Mara Dissegna

Mara Dissegna

XXXVIII cycle

Curriculum: Judaism

Tutor: Philippe Chenaux (Pontificia Università Lateranense)

This project aims to analyze the humanitarian action of the International Red Cross Movement and the Vatican in the face of the issue of the birth of the State of Israel and the consequent Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its first phase. The chronological choice (1948-1955) is linked to the activity of the president of the ICRC, Paul Ruegger (jurist, president of the ICRC, Swiss ambassador), who worked particularly in this territory during his tenure at the ICRC. The focus will be particularly on the action of Paul Ruegger as his story as President of the ICRC is still largely to be written and his papers, related to this period, still represent an unprecedented source for historians. In this regard, we would like to close the period of his doctorate with a sort of biography of Ruegger that had as its object the period in question.

As a counterweight to the story, for the Vatican side, there is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Eugène Tisserant, a fine intellectual and multifaceted and great connoisseur of the Middle East, and the action of the Custody of the Holy Land (Custos Alberto Gori then Patriarch of Jerusalem, Custodian Giacinto Maria Faccio). Alongside these two protagonists of the Vatican world, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem must also be considered. 

The action of these two actors, the ICRC on the one hand and the Holy See on the other, in a particular context, aims to represent a very particular case study with regard to humanitarian activity. A case study that presents a crucial moment at a global level, the navel of the world of international relations of the world, that deeply touched contemporaries and that still today are the subject of conflict.