The Rome MED This Week newsletter provides expert analysis and informed comments on the most significant issues and trends in the MENA region. Today, we focus on the significance of Pope Francis’ historic visit to Iraq and its possible implications on both the country’s domestic inter-faith dynamics and the region’s tense geopolitical situation.
To understand the extent of the upcoming Israeli elections on March 2, I think we have to start a little further back. At least since the last decade of the last century.
Renaud Dehousse, President, European University Institute - EUI
Paolo Magri, Executive Vice President and Director, ISPI
Introduction and Context*
Last Sunday Chechen police declared having registered 1.1 million people participating in the protest against the “genocide” of Muslims in Myanmar held in the center of Grozny (the capital of the Chechen republic). The number of participants may be overestimated, since the Republic's overall population is 1.3 million people, but the importance of this protest for Russia’s internal stability and international political agenda is hard to overestimate.
The international workshop on “The Refugee Crisis and Religious Engagement: Widening Routes to Legal Protection”, organised by ISPI and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held in Milan on March 13 and 14, with the scientific coordination of Prof. Fabio Petito, from the University of Sussex.
1. How has the American electorate changed over the last years and what is the possible impact on the forthcoming elections?
The “religious turn” in the study of international relations has started to break through and inform concrete policy discussions. The first part of this article briefly explains that breakthrough and the broader context for Italy’s engagement with religious non-state actors, including similar recent initiatives in the foreign affairs ministries of other countries. The second part examines some of the theoretical underpinnings of the approach we have started to develop in discussions over the last few years with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), and a variety of religious nonstate actors from Italy and other countries—an approach emphasizing a new form of knowledge generated through the encounter and dialogue with religious communities and religious nonstate actors. In the light of these insights, the final part of this article examines the Italian case and begins to explore how engagement with religious leaders, organizations, and communities could contribute to Italy’s foreign policy objectives and decision-making. Our argument is that Italy could represent a special case of religious engagement in foreign policy because of its unique geo-religious position: in the context of the current epochmaking changes in the international society, there is a sense in which Rome has become again, religiously speaking, caput mundi—the center of the world—as a unique hub of a transnational network of religions connections.