The present global crisis and the geopolitical scenarios in which Europe and the Western countries will have to move in the next decades ask for a deeper cultural awareness and an effective political action. The main actors on the world stage apparently appeal to the fundamental values elaborated by the European political culture, but these ideas are being challenged by alternative styles of power and by the current dynamics of international relations. Even the countries where those values were created and developed are showing tensions and contradictions, calling for a re-thinking of the tradition and a new formulation of those principles and of the concrete practices deriving from them.

What was usually and rhetorically called “The Roots of Europe”, that is, the Greek origins of democracy and the Medieval Christian synthesis, are too far and weak today to face the present lacerations. The latter require, rather, the reprise of the deep and fertile philosophical and cultural reflection which resulted in three fundamental moments of Modernity: 1) the Enlightenment as a political and ethical conception based on the idea of reason as a critical instance; 2) the National States, as communities defined by a common language and a unified culture, bound by stable borders; 3) the conception of international relations as a balance of powers guided by shared principles and values.

Modernity is the great laboratory of Europe and its heritage still characterizes European and Western nations and cultures in the global scenario, especially in facing the present difficulties, crises and conflicts. The XX century has witnessed deep and dramatic distortions imposed on these values, but it has also seen their reaffirmation in the defeat of totalitarianism and in the elaboration of a shared European project, which is still far from being fully realized.

For all these reasons, there is more need of Europe today than there has ever been before.

The issues calling for a philosophical, political and cultural reflection and action nowadays are complex and challenging: justice beyond boundaries, from national borders to the boundary between generations, genders and ethnicities; the environmental crisis, now urging effective policies but facing contrastive forces; immigration and the ethos of multicultural societies; the crisis of European institutions and the need for a reformulation of the European Union project; economic inequalities and social turmoil as their result, mainly in the new ghettos and in the peripheries; the systemic tensions generated by capitalistic economy and the need for development and growth.

The cooperation of universities, research institutes, cultural movements, political actors and economical forces is of paramount importance for facing these challenges.

In this scenario, the International Research Centre for European Culture and Politics, established on January 15th, 2017 at San Raffaele University in Milan, aims to create a network among the scholars and the international Centres studying these issues, the institutions and the social and economical influencers in order to propose and adopt adequate visions and policies.

The IRCECP aims to realize research projects and studies on the European culture and politics in a cooperative network between various international institutions, not limited to European ones. The main issues are the following:

– the leading values of European culture, in particular the conceptions of freedom, justice, rights and history

– the idea of personal and political liberty in modern thinking

– the ethics of enlightenment and contemporary ethics as characteristically European morality

– the principle of respect for persons in the contemporary debate: rights, migrations, environment, relations between states, justice and equality across borders

–  the challenges coming from global politics and the role of Europe

– the principles of sustainable development and the issue of public decisions

– the forms of the development and the future of the European Union

– the social role of public opinion, of literary and artistic culture in the social European context

The Centre will realize scientific research projects, in cooperation with the scholars and their Centres participating in the Scientific Committee. The network will participate in national and European calls for funded research.

The Scientific Committee will define a research issue wide and flexible enough to encompass most of the existing research programs in the respective Centres. Each Centre develops its declination of the issue and there will be bilateral and multilateral meetings, exchanges and interactions, ending up in an international conference where all the interested Centres participate presenting the outcomes of their research. The Conference will have a scientific and a public part, the latter involving the presence of representatives from the European Union, the economic and social forces, and the national and local authorities. The Conference will end with a Policy Recommendation on the chosen topic, aimed at suggesting ideas, strategies and policies to the institutions and the public, which will be widely disseminated.

The papers presented will be proposed for publication in a book or an international journal.

The Centre and the Conference are hosted in the Palazzo Arese Borromeo, Cesano Maderno, very close to Milan:

Roberto Mordacci (Director), Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele

Massimo Cacciari, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele

Alessandro Del Maschio, Rector, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele


Members of the Research Centre

Stefano Bacin, Storia della filosofia morale, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele

Francesca Pongiglione, Filosofia sociale, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele

Massimo Reichlin, Etica della vita, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele

Roberta Sala, Filosofia politica, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele

Sarah Songhorian, PhD, Cattedra Giuseppe Rotelli di Filosofia, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele

Proposed Scientific Committee (only a few of these persons have been contacted so far)









Paolo Magri, ISPI, Milano,