What is the Jacques Maritain Institute?
The Institute is made up of a General Secretariat with its headquarters in Rome and another two centres in Italy (the Centre of Studies and Research in Treviso, where the “Library of the Person” is located, and the Section of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Trieste, specialised in the study of Central and Eastern Europe).
The Institute is a non-profit making cultural association and is a recognised legal entity. As an intellectual, international and interdisciplinary laboratory, it promotes research into, and the study of, the subjects of man, culture, and contemporary society. The Institute was created in 1974 as a result of the initiatives of an international group of intellectuals and representatives of the cultural, artistic, academic, ecclesiastical and political world, who drew inspirtion from the thought of the French philosopher and were convinced of the importance of the personalist approach in response to the challenges of the contemporary world.
The Institute is guided in its activities by a General Secretariat in Rome and works through two other centres in Italy (the Research and Study Centre in Treviso, where the “Library of the Person” is to be found, and the Section of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Trieste, which specialises in questions and issues relating to Central and Eastern Europe). In addition, the Institute affiliates a network of nineteen national sections and collaborating associations in the five continents of the globe. In the world as a whole, it brings together over three hundred personalities from Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
The Institute has “operative relations” status with UNESCO and a “liaison status” with the FAO. It also works with: NGOs, governments, and agencies of the UN. In 1999, the UNESCO professorial chair in “PEACE, CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL POLICIES” was established at the Institute.
Who was Jacques Maritain?
Jacques Maritain was one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. He was a man of deep religious, philosophical and civic passion and was an active and participating witness of the events of our time. He was one of the fathers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and one of the defenders of the democratic ideal challenged by the totalitarian ideologies of the last century. His reflections on democracy, art and science provide solid and effective instruments for the interpretation of a changing world. Jacques Maritain re-proposed the universal riches of millennia-old Christian reflection and addressed some of the subjects most dear to men of all times: from suffering to political and social action; from freedom to beauty; and from adherence to faith to the autonomy of reason. His was a message of freedom and the independence of intelligence, of a critical watching over the times, and of a commitment to a future of dialogue and co-operation between men and cultures. He was a philosopher of a “new worldliness”; and his integral humanism designed a soul for our global village.
What are the Activities of the Institute?
The Institute works in the field s of:
Research and diffusion.
The plan of activity for the next four-year period is: “HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, DEMOCRACY AND PEACE IN THE GLOBAL SYSTEM”.
THE AREA OF RESEARCH AND DIFFUSION
The activity of the Institute centres around the following subjects:
Maritain and personalism.
Intercultural dialogue and peace.
Human rights, and amongst these the right to food.
The relationship between human development and democracy.
The processes of the integration and enlargement of the European Union.
The prospects for development in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
THE AREA OF FORMATION AND CONSULTANCY
The Institute engages in initiatives in the following fields:
The planning and organisation of courses of advanced formation in the areas of cultural policies and the culture of peace and development;
The provision of training and consultancy to public and private bodies on the planning of cultural policies, on the management of culture, and on the understanding of multicultural society.
So far, over 160 volumes have been published by the Institute and by its National Sections and Collaborating Associations. They include editions in Italian, French, English, Spanish, Polish, Croat, and Russian. The major subjects to which these volumes are addressed may be listed as follows:
Maritain: his thought, his work, and his context.
The person, personalisms and society.
The processes of globalisation.
Development, human rights and the culture of peace.
Democracy: its problems and dimensions.
Ethics, the economy and the welfare state.
The social teaching of the Church.
Culture, art and poetry.
The International Institute publishes:
Notes et Documents, a four-monthly specialist review in English and French (Rome).
Notas y Documentos, a quarterly review in Spanish for Latin America (Caracas).
The following periodicals are published by the Institute’s National Sections and Collaborating Associations:
The American Maritain Association Newsletter (a twice-yearly bulletin).
Études maritainiennes/Maritain Studies (the journal of the Canadian Jacques Maritain Association).
Bulletin-Canadian Jacques Maritain Association (the bulletin of the Canadian Association).