthropology in Jawaharlal Nehru University from January 1980 to July 2009. The overall theme of his research has been the relationship between tradition and modernity. He has been Leverhulme Professor in London School of Economics in 2003, Asia Chair of Sciences Po in 2004 and, Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Washington DC, in 2007. He is a columnist for numerous newspapers including: The Times of India, Mail Today, and The New York Times. In 2010, the French government honored him as Chevalier De L’Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres. His recent publications include The Caged Phoenix. Can India Fly? (Stanford University Press, 2010).

Najeeb Jung is the current Vice Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi was a former Indian Administrative Services officer. He is an international expert on governance and energy, having worked with different governments, the public sector and the private sector in these sectors. He worked for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Oxford Institute for Energy Studies working on energy-related projects. Jung studied at St. Stephen’s college in Delhi, India and the London School of Economics in England, before joining the IAS in 1973. He has written for numerous publications including The Times India and Mail Today.

Sebastiano Maffettone is Dean of the Faculty of Political Science, Political Philosophy professor and director of the Center for Ethics and Global Politics at LUISS University in Rome, where he also teaches at the School of Government. He was a visiting professor for many distinguished universities including: Harvard, Columbia, Tufts, Boston College, University of Pennsylvania, LSE, and Sciences Po. He has collaborated with many newspapers including: il Sole 24 ore, Corriere delle Sera, and Panorama. He is the founder of the journal Philosophy and Public Issues (Luiss Editions). Maffettone also translated and made known the works of political philosopher John Rawls throughout Italy. His latest publications include, The Foundations of Liberalism (1996), Public Ethics (2001), The Conceivability of the World (2006). Rawls: an introduction (2010).

Vincenzo Pace is a leading international scholar of Sociology of Religion. He is the department chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Padova. He was the former president of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion and has been visting Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. His area of work primarily focuses on secularization, de-secularization, the sociology of Islam, new religious communities in Italian society, identity and religious boundaries. His published works include: Raccontare Dio. La Religione come comunicazione (2008), Religion(s) et identité(s) en Europe, (Paris, 2008), Religion as communication (In N. Ammerman, ed., Oxford, 2007), Introduzione alla sociologia delle religioni (2007).

Giangiorgio Pasqualotto is a Professor of History of Philosophy at the University of Padua.  His academic career has been devoted to the study of Buddhism and Taoism, and trying to link these religions to Western philosophy. He was a co- founder of the “Maitreya” in Venice for Buddhist studies.  He has worked with numerous publications including Angelus Novus, Contropiano, New Current, Aut aut, The Centaur, Paramita, Wandering Rocks, Paradox, Erano Jahrbuch, Oikos. His published works include: Filosofia e globalizzazione (2011), Tra Occidente ed Oriente: interviste sull’intercultura e il pensiero orientale (2010), Per una filosofia interculturale (2008), Buddhismo: sentieri di una religione millenaria (2003).

Antonio Rigopoulos is a Professor for the Department of Studies on Africa and the Mediterranean for the University of Ca’ Foscari in Venice, Italy. His particular area of concentration is on Indian religion and philosophies. A honorable graduate from UCSB with a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, Rigopoulous has published numerous books and articles including: Sai Baba of Sirdi Powers and Yoga, Yoga Powers (article, 2012),  La concezione dell’uomo nel Buddhismo antico (article, 2011), Guru. Il fondamento della civiltà dell’India. Con la prima traduzione italiana del “Canto sul Maestro” (2009) Hinduismo (2005), The Mahanubhavs (2005).

Olivier Roy is currently a Professor of Social and Political Theory at the European University in Florence, Italy. He was also a professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Since 1985, he served as a Senior Researcher at the French National Centre of Scientific Research. He headed the OSCE’s Mission of Tajikistan and was a consultant for the UN office of the Coordinator of Afghanistan in 1988. His academic concentrations include Political Islam, Middle East, Islam in the West and comparative religions. His numerous publications include Globalized Islam (2004), La Saint Ignorance (2008). In 2012 he published Arab Society in Revolt: The West’s Mediterranean Challnge (ed., Brookings).

Federico Squarcini is a professor of History of Religions at the University of Ca’ Foscari in Venice, Italy. He received a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Bologna.  He has taught History of Religions in India (University of Florence) and  Indology (University of Bologna and Rome). His recent publications include Forme della norma (2012) and Forme di radicalism religioso in Sudasia (article, 2012), Tradition, Veda and Law. Studies on South Asian Classical Intellectual Traditions (London, 2011), Tradens, Traditum, Recipiens. Studi storici e sociali sull’Istituto della tradizione nell’antichità sudasiatica (2008), Yoga. Fra storia, salute e mercato (2008).

Georg Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza has been the Chairman and CEO of the TBG Group. His schooling took place in Austria and Germany; with university studies completed with a law degree in Zurich, Switzerland in 1978. In 1983, Mr. Thyssen was appointed CEO of TBG and in 1991 Chairman and CEO. In 2007 he stepped down as CEO but continues to serve as Chairman of the General Management until today. Today he created the Nomis Foundation, which is primarily engaged in biological research, but also in the field of humanities. He is founder of Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations.

Roberto Toscano is an Italian Ambassador and has recently been Public Policy Scholar at Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. He was Italian Ambassador to Iran and India. He focuses on the topics of human rights and the ethics of international relations. Amongst his recent books: Between terrorism and global governance: essays on ethics, violence and international law (2009), Beyond Violence. Principles for an Open Century (with R. Jahanbegloo, 2009) and La violenza, le regole (2006). He is President of the Intercultura Foundation and member of the Scientific Committee of Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations.

Ananya Vajpeyi is an associate fellow  at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. In 2012-13 she is a senior fellow with the American Institute for Indian Studies. She was educated at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; at Oxford University and at the University of Chicago, where she earned her Ph.D. She has studied European and Indian languages and literatures. She has taught at Columbia University, and in the history department at the University of Massachusetts, in Boston. She has held post-doctoral fellowships at the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC, and at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, among others. She writes widely for newspapers and magazines in India and abroad. Her first book, Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India, is published by Harvard University Press in the US, UK and India in September 2012.

Michel Wieviorka is a highly regarded sociologist and the president of the Foundation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris. He is professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, where for many years he directed the Centre d’analyse et d’intervtion sociologiques founded by Alain Touraine. Between 2006-2010, he served as President of the International Sociological Association (ISA). His academic concentrations focus on violence, terrorism, racism, social movements, and the theory of social change. He is also a member of the Scientific Committee de Sciences Po. His publications include: For the next left, (2011), Money (2010), and Nine Lessons of Sociology (2008).

Giuseppe Zaccaria is the Rector of the University of Padua where he also teaches General Theory of Right and Philosophy of Right. He received his law degree from the University of Padova and was given scholarships to study at the University of Oxford, Saarbrücken, and Washington. He has been the editor of the journal Ars Interpretandi: Annuario di Ermeneutica Giuridica, originally published in 1996. His academic works include: Diritto e interpretazione. Lineamenti di teoria ermeneutica del diritto (fifth edition in 2004), Derecho e Interpretación. Elementos de teoría hermenéutica del Derecho (2007), La giurisprudenza come fonte di diritto. Un’evoluzione storica e teorica (2007), Razon judirica e interpretacion (2004).

This event was organized with a contribution by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs



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