Incroci di Civiltà began in March 2008, sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the U.N. It followed in the wake of an important international academic conference organized by Ca’ Foscari University and the University of Padua. The city of Venice accepted the proposal to provide a wider stage for Italian and foreign authors who would come together in Venice to discuss literature and human rights.
The success of the first experimental edition convinced the municipality and the University to promote the event and, a year later, to set up four intense days of literary discussion.
It is important for us to remember that the festival’s name, Incroci di civiltà (Crossroads of civilizations), was conceived as an implicit response to a heated debate around the so-called “Clash of civilizations.” Today, as in the past, a constructive reflection on cultural differences and on the definition of a universal concept of humanity remains an ongoing and important challenge for our time. Venice offers the ideal scenario for this proposal because of its millennial history as a crossroads of cultures and languages and because of the complex challenges it has to face today.
Over the years, thanks to its special thematic structure, Incroci di civiltà, has become a well-recognized and engaging cultural project. Its influence reaches far beyond the festival itself, which still remains its focal point.
The festival began as an academic project of the former Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures and developed within the two language Departments that were created when the Faculty was closed. It is these departments that have proposed the many major writers who have attended the conference, 222 in all, from every part of the world. Over the course of these ten years they have made Incroci di civiltà truly unique among literary festivals, thanks to its international perspective and the spirit of its dialogues. We are proud to have brought together, year after year, so many voices within Ca’ Foscari itself and in many other venues throughout the city thanks to the contribution of many important cultural, social and commercial institutions guided by some enlightened minds.