Professor Michael Driessen and JCU Students Interviewed on Italian Television

On March 14, International Affairs Professor Michael Driessen and a group of John Cabot University students had the opportunity to participate in a segment of the RAI3 Italian TV show Quante storie with host Giorgio Zanchini. The show, which focuses on culture and politics, invited Professor Driessen (who regularly comments on Zanchini’s Radio Anch’io morning program) to provide insights on U.S. politics in the Middle East from an Italian perspective.

The segment also featured students, who were asked to share their perspectives on the same topic, in the context of Professor Driessen’s class on the Politics of the Middle East.

Professor Michael Driessen (right) and JCU Students

“Studying the politics of the Middle East has become very important today, especially in the United States,” said Professor Driessen. “We are witnessing the polarization between political parties (Democrats and Republicans), but also within the Democratic Party itself. In the Democratic party, there are those who still have a high level of confidence in the story of the United States; but there’s a different vision that views the story of the United States as primarily linked to a history of slavery, colonialism, and violence against Indigenous peoples and the world outside of the U.S. The war in the Middle East exacerbates this polarization, leading to an explosive debate on the subject. This can be seen in American universities, as well,” concluded Professor Driessen.

Some students highlighted the international dimension of education and political discourse at JCU and its benefits. “To study the Middle East from an American perspective in a multicultural environment like JCU provides a unique, multifaceted perspective on the issue and helps us to understand strengths and weaknesses of U.S. foreign politics in the region,” said one student.

Others identified the complexity of the political scenario and the need for scrupulous investigation of political phenomena. “We cannot approach the foreign policy of the U.S. in this region from a simple black and white perspective. It is important to tackle problems critically and without prejudice for the future,” said another student.

The segment, which was pre-taped earlier in the week, aired at 12:45 pm on March 14 and is now available on the RAI3 website.

Michael D. Driessen is the inaugural Director of the MA program in International Affairs at John Cabot University and Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs. He received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and has been a post-doctoral fellow at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar, as well as a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. He also holds a research affiliation with Cambridge University’s von Hügel Institute. Professor Driessen’s books include The Global Politics of Interreligious Dialogue (Oxford University Press, 2023) and Religion and Democratization (Oxford University Press, 2014). He has published scholarly articles in Comparative Politics, Sociology of Religion, Politics and Religion, Constellations and Democratization and essays in America Magazine and Commonweal.

Watch Quante storie (from minute 13:45, in Italian).