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Teenagers celebrating their 18th birthday in Italy will have an extra birthday present – 500 euros from the Italian government.

The new rule, which applies to Italian citizens, allows 18 year olds to spend the money on theatres, concerts and museums. While a kind gesture to its citizens, the government’s decision is based on measures to prevent radicalism. The initiative, which goes into effect in mid-September, is thought to cost the country 290 million euros, and is intended to act as a ‘cultural bonus’ to prevent young people becoming radicalised.

The connection is outlined by the Italian Prime Minister; “they imagine terror, we answer with culture. They destroy statues, we love art.” The Prime Minister argues that by welcoming teenagers into adulthood, it sends a clear message to young people that they do not need to turn to radicalism as they already have a community that is invested in them and their development.

History and HSPS applicants should investigate how radicalism is tied to a lack of community and sense of belonging, and how Italy’s initiative could prevent this.

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