It happens in every university, but perhaps at Sophia it happens more than elsewhere, given the smaller number of students which facilitates relationships amongst all: the sessions for degrees are a commitment and a cause for celebration for the entire academic community.
This year, doing the lion’s work on the occasion of the summer degree session have been those students in the Specialization in political Studies. July 3rd and 4th, after the Egyptian Ramy Boulos, who had previously received his degree in June 27 with his thesis: “Monitoring and Evaluation Systems: Rethinking, Recovering and Reconciling of Current Practices” have followed suit, Vanessa Breidy from Lebanon also concluding the biennial, with: “Pluralisme et Conflits Culturels Au Liban. Entre Communitarisme Et Consociativisme Perspectives Pour le Futur” (On Perspectives of Institutional Reform of the Mediterranean Country); Melchior Nsavyimana from Burundi, with: “Le Soudan du Sud e la Communaute est Africane” (On the Processs of Integration in South Sudan); Vilmar Dal Bò Maccari from Brazil, with: “O Conceito de social segundo o paradigma fraterno a partir do pensamento e Giuseppe Maria Zanghì” (On the Social and Fraternity, with particular reference to the thought of Philosopher Zanghì).
Vanessa after the discussion of her thesis, with prof. Baggio, Rondinara and Ferrara
In particular, the Degree Commission gave the maximum of votes to the work done by Vanessa Breidy, who already has a degree in law, accompanied in her research by Antonio Maria Baggio, as relator, and by Pasquale Ferrara, as co-relator. At the presentation of the topic, Vanessa’s parents were able to participate in live- streaming from Beirut, logically helped through translation in Arabic. We have asked her three questions.
How did you choose the topic for your thesis?
It was quite a demanding topic as many points interested me. Finally a question won out which I used to mull over in the past: what defines the identity of a people? Why do the different identities determine such serious conflicts?
These are open questions which are very current and central in the Middle–Est as well; only about three years ago people were talking about an ‘Arab spring’, whereas now one is a lot more careful in using this term, more so in seeing the return of some non-democratic military regimes. What is emerging in this confused and dramatic context, seems to me most of all to be a painful inability to comprehend cultural, ethic, religious, and political diversity, at these countries’ core.
What is the message coming from your country?
It was John Paul II to speak of Lebanon as a country with a message! But up until now, as we are realizing, the Lebanese have not been able to bring about a harmonious coexistence for its ethnicity, and for the religious expressions of our diverse peoples. The search continues amongst challenges and disappointments.
Lebanon’s democracy has some interesting particulars, which I was able to bring out in my research, but the analysis allows me to identify above all what is missing: the question of values on which to build our model of living together, far from operations of political marketing that look only towards the West.
Were you able to reach some conclusions in your research?
The high view of politics I deepened at the IUS offered me much. I understood that a very inescapable step needs to be taken, and that is up to us young people for the most part to choose dialogue, focusing on that space of truth that opens up when we realize that nothing is gained by isolating oneself. Each one, in his deep identity, is made up of the Other, by the other identities.
In this perspective, I put the emphasis on the question of ‘good’ rather than on ‘justice, a question that seems to come forth with force in the entire Middle-Eastern region: why not follow such a path after having asked oneself ‘what is just’ for such a long time, has shown itself to be sterile?
I am convinced that on this road, the Lebanese people will find again the meaning and the fecundity of their own “message”: the coexistence of diverse cultures and religions, but most of all, the encounter and dialogue between them, for a re-flowering that can be at the service of all, not just for the Middle-East.