Reflections on Italy - Roundtable and Panel Discussion hosted by Lord Patten

“Authoritarianism, nationalism, centralization, demagogy: surely these are evils from which we may expect to be cured” – Alessandro Passerin D’Entrèves, 1947.

In 1947, Alessandro Passerin D’Entrèves gave his inaugural lecture as Serena Professor of Italian at the University of Oxford. A scholar and Italian resistance fighter, he delivered the lecture less than two years after the end of the second World War. Passerin D’Entrèves saw his appointment as a chance to “cement the bonds of friendship and mutual understanding between England and Italy”.

Reflections on Italy – A roundtable and panel discussion

Against the backdrop of Brexit, the global pandemic and war in Eastern Europe, the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford together with Corpus Christi College and Brasenose College, will be celebrating that lecture by bringing together some of world’s leading thinkers, public intellectuals, and political figures in Oxford to reflect on the past and future of Italy.

Hosted by the Chancellor of the University, Lord Patten of Barnes, KG, CH, the event features round table discussions with Mr Bill Emmott, former Editor-in-Chief of The Economist and renowned author, journalist and expert on Italian politics, Chiara Albanese (Rome Bureau Chief of Bloomberg News), Natalia Augias (Political Editor of RAI), Luca Annunziata (former Chair of RAI), Giovanna Pancheri (News Anchor for Sky TG24), Beppe Severgnini (Corriere della Sera), Professor Timothy Garton Ash (Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford), Professor Giovanni Orsina (Professor of Contemporary History, LUISS-Guido Carli University) and Andrea Ruggeri (Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Oxford).


This event follows a morning symposium with academics from Bari, Bristol, European University Institute, Milan, Oxford, Padova and Sant’Anna-Pisa that will touch on some of the central themes that Passerin D’Entrèves addressed in his lecture and that are still relevant today: the different ways to study and remember the history or histories of Italy; the critical issue of national identity and the tensions between patriotism and nationalism; and how perceptions and understandings of Italy’s past inform current affairs and might impact the country’s future, as well as the changes and ruptures from the past. You can register for the symposium, separately, here.

Chiara Albanese, is a Bloomberg correspondent in Rome, from where she covers government, the economy, energy, and infrastructure. Before returning to Italy with Bloomberg she wrote about markets from London for the Wall Street Journal and contributed to Il Sole 24 Ore and Corriere della Sera. She teaches on the Masters course in Journalism and Multimedia Communication at the LUISS University in Rome and hosts a weekly political podcast.

Natalia Augias, is UK Correspondent in London for RAI, the Italian national radio and television network. Former Political Editor at RAI TG1, the main TV newscast in Italy (2017-2022), she was Parliamentary Reporter and Member of the Lobby (2002 – 2016). She has covered foreign missions of Italian prime ministers, reporting on Brexit and on national elections in Italy (since 1994). She has co-authored a book with Andrea Covotta on the birth of the Democratic party in Italy entitled I cattolici e L’Ulivo (2005).

Lucia Annunziata, was Chair of RAI, the Italian national radio and tv network, from March 2003 to May 2004 and Chief Editor of RAI TG3 News between 1996 and 1999. In 2000, she founded AP.Biscom, an online news partnership with the Associated Press. She was foreign correspondent for La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera and La Stampa, based in the Americas, the Middle East and the Balkans, between 1980 and 1996. Lucia subsequently hosted Italy’s influential Sunday afternoon political tv talk-show (“In an hour”) for two decades. She was also Chief Editor of the Huffington Post Italy, between 2002 and 2020. She sits on the Executive Committee of the Aspen Institute Italy and serves on the Scientific Committee of Institute Treccani, the Italian Encyclopaedia. Lucia was a Neiman Fellow at Harvard University in 1992-93 and has written several books, including L’Inquilino (2023), No (2002), 1977 (1997) and Bassa Intensità (1990).

Bill Emmott, is a former Editor-in-Chief of The Economist (1993-2006) and Chairman of the Trustees of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He has written fourteen books, including Good Italy, Bad Italy published by Rizzoli and Yale University Press, and worked on two documentary feature films broadcast by BBC, Sky Italia and other major media outlets. He writes regular columns on international affairs for La Stampa and has also written for The Times, The Guardian, Prospect and the Financial Times. He has been a Member of the Advisory Board of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in 2016-2018, a Visiting Fellow in Practice at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford in 2015-17 and a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford in 2017-18. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read PPE.

Giovanna Pancheri, is a reporter for Sky TG24 since 2005, Giovanna Pancheri was their European correspondent in Brussels from 2009 to 2016.From 2016 to 2020 she was correspondent for Sky TG24 for North America, based in New York, and returning to Italy in January 2021. Her books include Il buio su Parigi. Oltre la cronaca nei giorni del terrore [Darkness over Paris. Going deeper than the news in days of terror] (Rubbettino 2017), Rinascita americana. La nazione di Donald Trump e la sfida di Joe Biden [American Rebirth: Donald Trump’s Nation and Joe Biden’s Defiance] (Sem 2021) and L’impero americano. Storia della politica estera USA da Panama all’Ucraina [The American Empire. History of US foreign policy from Panama to Ukraine] (Solferino, 2023).

Lord Chris Patten, is the Chancellor of the University of Oxford since 2003. He began his political career in the House of Commons in 1979. He served in Mrs Thatchers’s third government as Secretary of State for the Environment in 1989. On John Major’s succession as Prime Minister in 1990, Chris Patten became Chairman of the Conservative Party and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. From 1992 until 1997 he was the 28th (and last) British Governor of Hong Kong, handing over the Territory’s sovereignty to the PRC at the end of his term. In 1997, Tony Blair’s government nominated him as the European Union’s Commissioner for External Relations in the Prodi and Barroso Commissions. He was also Chairman of the BBC Trust from 2011 to 2014.

Beppe Severgnini, is a columnist and an editor at Corriere della Sera, which he joined in 1995 and for which he was posted in London, Moscow and Washington. He was the editor-in-chief of its weekly magazine 7 from 2017 to 2019, and created the blog Italians in 1998. He was a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times between 2013 and 2021. His writing has appeared in the Sunday Times, the Financial Times and The Economist, where he was the Italy correspondent from 1996 to 2003. He is the author of twenty books, including Italian and UK longseller Inglesi; US national bestseller Ciao, America!; New York Times bestseller La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind. His travel book Off the Rail – A Train Trip Through Life was published in 2019 by Berkley, New York. Italians Lessons – Fifty Things We Know About Life Now has been published by Vintage, Penguin Randomhouse in 2022. He has held courses at the School of Journalism of the University of Milan, and was a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Isaiah Berlin visiting scholar at Oxford University, a visiting fellow at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice and a visiting lecturer at Politecnico in Milan.