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The 2017 edition of the Lectio degasperiana: Letta and Cornelissen at Pieve Tesino on August 18

May 18, 2017

Enrico Letta and FBK-Isig Director Christoph Cornelissen will hold the Lectio Degasperiana 2017 on Friday 18 August at Pieve Tesino, on the initiative of the Trentino Foundation Alcide De Gasperi. Lectio 2107 will explore in depth the relationship between Alcide De Gasperi and Konrad Adenauer, whose fiftieth death anniversary is being celebrated this year, and will analyze the link between Italy and Germany in the context of a new European perspective.

Letta and Cornelissen will talk about the relationship between Alcide De Gasperi and Konrad Adenauer, German Chancellor from 1949 to 1963, whose fiftieth death anniversary is being celebrated this year, and will analyze the link between Italy and Germany in the context of a new European perspective.

Enrico Letta, Italy’s former Prime Minister, is currently director of the International School of Business in Paris; Christoph Cornelissen is director of Trento-based Fondazione Bruno Kessler’s Italian-German Historical Institute and a professor at the Goethe University of Frankfurt.

After the 2016 edition, which saw a talk by President Sergio Mattarella, the Foundation continues its review of the great European history by asking two authoritative guests to sketch the relationship between the two Fathers of Europe and, above all, to place the relationship between Italy and Germany within a historical and geopolitical perspective that is unprecedented in many aspects. The meeting will take place a few weeks before the German political elections, called for September 23, which will close an election year of great importance for the history of the continent.

Cristoph Cornelissen will address the issue of relations between the Latin world and the Germanic world, and the Christian and social roots of Europe, which was at the heart of the friendship and political collaboration between Alcide De Gasperi and Konrad Adenauer, leaders of two countries that achieved internal unification late, first allies and then opponents and in any case both defeated in World War II. Adenauer had to rule his country for nearly ten years after De Gasperi’s passing, but De Gasperi was the first of the great European political leaders to have clear since 1946 that, without a Germany that was the protagonist of a new political pact for freedom and social democracy, the history of Europe could not have started on new foundations.

Even today, Germany is at the center of the economic and political scene and the looks of those who fear and who support it converge on it. Today, opinions on Germany’s role in Europe are divergent as never before and commonplaces are many. Enrico Letta will be able to explain to us what the role of Germany in the future of Europe really is; he will make us understand whether accusing German politics of being “doctrinal” and rigid is well founded or not; how Germany is seen in international relations and above all how, in his view, should Italian political action toward German democracy develop in a difficult time for all the traditional European parties.

Enrico Letta, studied and earned his PhD in political science in Pisa, the city where he was born. At the age of 25 he became president of the YEPP, the Youth of the European People’s Party. In 1990 he became a researcher at AREL, the Research and Legislation Agency founded by Nino Andreatta, whose secretary general he has been since 1993. In November 1998, he became Minister for Community policies. From 2000 to 2001 he was Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craft. In 2001 he entered the Chamber of Deputies for the first time. In 2004 he was elected European Member for the Northeast Italy District. In 2006-2007 he was Undersecretary of State for the President of the Council of Ministers’ Office during the Second Prodi Government. From April 28, 2013 to February 22, 2014 he was the President of the Council of Ministers. He withdrew from office in April 2014, and has since been a professor at the Institut d’Etudes politiques in Paris, where he directs the school for International Affairs. In April 2015 he founded the School of Policies in Rome. Since July 2016 he has been the President of the Institut Jaques Delors – Notre Europe. He has recently published, with Bologna-based Il Mulino publishers, his latest book, Contro venti e maree. Idee sull’Europa e sull’Italia (Against Winds and Tides. Ideas on Europe and Italy).

Christoph Cornelissen is Director of Fondazione Bruno Kessler’s Italian-German Historical Institute and Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Frankfurt. He has lectured at the universities of Saarbrucken, Düsseldorf, Prague, Kiel and at the London School of Economics in London. He is co-chair of the Czech-Slovak-German Historical Commission; Member of the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG); Co-editor of the journal Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht and, in Italy, is part of the Editorial Committee of the “Italia contemporanea” magazine. Among his numerous scientific works is the biography of the historian Gerhard Ritter. Geschichtswissenschaft und Politik im 20. Jahrhundert (Droste 2001). In addition, he recently co-edited the book Europe 1914. Wege in das Unbekannte, Paderborn (Schöningh 2016) and, with Paolo Pombeni, Spazi politici, società e individuo (political spaces, society and individual). Le tensioni del moderno (The tensions of the modern age), Bologna (Il Mulino 2016).