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«Die Welt war meine Gemeinde»- Willem A. Visser ’t Hooft

A Theologian for Europe between Ecumenism and Federalism

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Edited By Filippo Maria Giordano and Stefano Dell'Acqua

Willem A. Visser ’t Hooft (1900–1985), Dutch pastor and theologian, was one of the most significant personalities in the Protestant Ecumenical movement. Deeply influenced by Karl Barth, and filled with a strong Ecumenical spirit, he was closely involved in the founding of the World Council of Churches, of which he was elected General Secretary. During the Second World War, many Protestants became convinced of the need for an international political system which, beside uniting the nations and peoples of Europe, would guarantee them fundamental freedoms and mutual respect for their historical, cultural and confessional traditions.
The directors of the WWC were strongly committed to federalism, partly because of the political traditions of the states from which their member churches originated (Switzerland; Great Britain and its Commonwealth; the United States), and partly because of their conviction that a simple confederation of states, based on the model of the League of Nations, would be completely incapable of containing national ambitions. In spring 1944, Visser ’t Hooft welcomed into his Geneva home the representatives of the European Resistance, who, under the leadership of Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi, signed the International Federalist Declaration of the Resistance Movements. These historic transnational encounters, aimed not only at coordinating military action or seeking diplomatic contacts but at exploring ways to «build» peace and re-establish the future of the Continent on new foundations, marked a profound break with the past.
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Federalism

The book series Federalism, run by the Centro Studi sul Federalismo/ Centre for Studies on Federalism (CSF) aims to disseminate knowledge in the field of studies on federalism, as well as to feed the academic and public debate and support the activity of decision-makers, confronted with demands for autonomy by local governments, along with forms of regional and world integration needed to govern global processes.

The book series is divided into two sub-series: Studies and Classics. The former contains the research outcome and the proceedings of conferences and seminars promoted by the Centre, while the latter consists in reprints of the federalist classic works and English translations of Italian federalists’ works.

The CSF is a think tank that carries out activities of interdisciplinary research, documentation, information regarding domestic and supra-national federalism, developments in the area of regional and continental integration – first and foremost the European Union – and problems related to the world order and the process of democratisation of the international system. The CSF has been founded under the auspices of the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Universities of Turin, Pavia and Milan.

Centro Studi sul Federalismovia Real Collegio, 3010024 Moncalieri (To) – ItalyTel. + 39 011.6705024Fax + 39 011.6705081E-mail: info@csfederalismo.itWebsite: www.csfederalismo.it

Series Editor: Umberto Morelli, University of Turin, Vicepresident of the CSF

Paola Bilancia, University of Milan, Board of the CSF

Michael Burgess, University of Kent, Director of the Centre for Federal Studies,...

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