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Issue 9 | 2019

I. International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy


download-(buttons)Marco Lombardi e Barbara Lucini, Cooperazione e Cultural Diplomacy: resilienza e cultural focal points.


The current paper focuses on the need to think over the concept of globalization and its impact on the scenario of international cooperation.

The definition of globalization has been often related to other notions such as that of complexity, interconnection, homogenization aimed at the understanding of social and geopolitical changes. Although this effort, in the last years a new set of theoretical and methodological tools are needed to comprehend the inner changes represented by the new social and political scenarios. For this reason, the awareness about the global Hybrid Warfare and its features are the context for the development of future theories and methodologies for international cooperation, considering the importance of the Cultural Diplomacy.

The cultural diplomacy and its tool the cultural focal point are the efficient and adequate response to the period of transition we are living now.

The culture and the related social identities became the interpretative drivers to provide a new set of theories as well as the crisis management approach orients the advancement of the methodological tools.

Further, cultural resilience plays a crucial role to strength the high potential of the cultural focal point as diplomatic tools for the near future, in the field of international cooperation and especially, in the areas where the conflicts are harder and more resistant.

This new approach deals with conflict resolution through the principles of crisis management and the cultural perspectives, making possible a new way for managing pervasive conflicts and post-disaster stage.


Cultural diplomacy, international cooperation, crisis management, resilience, cultural focal point.


download-(buttons)Marta Visioli, Cultural Diplomacy and Cultural Focal Points as emergent and integrative cooperation strategies in the resolution of conflicts


The aim of this article is to demonstrate, with an original perspective, the necessity of Cultural Diplomacy and Cultural Focal Points (CFPs) as new effective sources of cooperation and conflict resolution. In a contemporary global context which is characterized by hybrid conflicts, with a mixture of unofficial and official actors and enemies, and by the overcoming of the state-centred national system, the traditional approaches to crises and conflicts are incomplete. In order to guarantee long-term peace and recovery, it is important to shift from an exclusive political and governmental perspective, to an integration of social and cultural members. In this regard, Cultural Diplomacy claims its place as a new effective response to the contemporary framework, by arising with new resources. As a matter of fact, it moves ever further away from its original meaning in order to encompass a comprehensive approach, with a particular focus on the resolution of domestic crises as a prerequisite to both national and international security. In particular, this form of diplomacy is a new cooperation strategy for conflict resolution because it increases the democratic space within nations between political authorities and civilians, it fosters mutual understanding by fighting stereotypes, it reduces the risk of conflicts and provides the vital resilience to crisis management and post-conflict.

In particular, the first part of the article focuses on the practice and the meaning of Cultural Diplomacy, by also highlighting its advantages and disadvantages in relation to cooperation and conflict resolution. Specifically, its evolution into an even more cooperative and effective strategy at different levels deserves the appropriate consideration within the global and political framework. Concerning this aspect, I demonstrate the opportunity, inherent in a correct use of Cultural Diplomacy, of improving diplomacy, cooperation and international as well as national relations. The second part concerns Cultural Focal Points, that is dynamic centers  of cultural preservation and reproduction, tested in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, which are considered new forms of Cultural Diplomacy. The focus is placed on their twofold objec-tive of promoting dialogue and cooperation and of enhancing the cultural heritage of each ethnic group, by relating it to the key features of CFPs (static nature, dynamism, singularity and plurality). These demonstrate their synergic nature as sources of conflict management, Cultural Diplomacy and resilience in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, as well as in reconstruction and recovery.


Cultural Diplomacy, cooperation strategy, Cultural Focal Points (CFPs), identity, conflict resolution.


download-(buttons)Nezka Figelj, Iran and religious sectarianism in the Middle East: the role of the European Union



The paper focuses on the recently emerged Sunni-Shi’a rivalry in the Middle East. The situation can escalate and result in violence and sectarian uprisings. The religious fragmentation will be analyzed from the Iranian perspective. The two main actors in the regional checkboard will be introduced: Saudi Arabia and Iran. It will discuss the Iranian Shi’a regime with its aspiration to regional hegemony. The potential threats of the Iranian nuclear program for the security of Israel will be addressed. The paper will evaluate the role of the European Union’s strategic interests in Iran after the Iranian nuclear agreement.


Iran, Saudi Arabia, religious sectarianism, rivalry Sunna-Shi’a, Israel, European Union.


download-(buttons)Violeta Tymul and Pietro SchioppettoSovereign wealth as power multiplier: the Russian Sovereign Wealth Funds experience



The article is a case study of the Russian politics involving Sovereign Wealth Funds. The first part introduces the how the SWF became a valuable geo-economical tool in the last 20 years, evolving from rentier economy to instruments of State led economic development. The second part analyses in depth the Russian experience detailing the different roles played by the funds in internal and foreign policy.


Sovereign Wealth Fund, Russia, Geo-economics, Geopolitics, Entrepreneurial State, Commodities, Stabilization Fund, Reserve Fund, National Wealth Fund, Russian Direct Investment Fund.


II. Terrorism & Counter-terrorism

download-(buttons)Daniele Plebani, Da Raqqa a Boghuz: l’evoluzione di Stato Islamico tra il 2017 e il 2019



This paper aims at providing with a comprehensive view of the evolution of Islamic State (IS) between the liberation of Raqqa (October 2017) and the end of 2018. Indeed, during this time frame IS has undertaken a deep and wide transformation in terms of both territorial presence and propaganda approach. From a territorial perspective, IS has faced a strong contraction especially in Siraq, partly balanced by the resistance fought in other regions. As for communication, the group was forced to adapt and struggled on countering public and private efforts against it as well as trying to find different ways for its associates to meet, communicate and plan attacks. Moreover, this paper is based on the conviction that the fight against IS cannot be considered only by reading the percentage of territory “freed” or the statisting regarding how many IS products – official and ispired – has been uprooted. On the contrary, this analysis stresses the necessity of a comprehensive approach which goes beyond the military fight against the group Islamic State and considers the “IS phenomenon” in its entirety.


Stato Islamico, comunicazione, territorio, eredità.


download-(buttons)Valerio de Divitiis, Children’s Rights vis-à-vis counter terrorism obligations: a priority for security and human rights mutually reinforcing practices


The international counter terrorism paradigm is being increasingly contextualized in the framework of sustainable development through civilian and rule of law-based policies shaped around the objective of preventing violent extremism. The recruitment and exploitation of children by terrorist organizations provides an urgent opportunity for the concretization of legal obligations and principles endorsed by the international community. The application of counter terrorism measures in cases involving children remains ambiguous at country level, despite clear international norms. There is a risk that the children’s rights may be overshadowed by the emergency nature of terrorism. Countries’ practitioners must pursue responses which consider the status of children even when they are liable for terrorism-related offences. Specific circumstances ranging from the prevention of exploitation by terrorist groups, including in educational settings, justice system responses tailored to the cases of children, the risks posed by the nuanced FTF phenomenon and the international legal provisions thereof, are scenarios where the rule of law-PVE vision becomes critical for sustainable response to terrorism.


Counter Terrorism, Children’s rights, Preventing Violent Extremism, Rule of Law, Human Security, Foreign Terrorist Fighters, Armed Conflicts.


III. Crisis Management


download-(buttons)Arianna Piacentini, Social media e cultura convergente: nuove applicazioni del Crisis Management



Social media become fundamental tools in the Crisis Management processes, in the emergency response and in the prevention and planning phase. The flexibility of these platforms allows to develop different communication strategies that take into account different scenarios in relation to specific risks of each area. Coombs and Holladay (2012) define Crisis Communication as the collection, processing and dissemination of information necessary to deal with an emergency situation. Mass media, in particular social media, if integrated into Crisis Management models and practices, allow to achieve a balance between the ability to disseminate information and ability to correctly interpret crisis risks. Online communication also facilitates the achievement of a high rate of interactivity, making a message viral through the mechanism of sharing on multiple platforms. These ones exploiting the phenomenon of digital convergence, which promotes the participation of different social actors, allow the creation of a shared crisis knowledge and collective awareness, encouraging the development of an active and resilient community.


Social media, Crisis Management, cultura convergente, partecipazione.


download-(buttons)Roberta Scassa, Collaborative Networks for Disaster Risk Reduction: the Role of Risk Communication and Disaster Education; Exploring the non-structural activities employed by the Italian Civil Protection in reducing seismic risks in the Abruzzo Region.


Natural disasters present several complex societal challenges beyond the jurisdiction and capacities of single actors. Prior research in the broader field of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) emphasises how the complexity of these problems requires that diverse organisations collaborate across multiple scales and levels, and adopt proactive behaviours. One of the best solutions to respond to these complexities is found in the establishment of inter-organisational networks collaboration where knowledge and information about disasters can be exchanged. Moreover, with the approval of the 2015 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) the necessity of reducing disasters through prevention activities and knowledge sharing among multi-stakeholders collaborations has been recognized on the international level. This paper investigates inter-organisational relationships in the DRR field through the analysis of  a specific network in the Abruzzo Region, in Central Italy. Drawing from semi-structured interviews with the actors involved in the Abruzzo Civil Protection network, the research allows to examine the inter-organisational collaboration and behaviours beyond emergency times. In particular, the paper focuses on examining the prevention mechanisms adopted to raise the awareness of the society about seismic risks. Studies often analyse the level of collaboration during an emergency or a crisis, trying to examine the efficiency of collaboration and coordination when responding to a disaster. Yet, studies rarely look into the relationships among actors proactively involved in DRR on the sub-national level before a disaster occurs. This paper analyses the non-structural prevention activities employed by the Abruzzo Civil Protection. The results are discussed with relevant academic literature, and show how knowledge sharing together with disaster education and risk communication are crucial ingredients for the success of risk informed and proactive multi-stakeholder collaborations in the field of DRR. Interesting insights from experts in the field are given, and recommendations for articulating future risk communication strategies are expressed by the author.


Disaster Risk Reduction, Prevention, Risk Communication, Environmental Education, Network Analysis.


It is possible to download the entire journal as PDF file by clicking here, as ePub file by clicking here and also as mobi file (Kindle format) by clicking here.

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