President of VIU, Ambassador Umberto Vattani together with the Dean, Professor Carmelo Marabello inaugurated the 1st semester of 2022-2023 during the Opening Ceremony on September 6.
During his address, President Vattani presented a brief history of the island of San Servolo, from Benedictine monastery to hospital which since 1995 is home to Venice International University.
Dean Marabello extended a warm welcome to the students and professors from the member universities in attendance.

On the occasion of the Opening Ceremony, honored guest Francesco Rutelli delivered a Lectio Magistralis entitled "New Culture Wars in the Digital Era: Can Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy be an Antidote?"

During thirty years as a Member of the Italian Parliament, Rutelli served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture. Today he is President of ANICA (National Association of Digital Audiovisual Cinematographic Industries) and President of the Soft Power Club. The latter convenes prominent public officials, global CEOs, analysts, and entrepreneurs committed to sharing a vision on the role of soft power to promote pragmatic multilateralism and global dialogue to address the challenges faced by the world today.

Rutelli introduced his lecture acknowledging that he would pose questions rather than answers in order to stimulate critical thinking on the issue of cancel culture which we see propelled in particular on digital platforms. He presented historical examples of cancel culture as represented by controversial monuments around the world that have been taken down, torn down, destroyed, or moved. These monuments tell the story of historical "cancellations" following regime change, enlightenment, new investigation, or protest.  But who decides what should be canceled, and when? There are some indisputable examples of monuments that must be removed, but should we cease discussing these historical figures and events, or should we rather remove the monuments to appropriate locations where they can be viewed and what they represent can be discussed critically?  
Following the Lectio Magistralis the guests enjoyed a Welcome Reception in the Piazzale Baden-Powell on San Servolo. 


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