Maurizio Viroli

Professor of Politics (Emeritus) Princeton University
Professor of Government University of Texas, Austin
Professor of Political Communication at USI, Lugano

Speaker/ monday May 28


To work for a rebirth of civic consciousness is the most pressing political and intellectual task of our times, if we want to live in decent polities. To have some hopes to accomplish this very difficult mission, we must be aware that civic consciousness needs the constant help of reason, understood as critical ability to examine and evaluate ideas and persons and to interpret times and circumstances. However, civic conscience is not only the result of rational deliberations but takes strength from passions: love of liberty, love of country, indignation against injustices, love of beauty and harmony, gratitude for the persons that have suffered and work for our liberty, disgust for vulgarity and servility. This means that serious projects of civic education must find effective ways of shaping passions with words, stories, images as well as find new ways to invite citizens to appreciate the beauty of moral depth, to learn how to interrogate their conscience and to take seriously its responses. Morally empty persons cannot be free citizens, but only banal servants of powerful men.

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Viroli, M. (2016). Il sorriso di Niccolò: storia di Machiavelli. Gius. Laterza & Figli Spa.

Viroli, M. (2013). La redenzione dell’Italia: saggio sul” Principe” di Machiavelli. Gius. Laterza & Figli Spa.

Viroli, M. (2012). La libertà dei servi. Gius. Laterza & Figli Spa.

Viroli, M. (1999). Repubblicanesimo. Laterza.

Viroli, M. (1995). Per amore della patria: patriottismo e nazionalismo nella storia. Laterza.

Bobbio, N., & Viroli, M. (2001). Dialogo intorno alla repubblica (Vol. 284). Laterza.



Maurizio Viroli is a Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, Professor of Political Communication at the Università della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano), Professor of Government at the University of Texas (Austin) and Professor of Public Service Ethics at the Scuola Superiore di Polizia (Rome). In Italy he was a consultant for the President of the Republic during Carlo Azeglio Ciampi’s seven-year tenure (1999-2006) and the President of the House of Representatives during the presidency of Luciano Violante (1996-2001). He served as the Coordinator for the Committee to promote the culture of the Republic for the Ministry of the Interior, and as a Counselor for ANCI. In May 2001 he was named Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. He graduated in philosophy at the Università degli Studi di Bologna and earned his PhD. in political and social sciences at the Istituto Universitario Europeo in Florence. He has taught and conducted research studies at the universities of Cambridge (Clare Hall), Georgetown (Washington, D.C.), United Arab Emirates, Trento, Campobasso, Ferrara and Urbino, Peking University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Istituto Universitario Europeo (Jean Monnet Fellow), Collegio di Milan, Scuola Superiore di Amministrazione dell’Interno. He promoted and directed the Master in Civic Education at Asti and many Civic Education projects in Italian schools. His fields of research include political theory and the history of political doctrines, classic republicanism and neo-republicanism with particular reference to the work of Niccolò Macchiavelli and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, republican iconography, the relationship between religion and politics, patriotism, constitutionalism, classical rhetoric, political communication, citizenship and civic education. He has written twenty-two monographs many of which have been translated into foreign languages.

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