LUISS

Info docente

I have an extended direct experience in the field of international relations, being an Italian diplomat since 1984 (at the moment I’m the Ambassador of Italy to Algiers). At the same time, I’ve an academic background, both in terms of research and teaching activity in international relations theory and practice, focusing on diplomacy, negotiation, religions and world affairs, peace studies and Mediterranean studies. In the last years I’ve tried  to combine my on-the ground knowledge as a professional diplomat with an analytical capacity in the field.  I’ve been involved in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, having served in Brussels (Italy’s Permanent Representation to the EU) during the “constitutional process” in the early 2000s, and in countries like Chile (during the transition to democracy in the early 1990s), Greece (as Consul), the US – at the Italian Embassy in Washington as a political counselor during the Administration of George W.Bush, following in particular the Iraqi crisis and conflict. As an academic, since 2010 I’ve been teaching various courses (in English) in Diplomacy and Negotiation both in the Master in International and Public Affairs and in the regular Master Program of LUISS in Rome. In addition, I teach International Relations and Integration at the  University Institute “Sophia”, Figline e Incisa Valdarno (Florence). I’ve also taught a brief course in the European Union at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies.

I’ve been Director of the Policy Planning Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009-2011). Among other things, I launched a new program in Religion and International Relations, bringing together practitioners and academics, consisting of internal reflection papers and public seminars and international conferences. I’ve also been Secretary General of the European University Institute in Florence, collaborating with the “Mediterranean Directions” program. My book “Global Religions and International Relations” (Palgrave MacMillan) is one of the results of that engagement. My last work is a comprehensive reading from the IR perspective of Pope Francis international initiatives.

My research is focusing now on the problems of culture, religion and identity in International relations and diplomatic activity, with a special attention to the Mediterranean and the Arab-Islamic world.

Teaching statement

My objective is not only to pass to students basic and advanced knowledge of the main approach and problems of International Relations theory, but also to apply that knowledge to specific case studies. Overall, I try to highlight the constant dynamics between political, empirical and normative aspects present in world affairs, by analyzing basic concepts of international life (such as power, interests, values; roles, rules, identity, culture) and explaining how they work in the practical domain of international relations and diplomacy.

One of the goals of my courses is to try to bridge the gap between academia and practice. Theory should always meet the real world. For a very long time, IR theorists and diplomats did not understand each other, using a different language and a different epistemology. The complexity of contemporary world affairs, impose in my view a new approach: a lively dialogue between academics and diplomats, in the full respect of the specialty of each field, in a process of reciprocal learning.

Against that background, my goal is always guiding the students in the intricacies of world affairs, providing them with critical and analytical tool so that they are able to evaluate and judge international affairs challenging the conventional wisdom. To that end, I believe that active engagement of the students is a key element on any university course. For instance, organizing simulations of real-word negotiation on current international crisis has always an invaluable impact on the learning process, allowing students to operationalize concepts and tenets of the discipline.

It is also my intent to bring into the discussion new emerging elements in world affairs, and in particular the issues of identity, culture, and religion. In my view this are essential component of a new truly “realist” view of international relations, well beyond the traditional concepts of economic and military power.

I mention the expanding boundaries of international relations, both in terms of new actors appearing on the world scenario (sub-national and transnational actors) and in relation to new issues included in the international agenda (migrations, climate change).

I invite the students to discuss the old-fashioned distinction between High politics and Low politics in the international arena and how that distinction is blurring, being no longer useful to understand the present transformation of world affairs.

Finally, I always ask my students to produce a policy paper containing recommendations for delegations participating in a negotiating process on an ongoing international crisis of their choice. The discussion in class and with myself of this paper has always been for me a source of knowledge and inspiration, allowing me to see international issues form different perspectives. I’m grateful to my students for their enthusiasm, seriousness and wisdom in approaching international crises. It’s a learning experience for me.

Main publications 

  1. La pace transnazionale. Per un nuovo pluralismo nella politica mondiale [Transnational Peace. Toward a New Pluralism in World Politics], Città Nuova, Roma 1989
  2. L’uno plurale. Identità e differenza nel mutamento internazionale, [Plural Unity. Identity and Difference in the International Change], Città Nuova, Roma 1990
  3. Non di solo Euro. Per una filosofia politica dell’Unione Europea, [Not Only the Euro. Toward a Political Philosophy of the European Union], Città Nuova, Roma 2001
  4. Lo stato preventivo. Democrazia securitaria e sicurezza democratica [The Preventive State. Securitarian Democracy and Democratic Security], Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli 2010
  5. Global Religions and international relations: a diplomatic perspective, Palgrave Pivot, December 2014
  6. La politica inframondiale. Le relazioni Internazionali nell’era postglobale [Domestic World Politics. International Relations in the Post-Global Era], Città Nuova, Roma 2014
  7. Religioni e relazioni internazionali. Atlante teopolitico [Religions and International Relations. Theopolitical Atlas], Città Nuova, Roma 2014
  8. Il mondo di Francesco. Bergoglio e la politica internazionale [Francis’ world. Pope Bergoglio and International Politics] Edizioni San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo 2016

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