5/10/2024 Ambassador Maurizio Melani at the eighth meeting of the PCTO "Introduction to Geopolitics"

Ambassador Maurizio Melani was the speaker at the eighth meeting of the innovative PCTO "Introduction to Geopolitics", an effect of the memorandum of understanding (DGR. 1507/2023) between the Veneto Region, the Veneto Regional School Office and the M9 Foundation, with the operational collaboration of the magazine “Atlantis” and Mazzanti Libri.
The theme of the eighth meeting, held on 9 April 2024, was "Development and conflicts in Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East".

The large turnout from the Venetian secondary schools participating in the initiative was numerous and active, in continuity with the interest shown in previous meetings.
As usual, at the opening of the event there were institutional greetings from Serena Bertolucci, director of M9-Museo del '900; Marco Bussetti, director of the Regional School Office for the Veneto, and Elena Donazzan, councilor for education of the Veneto Region.

Ambassador Melani had already held the introductory module of the PCTO, through two meetings, respectively on 6 and 20 February 2024, entitled "Foundations of the History of International Relations and International Organizations".
The appointment on 9 April contributed to enriching the geopolitical framework presented to the participating students, and consolidated during the PCTO's work; focusing specifically on the hot areas of Africa and the Mediterranean.
Particular attention was then placed on the Middle East, dramatically at the center of the current international crisis scenarios.
Ambassador Melani's speech provided a timely summary of the geopolitical events in Africa, from the period of colonial experiences to the era of decolonization in the 1960s, and then tied the threads of the discussion to current events.
The same procedure was carried out in discussing the Middle East, placing particular emphasis on the tensions that the Palestinian population has experienced over the last century, up to the creation of the State of Israel and the subsequent clashes.

The eighth meeting of the PCTO course "Introduction to Geopolitics" therefore began an in-depth journey towards geopolitical current affairs, which will be carried forward both in a multidisciplinary and regional perspective in the following three appointments.
The next meeting of the PCTO is scheduled for Tuesday 16 April, with the participation of Ambassador Piero Benassi. On this occasion, Ambassador Benassi will discuss the theme "Interdisciplinarity in Geopolitics", offering students the tools to develop a fluid and multidisciplinary approach to look at geopolitics, which is now increasingly indispensable in today's period.

Agata Lucchetta


Last focus meeting of the PCTO "Introduction to Geopolitics" with Ambassador Maria Assunta Accili

The eleventh meeting of the PCTO "Introduction to Geopolitics" on 30 April 2024 saw the participation of Ambassador Maria Assunta Accili, who discussed the topic of Asia's growth in global balances. The PCTO is the effect of the memorandum of understanding (DGR. 1507/2023) between the Veneto Region, the Veneto Regional School Office and the M9 Foundation, with the operational collaboration of the magazine "Atlantis" and Mazzanti Libri.

Once again the attention of the participating students confirmed their active participation during the lesson, also thanks to the numerous and interesting questions posed to Ambassador Accili at the end of the meeting.
As usual, at the opening of the event there were institutional greetings from Serena Bertolucci, director of M9-Museo del '900; Marco Bussetti, director of the Regional School Office for the Veneto, and Elena Donazzan, councilor for education of the Veneto Region.

Ambassador Accili's speech focused the discussion on the past and present dynamics underway in the Asian continent, focusing on its main players, including China, Japan, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan.
The emphasis was then placed on the geopolitical problems underway in the area, from the Taiwanese situation to the definition of China as an ambiguous power, balanced between Europe and the United States.
The historical excursus and reflections on the current situation have made it possible to start a broader discussion on the now essential connection between the various countries of the world, which, as Covid has demonstrated, due to globalization are now inextricably linked to each other.
The balance of the international chessboard is closely linked to each of its pieces, and the Asian continent is one of the possible crisis hotspots of the near future, also due to the high importance from a demographic and productive point of view of some of its components.

Yesterday's lesson concluded the part of the PCTO relating to in-depth analysis of geopolitical issues, provided by experts from various sectors, and which began on 6 February.
The first part of the workshop conducted by the journalist Domenico Letizia, together with the journalists Andrea Mazzanti and Carlo Mazzanti, will be offered on Friday 3 May.
The appointment on Friday 3 May, whose theme will be concluded on 7 May by the same speakers, will touch on the topic of the press office and event management.
Mandatory for all participants of the PCTO "Introduction to Geopolitics", these workshops will in particular be important premises for students who wanted to join the in-person workshops scheduled during the days of the International Geopolitics Festival, from 9 to 11 May 2024.
The skills implemented by the students will be focused on the areas of press office, photography and communication in the role of social media manager, always assisted by the manager Domenico Letizia.

Agata Lucchetta


5/10/2024 Last Thursday some Russian troops entered an American air base in Niger, the Sahel country that in July 2023 was the scene of a coup that removed President Mohammed Bazoum, considered pro-Western, and replaced him with a military junta led by General Tchiani.

The situation appears to be under control and the US Secretary of Defense Austin has minimized the risks for the US armed forces still present on site.

The occupation of this base, however, is highly symbolic: the Western presence (American and French above all) is reduced, while the Russian presence increases significantly.
Now the Russians can count on a corridor of influence that goes from General Haftar's Cyrenaica to West Africa passing through the Sahel, following one of the main routes of migration towards Europe.

Russia has ridden the strong anti-French sentiment in Niger and, although there is no certain evidence of Moscow's direct involvement in the coup, it has certainly taken advantage of the situation to put down roots in a country that is strategic from a geographical point of view and is one one of the main exporters of uranium, essential for French nuclear power plants.

France withdrew its military contingent and diplomatic staff at the end of 2023, after suffering an attack on the embassy in the capital Niamey in the first days of the coup.

Where France retreats, Russia advances. As the signs displayed by some supporters of the coup read: “Abas la France, vive Poutine”.

Enrico Ellero


6/7/2024 - Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a long interview to international news agencies on Tuesday 5 June at the Lachta Center in St. Petersburg, Gazprom's headquarters, during the International Economic Forum.

 In the more than three-hour speech, Putin explained that Russia could react to the Ukrainian armed forces' use of Western missiles against its territory by in turn supplying the same weapons to other countries to launch attacks on sensitive sites in those countries who support Ukraine militarily. The implied reference is naturally to NATO member states. Except to point out that Russia has no intention of attacking the Atlantic Alliance, due to the evident disparity in forces and because Russia, according to the President, has no imperial ambitions.

The supply of missiles to hit NATO countries would therefore be a response to Ukrainian attacks with Western weapons on Russian territory, but not an attempt to trigger an open conflict with the West. A questionable thesis to say the least, given that these would still be attacks on NATO, even if not directly carried out by Moscow's armed forces.

 During the interview, Putin also spoke about the US presidential elections in November, claiming that Russia does not care who wins the next elections and denying any direct link with Trump, with whom "there has never been any special relationship". However, he stated that the former American President is the victim of judicial persecution.

Responding to a question about Italy, Putin praised the fact that in Italy "caveman Russophobia has not spread" and that our country's position towards Russia is more moderate than that of other European countries.

 Enrico Ellero


05/31/2024 – The sad record of death sentences in 2023 goes to the ayatollah's Iran. As reported by an article in Avvenire on 30 May, the Islamic Republic carried out 74% of the death sentences recorded in the world last year . This record derives above all from two factors: on the one hand the regime's ruthless repression against the opposition after the anti-government protests that began with the death of Mahsa Amini, on the other the significant increase in executions for crimes related to drug trafficking. Of 508 death sentences for drug trafficking in the world, 481 were carried out in Iran.

On an overall level, there has been an increase in the number of abolitionist countries or those that have applied a moratorium on the death penalty for at least 10 years (last year there were 16 countries in which at least one capital sentence was carried out, again excluding China from the count , North Korea and Vietnam), but the number of executions increased: 1,153 executions in 2023, the highest figure since 2015 (1,634), with a growth of 31% compared to 2022.
Authoritarian countries dominate the ranking, with Iran at the top, followed by Saudi Arabia and Somalia.
Even in the United States the figure is increasing, from 18 executions in 2022 to 24 in 2023 (+33%).
In addition to executions, the number of death sentences is also growing, 2428 in 2023, with an increase of 20% compared to the previous year.
It should be noted that these numbers do not take into account the executions that took place in countries such as China, North Korea, Vietnam, on which there is no data available.
Enrico Ellero