The Institute is named after Gino Germani, one of Italy’s greatest sociologists and political thinkers of the 20th century. It was created in 1981 by a group of scholars from Italy and other EU countries, the United States and Latin America (it was initially named “the Gino Germani Center for Comparative Studies of Modernization and Development”). Since it was founded the Institute has conducted extensive research on problems of modernization, socio-economic development and the dynamics of authoritarianism and democratic transitions in contemporary societies. Throughout the 1980s and beyond the Institute also developed research programs focused on Latin America, Southern Europe and the Balkans, the Middle East and Soviet (and subsequently Post-Soviet) Eurasia.
Beginning in the early 1990s the Institute widened its range of research interests to the strategic challenges of globalization and the new threats to national and global security in the post-Cold War era, such as transnational organized crime, terrorism, political extremism, failed states, violent ethnic and religious conflict, illegal immigration, religious fundamentalist movements. A series of major conferences and publications on these topics were launched in the mid-1990s jointly with LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome. In the same period, the Institute initiated a research program on the role of intelligence in the defense of democratic societies.
In 2000 the Institute began a partnership with Link Campus University aimed at contributing to the development of strategic studies and intelligence studies in Italy, as well as to make the Institute’s library collections more widely available to scholars and researchers. In subsequent years the Institute and Link University have jointly organized numerous conferences and seminars on geopolitics, conflict resolution, national security issues, intelligence, and the strategic implications of cyberspace.
The Institute’s programs and activities will continue to emphasize the building of bridges between the social sciences and strategic studies, and the identification of new topics for interdisciplinary research on the challenges of modernization, globalization, conflict and global strategic issues in the 21st century.