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The national interest: what it is and how to defend it

    • Venice
    • 13 October 2006

          “The national interest: what it is and how to defend it”, part of the Aspen Seminars for Leaders program, was based on the concern that national and international experts see Italy as a country at risk of decline, or already declining. It was deemed that the passive attitude towards this negative assessment depends partly on a lack of awareness of Italian identity. In order to overcome this, people must realize that identity does not only depend on the State, the Republic and local communities, cities and regions. It is also a matter of culture, art, literature, science and entrepreneurship. Italy is a complex country system and Italians need to find a way of fostering the various identities and (re)interpreting national interest in modern terms. The seminar centered on a consideration of strategic issues such as the role of national conscience and collective memory, the need for leaders with deep-rooted identity, and the importance of unabashedly expressing strong values. There must be common rules to solve the problems inherent in the country’s development and to identify new forms of aggregation. So far, only at mass sports events do national identity and social interest coincide. If Italy’s “common good” is to become a shared goal, something must be done to identify and defend it.

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