Italian Vice Minister Lecture on Public Cooperation

– Excellencies, colleagues, friends, students, good afternoon. Thank you for attending today’s event. I am honored to introduce today’s guest, Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, her excellency Emanuela C. Del Re. Her excellency is a
politician and diplomat in academia because she comes directly from being a professor and
teacher in our areas of interest here at Georgetown University in Qatar. A sociologist by training, she is an expert in
conflict studies, migration, refugee issues, minorities
and religious phenomenon. Prior to her appointment to
her current role last year, she was a tenured
researcher obtaining a title of associate professor of sociology by the Italian Ministry
of Education and Research and serving as Jean Monnet professor and course coordinator
on European cultures, citizenships and governance in the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the University La Sapienza of Rome, where she had taught for many years. At GUQ, we are calling this
year the year of research and part because we
just recently celebrated the 100th book published by GUQ
affiliated faculty and staff since the campus opened in 2005. So it is with a great
interest that we know that Ms. Del Re’s research pedigree is quite relevant to what we do. She has carried out
longitudinal field research in conflict areas and areas
in transition since 1990 following the social political
economic transformation of countries and regions such as the Balkans, the Caucasus, North
Africa and the Middle East. She has had research positions at the European University
Institute, the University of Rome and is a member of the
scientific committee and editing board and regular contributor to various leading scientific magazines. And she directs the book series ‘Globolitical.’ She was elected national coordinator of the sociology of religion section of the Italian Sociological
Association in 2017. A prolific author, her
work has been published in many peer reviewed publications and furthering the
dissemination of her research, she has directed a number of documentaries and is a contributing member
of various think tanks, institutes and organizations. Her latest book, published by
I.B. Tauris in 2018 is titled ‘Women and Borders. Refugees,
Migrants and Communities.’ Reflecting what she believes
to be the true role of and the responsibility of his color, she combines research with
intervention projects. She is active in the
secretariat of the forum for citizen transition which operates in more than 40 cities in conflict areas. And we just were sharing
about Tripoli in particular. She was the founder of EPOS
International Mediating and Negotiating Operational Agency active in conflict areas with projects for the reconstruction
of the civil society. She has created ‘My future’ project for the Syrian refugees
in Iraq and Jordan and model religion which
is the web of religions which is an initiative promoting
interreligious dialogue and citizenship awareness
on the religions. She has also been an
international electoral observer for the UN, the EU, OSCCE on more than 15 missions. – I had the opportunity to visit the ‘Education Above All’
foundation this morning. This visit to Qatar is becoming, for me, seriously a milestone in understanding many dynamics in this
region which was one part that I didn’t know before,
I’m starting to know it now and I’m really very glad
that our ambassador here invited me together with
Georgetown University to give me this fantastic opportunity. I think I’m very much
enriched by this experience and I really want to thank all those who have organized it. I’m here also to share
some views with you. Of course, otherwise I wouldn’t
have been invited somehow to speak here because I
think that the Italian model of international development cooperation of which I am the minister, and I just five you one first element on the system that we have
in Italy in particular. I am the Minister of
International Cooperation because we have a special position for Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs to be actually appointed by
the council of ministers. It’s not just an appointment that is, let’s say, simply based on recognition but it is actually also approved by the council of ministers because I manage all the money related
to international cooperation. And therefore I know the responsibility, I’m fully aware of the shoulder,
the burden on my shoulders but also I am very proud
because this gives me the fantastic opportunity
and I really want to thank those who asked me to become a candidate from being part of the civil
society and being an academic, become a member of the parliament and be appointed as Vice
Minister of Foreign Affairs with the specific capacity which I find really something that
deserves a lot attention and also makes me very proud
obviously of being the person that it constitutes the
reference point for my country and at international level
for this particular chapter. Obviously, the reason why I want to share these views with you is because for many
reasons, Italy is obviously one of the founding members
of the European Union. When I say founding members I mean people who believed strongly
in the European Union from the very beginning. Sometimes I think about
the founding fathers. And some were Italian of course who were in the middle
of the second world war and it was one of the
most destructive wars in the history of human beings of course. And you can imagine, these
people were having a dream, and they were thinking
of building something that would bring peace and as you know, our countries have been in
peace for the last 70 years now, and also bring prosperity,
thinking about the population, creating opportunities, a
sound welfare and so on. So Italy was a founding
member of the European Union is now a member of the European Union. Obviously, I would say in the range, probably I would say that we are the third in the European Union but
second for manufacturers and also we are, obviously,
an important country in bringing ideas and culture,
dynamics, opportunities and this makes us, not only proud, but also very responsible
because what we do is something that has an impact
on the rest of the world. In this sense, our concept of international development cooperation which has been going on for
the last few decades actually is not something new, has gone
through different evolutions. We started thinking that we
had to help third countries, the so called third
countries in developing their own economies, their own
societies and all the rest. But over the years, of course,
the mentality has changed. I think that the very strong impulse came with this particular
century with the development of the new global networks due also to social media,
internet connections and so on. And therefore things had
to change accordingly. You cannot be static or you cannot think that society’s something
that is stuck forever in one single condition. You need to adjust the situation to the evolving dynamics
of the global society. In this sense, Italy, as I said, always contributed very much. We have had projects
ongoing for the last decades which have been given their
fruits during the time, for instance by creating
vocational training and then seeing people
developing their own startups and own factories in the
countries that are beneficiaries. But also at the moment we are
trying to change the mentality in moving a step forward in the sense that we are very aware of the fact
that the world has changed because of the impulse I was saying and therefore the people
we award are beneficiaries are not anymore people only in need. There are large parts of
the populations in need but the most part are people
who become our partners. So this is a complete change
of mentality and philosophy thinking of third countries
before as simple beneficiaries and user of some projects that
were developed in our country and now making them instead partners, part of the process in which we define what they need in their own country and in part of the process in which we decide, for instance
how to use the funds back to the project
because they have partners in the implementation of
the projects on field. For instance when we have NGOs working on field in different areas, usually they partner with local NGOs or local personnel and in
this way, this is something that develops together. And this is what I usually define the concept of shared development, not something that is given
from the top, top down, that is actually something
that we develop together. It’s not easy to develop this idea, it’s not easy to implement this concept because there is a lot of
prejudice still in the world. I think we need to change the narrative especially regarding third countries. And this is something that
our countries are trying to do but it’s still quite complicated. For instance we still
think that our relationship with third countries is always unilateral and unidirectional as well meaning, again, donor, beneficiary. And that is the end of it. We have done our duty, we are helping the societies to develop
but we don’t understand that in fact the situation at the moment has completely changed. So we have bidirectional
and bilateral relations because the development that occurs in a third country is the development that is also occurring
in our own countries for a number of global
dynamics, not only migration because migration is, at the moment, the most discussed issue
but not only migration. I think the very important
part is the fact that we are interdependent,
we are interconnected and we cannot think that
a continent for Africa, for instance, that you always describe as the continent of the
future can be neglected or considered a minor continent simply because it is developing. The fact that it’s developing is something that is actually an added value because in this sense
we can develop together and our development will
be directly dependent on their own development as well. So we have a huge responsibility, we can share our experience,
our lessons learned, our own approaches but obviously
in partnership with them because they know what they want to do. They know what they need. Nowadays we have middle classes that are very much established, we have interlocutor
swap absolutely capable of deciding for themselves, only maybe we can provide proper tools, we have experience in certain fields and one thing I appreciated very much when I visited the Horn of Africa recently is the fact that they usually say, “We don’t want to sell ourselves away, “we don’t want to produce “low quality manufacts or other things. “We want to have quality.” And obviously, I’m Italian, I can say that what Italy can offer. We cannot just sign a check
and give, I don’t know, three billion euros because nowadays no European countries are able to do that unlike some other countries, I admit. That is true. But what we are capable
of offering, obviously is the quality and innovation. In that we are unbeatable, no doubt, especially Italy because
this is something on which we have created our own
reputation at global level and I think that this is something that we have the
responsibility and the duty to offer to the rest of the world because now that the world
is so interconnected, obviously what we can
offer must be offered because it returns to us
with a huge added value in our own development for the future, building the future together. So this is something that is reflected in the current approach to
development cooperation in Italy. We have made a reform in 2014 in which we decided, for instance, to separate international
developer cooperation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs because before it was just an office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and make it become also
an independent agency that is a sort of operational
arm of the political arm so that we distinguish
the responsibilities, and there is more action because obviously if you are one agency with
huge number of employees, experts, people working on field, obviously with the
bureaucratic body on its own. And so that means that it’s
become more functional. Obviously, it is, they voted specifically to this particular part of our policy and therefore it is more efficient. When I say policy, I say policy with a strong sense of the term because I consider, and
this is my own thinking that I’ve been repeating
this now for a year, I think that international
development corporation today is the most important operation alarm of Italian foreign policy because international
development cooperation allows us to have direct relationships
with different countries, offer our own expertise,
talking face to face, it gives us the opportunity to be on field with the other countries and
with the different populations and also it offers us the
opportunity, obviously, to sit at all the tables
decision on tables related to development which helps us to be part of all the processes related to the building our future togethers especially at global level. This is why in Italian
Development Cooperation, we put a lot of effort in
the multilateral dimension. In fact, I was saying
to somebody this morning that for instance there are UN agencies that when I go and visit
them, open their arms to me and say, we welcome you with all our heart because we are great contributors so it’s in terms of funds of course. But we select these contributions, we select the agencies because we know that what we want is the true development. So we don’t want to waste money. As is said, European
countries at the moment are not able to give huge amounts of money for international development cooperation, although as I said, Italy is one of the main contributors definitely, but what is important is
that the money that we give is really going to projects
that are ensuring a result, ensuring that we are going
in the right direction. And this is why, when we talk about international
development cooperation, today obviously Italy has
selected a few thematic issues, allocations especially for our funds which are in a sense reflecting the philosophy of the country which is very much
developed, very much devoted to the development of societies in their whole sense of entirety. And this is why also we
have an holistic approach that obviously starts from the awareness of the fact that unless
individuals are happy in their own society,
happy under many respects, and I will explain,
societies cannot be happy. And this is something that
obviously is reflected in the very strong focus that
we put on women empowerment. In this I have to say Italy is a champion and I spoke the other day at the Geneva, the headquarters of the UN in Geneva at the inauguration of the year of the council of human rights to which Italy has been elected recently with the majority of votes, I have to say, and I was actually talking about this, the fact that we are very much focused on this particular issues
and we are champions. I like this word because
it gives a sense of energy, participation and so on. And we are real champions in this field because we have been, for a
long time and even more now that we are giving a new
impulse on the frontline in the very important
battles such as for instance, I don’t know, the fight against
genital female mutilations and also for instance early marriages. These are battles in which we have obtained fantastic results and I’m very proud to share
this with you of course. So this is one of the elements on which we are focusing very much. Of course there are global trends that are somehow to be taken into consideration. And this is why when I
talk about responsibility, our responsibility in
implementing this kind of approach in looking at things as something
that belongs to all of us not just to the countries, were still considered as beneficiaries. I think it’s very important
to take into consideration the fact that there are
trends at global level that are going in another
direction saying that, for instance, development
cooperation is useless, that it should only be
something related to charity from different religions
because every religion has got its charitable,
obviously part of the faith or considered something
that belongs to philanthropy and this is why some big
countries are cutting their funds for international development cooperation. I’m proud to share with you the fact that Italy is going in
a different direction. We have gone in a different direction, we want to respect Agenda 2030. Agenda 2030 imposes that by 2030 we will have 0.7% of our gross national product devoted to what is called the public aid. We are going in that direction
with some difficulties because obviously big country like Italy has a lot of expenses, not always. The different political parties
agree on the predominance of the international
development cooperation in our general policy but
we are still keeping steady on the track and we want
to reach the goal by 2030. Obviously, as you know, these goals are not easy to be achieved
for a number of reasons because again, despite all our efforts, there are many other elements
that intervene, for instance, different governments, conflicts that erupting suddenly out of the blue. And this is why we are focusing on specific upgrades for instance. We have a very strong focus that ensures that there is a continuity in our approach that we actually see the
results blossoming on the way with the sense of continuity
making the countries that are a priority focus
grow together with us. We have, for instance,
11 countries in Africa. And as I mentioned to you, Africa is a specific focus for all of us. Not only for the migration
issues, I said that before because the migration
issues are important. In my view, as I always say, everywhere, migration is a natural
aspiration of human beings. I strongly feel that it
is a natural aspiration. And actually our duty is to protect it to make sure that people
don’t lose their lives when they are trying to
reach another country. And probably, and this
philosophy goes also to affect that we have to help the
people who want to migrate because they have no other option to find an option where they live which is the aspiration of all of us. Italy was a country of
migrants in the past so we know what we are talking
about like many others. But at the same time, obviously
this must be approached with different strategies. One of the strategies, international
development cooperation and this is why 30% of funds for international development
cooperation has gone to Africa in particular because Africa is at the moment, the continent
which is suffering the most, from deprivation and marginalization,
lack of opportunities, environment crisis and all the rest. We have also, in this sense
given a lot of importance to an approach which is not only holistic when we go on field but is also holistic when we think about the
people who are contributing and collaborating with us. So we have a multistakeholder
systemic approach, an integrated system that
tries to put together all parts of society. For instance, at the moment,
there are other countries, big countries where they, as I mentioned, tried to pass the message
that is much better to relegate the system of international development cooperation to specific parts of society. We believe that we have to
work all together for this. So we have passed laws, even recently to facilitate even more
the participation of bodies, institutional
bodies for loans and credits so they’ve become part
of the economic cycle. This is something not very
easy in the sense that for instance we have
institutions that date back from the 1800s to the 1900 and so on. But to put them in the new system of international development cooperation require the proper law. Now we have done it because
we want to make sure that when we intervene, for instance, certain countries can recur
to these particular bodies to get credits or loans. On the other hand we also
have the private sector which is very very important. The private sector must be included provided that they respect many important criteria
like transparency, let’s say a virtual cycle of interventions
but they want to be part and they must be part of the system because we need their
help, their expertise, their capabilities, their funds as well which is not to be underestimated. Last thing is definitely the participation of the different
communities in our country which are also reflecting
communities in other countries. And that is diasporas. Diasporas for us are fundamental partners. We have a summit of diasporas
which has become part of our National Council of
International Cooperation because the communities in the diasporas, I always say to them
when I speak publicly. I say, diaspora is home because for a person having migrated, being able to create a
home in a foreign country, I think must be recognized as something incredibly
valuable and disability which is not something
that all of us can have, I think must be recognized as
a very important added value to our own culture but also as a bridge with the countries of origin. I think that this is very very important. I could go on for many minutes, of course talking about
the very many projects that we have on field. I can tell you that,
for instance, regarding the diasporas, we have a lot of projects in promoting micro credit for instance, or the establishment of micros,
small and medium enterprises on which Italy is very
world recognized worldly because we have a system of
small and medium enterprises which are very very important
and also very well established but I could also talk
about many other things regarding the economic
aspect, for instance, in Senegal we have a concessional
loan of 30 million euro with coaching and vocational training but I can talk for
hours because the volume of projects is immense and who is implementing these projects? The NGOs. NGOs are the other partner of international development cooperation which is incredibly valuable. I’m proud to say that in Italy we have a huge amount of people
involved in voluntary work, six million people
involved in voluntary work, four million of which are
actually doing voluntary work within the specific
organizations and this is just to give you a sense of work in the country but we have a tradition
of doing voluntary work, but the interesting thing is that the mentality is
not charity which is, as I said, to be respected completely for it’s a fantastic value
especially at religious level but is doing it in the
sense of contributing to the new development of the
world in the global system. So I think that in this sense, NGOs, which are also reflecting
this very strong attitude of the Italians to participate
in the destinies of the world is a valuable capital,
very important capital. Without the NGOs obviously
we wouldn’t be able to implement the system. There is a roaster of
NGOs which are certified and that participate in public
calls of course in Italy and are those who are allocated the funds in order to work on field. We all share together the concepts behind the projects that they are promoted and usually we have a monthly meeting in which we decide where
the money goes obviously at multilateral level, bilateral level, to the NGOs through the private sector, the diaspora’s contributing
and all the rest and I think that this
sort of choral attitude and holistic approach is
becoming a winning strategy and we are ready also to
share it with other countries. We are already thinking
about contributing also to some of the projects in
Qatar and expanding also the system in creating
triangular cooperation with other countries that are willing to create the same sort of systems. And I think that in this way, we are not going to solve
all the problems of the world but at least we are trying. And this, as somebody
was saying the other day, celebrating the death of a dear friend is not really important whether you actually realize the dream, the most important
thing is having a dream. Thank you. – If I may use the priority
of coordinating this event and ask the first question. The world in which we live
is increasing more polarized, under the pressures of
all sorts of crisis. And this is happening
at the national level, the regional levels and globally. I know that you have your share of polarization within your country. Could you share with us ways in which you navigate
this situation politically because I’m sure there
are forces that would like to look inward and not engage
in the kind of partnerships that you’re talking about
and what is your advice for us because we also have our share tensions that push in
very different directions. – You mean from the Italian point of view? – Yes. – From the Italian point
of view, we are trying, we are a country that has promoted peace for the last 70 years and we want to achieve peace in the world. Let’s say we have never had patronizing or imposing attitude. This is recognized, I think, globally because our attitude
is always to be friends and always to promote a strategy that is based on negotiation
dialogue especially. And this is probably due to a tradition derived from our own participation in the global dynamics
since many centuries, being a country of different populations, of welcoming pilgrims
from all over the world. This has helped to develop
this kind of attitude. At the moment, in Europe in particular, there are different trends especially based on the fact that we have to preserve what somebody calls the
‘Fortress of Europe’, that we have to resist
invasions from outside. This is the reality, this
is the kind of discourse and political discourse
that is actually going on in Europe at the moment
and it is dangerous because, as I mentioned,
Europe is a beautiful place where there are many
different ethnic groups, many different religions,
many different ideas, many different interpretations
of personal choices which is another very important element and thank God we have
legislations that allow the respect of personal freedom. Italy is nowadays facing
a difficult moment because we have a big discussion which reflects the
discussion at European level regarding how to manage
migrations for instance and this influences very
much also our perception of other countries in the world. We are obviously confronted
with recent crisis like Libya, we are confronting with other
elements like, I don’t know, Sudan the other day unfortunately or other changes in history. What is very important is
that we try to keep the track in remaining a moral, let’s say reference, sticking to our constitution, and sticking to our
legislation that is absolutely doesn’t allow any kind
of misinterpretation of personal freedom and
respect for the others. It is a challenge and this
influences very strongly our view of other countries as well but what I always say
and I told you earlier on when we were having a small snack, the most important thing is legislations. As long as the legislation is there and it’s defending human rights and position of human beings and personal choices, we are safe. So it’s a battle to defend
achievements during history. – Good afternoon. We are happy that you
are here with us today and we take this opportunity
of your presence, of your experience and your know-how to ask something important which is giving a threatening to Italy nowadays. The conference in Libya with
the threatening of Sarraj was sending 800000 immigrant
to Italy and to Europe. How are you planning,
from your point of view, to cope with this situation? Thank you. – If there is a situation of conflict and people are running from a conflict obviously they become refugees. So this changes that mentality completely. Regarding the management of the crisis, we are thinking of what
to do in this very moment, and there are decisions taken but we have, as Italians,
funded for the last few years the UNHCR and the IOM to
face the migrant crisis especially in the camps, the camps that were somehow impossible to visit and to offer some kind of aid. But at the moment we’re also thinking about humanitarian corridors which are, I didn’t mention it before
but this is something that is particularly dear
to me, it’s an Italian model that has been established
in the last few years and has become a very established model by which people migrate in a safe way, not only migrating and finding a shelter but also finding in the country of welcoming a project for the future. This has been possible
in the last few years for about 5000 people. We want to expand this and
because the model is already being replicated by the
Germans and by the French, we want to make sure that this will become a European project and also applicable in cases of crisis like Libya. Of course in that case we should ensure that the people migrate
if they are refugees. They’re running away from
conflict in a safe way. – [Moore] Hi, my name is Marakith Moore. I’m a Sophomore here at Georgetown and I’m majoring in
international politics. I was just very interested
in what you had said about the internal projects
that you were working on in Italy in regards to the migrants in the diaspora that lived there and I just wanted to
know a little bit more about how exactly Italy is
approaching facilitating the integration of these
diasporas and these migrants and especially in terms
of refugees as well. I’d be very interested in
knowing more about this. – Italy has been working
on this for the last let’s say 50 years almost
because the big waves of migration to Italy started in the ’70s. So we started from there. We have a very established
Tunisian communities, and Moroccan communities for instance. And nowadays the biggest
communities are Albanian for instance and Romanian from Nigeria. We have a large number
of different communities. Our system of integration is very good because children can go to school for free and everybody has access to public health for free, even irregulars. Even irregulars can go to school, state schools of course for free. And we have a huge system
of integration that works. For instance the Albanians who arrived in terrible conditions fleeing from very fierce dictatorship 25 years ago and especially in 1991, 1992, they are now so established that we have for instance 35000 enterprises
by Albanians in Italy. They are the most married
community by Italians because we have lots of mixed marriages, not to mention many other of course that are very established. So we have schemes for integration. It’s a different thing
if you are referring to our centers for identification for immigrants and so on that we have the centers,
obviously they’re not in prison so they can stay or leave if they want. Most of the people who
come through that system don’t want to stay in
Italy but they prefer to migrate to Northern Europe
which has been a problem, if you have studied these
things I can tell you more. You can write to me
and I can send you also some essays and things but obviously that is a problem because as you know we have a system by which if you land in a specific country,
you have to stay there which has created a lot of problems and is one of probably of the most important political debates at European level the moment. In terms of integration in Italy, I would like to say that
people are integrated. As I mentioned, the level of, let’s say also acceptance is very high. In the very last year, I think we have had the trio for episodes
which were not acceptable that could be defined as racist episodes which are a shame for the
whole of the country of course but with the claimant
that has been created at European level, I’m keeping
on in my own territory, regarding migration, I am afraid that this could escalate
if we don’t keep steadily in reminding people that we
are democratic countries, we have the opportunity
to obviously welcome any kind of foreigner and we have to provide safety too. The debate at political level anyway is very heated at the moment regarding this preposterous specification. But as regards integration,
I invite you to Italy and see for yourself because it is a very nice motto definitely. Also because it differs
from the assimilation model of the French for instance. We don’t impose people
to assimilate completely to our our own system. Obviously, if you are in Italy you have to respect the Italian laws
but it’s different also because we had the opportunity to approach our model of integration after learning from the
experience of the French and the Germans and
the Brits for instance. And so we had the opportunity
to develop our own model which is I find a very good compromise between the different approaches. And this is why people are
quite serene I would say. – [Woman] In my question
you mentioned earlier that there are different trends in Europe in regards to migration but
I guess also different trends in regards to development. In your position, how do you deal with development models
that kind of oppose yours. So for example, recently we’ve been seeing the French have been having
kind of issues with the EU in regarding to condemning
the attack on Tripoli even though it’s the UN
sanctioned government. So I have a question,
how do you kind of see the Libyan question moving forward and what do you think is the
role of Italy moving forward especially when other European powers are involved in a very opposing manner? – As I mentioned before,
Italy is always for dialogue. And this is our winning
strategy to be very honest. And this is why we have good
relations with everybody. Regarding Libya at the moment, we are continuing to say
that we are supporting the UN and that we want obviously
to have a ceasefire that no military solution
is acceptable whatsoever but our approach and what role we can have in this particular crisis
is the role of mediators of dialogue offering a
platform for discussion but absolutely not intervention. Other countries can do what they want but what I want to tell you is also that our embassy is the only
embassy open at the moment in the country which shows
also that we are ready to be close to the people
and to offer a service to everybody because this
is what is absolutely needed but Italy is always for
dialogue and support the UN. – [Tohil] Thank you very much for coming. My name is Tohil Bekri and I’m from the international programs of education. The Italian NGOs and the
Italian international programs have always been carried,
from my experience, in different places of the world at the forefront of crisis zones or conflict zones with a lot of integrity and a lot of compassion and empathy towards local communities. And there seems to be a
lot of work from their side on advocacy and influencing
European policies. So how was supported by
the Italian government in terms of the international cooperation or how has it been reconciled
given these dynamics? The other question that I
have, if you don’t mind, you’ve mentioned the component
about heavy investment from the Italian government
in vocational training during the journey of
the involvement of aid, of international aid. If you can highlight some
of the lessons learnt from that journey, that
would be really helpful. Thank you. – Regarding NGOs, NGOs are, as I said, a very important component. As you mentioned, they’ve
always been on the frontline, I have worked with NGOs as well on field in different countries
and if you are referring to the ability of NGOs
to influence the policies and government, it’s obvious because they have a perspective from the field that others don’t have. So when you take, let’s say, an NGO and the NGO refers to you what kind of perception
they have on field, it’s a unique perception
that is obviously going to influence the decisions of the person in the government or
decision making in general. So we respect the NGOs very much. There has been a discussion
in Europe recently regarding the NGOs who
are running these programs in the Mediterranean sea. This is true. We have to be open also
because we are scholars and you have a certain degree of awareness regarding this field. But this has nothing to do
with the huge importance that we give to NGOs in our
own development programs so much that as I mentioned before we have not only a
roaster of specific NGOs that are entitled to funds
above to million for instance but we have a huge amount of
NGOs that get smaller funds, participate in let’s say programs with other NGOs in the world
so they are part of consortia. So there is a huge system of NGOs taking, they rule in the general system
of development cooperation. The discussion about some NGOs that are taking their own initiatives and working in the Mediterranean with the idea of saving lives but are not seen by some governments
as legitimate actors, that’s another story that
goes in another direction and is very much related
to that specific issue not to the general issue of NGOs. I myself have meetings
with NGOs all the time, we have sometimes sectorial meetings like for instance all
the NGOs working in Syria or all the NGOs working in Libya or all the NGOs working in Iraq or sometimes they are transversal, all the NGOs working on
empowerment of women, all the NGOs working in
agribusiness or something. So it’s a dialogue that
is constant almost daily and this is, I think, incredibly fruitful and incredibly important. Regarding some lessons
learned, we have learned what I have mentioned before, the fact that things have changed and what before was perceived
as a sort of donation meaning that it would come
with a complete packet of ideas that were proposed to the host country or the beneficiary
country with the sense of in a know-how that was
only possible to transfer from our country to their country, nowadays the lessons learned is that the countries with which we work within the international
development cooperation are partners and this is a
huge huge change of mentality. In some countries, I have
to say some countries, even in Europe are not there yet. So I’m proud to say that
Italy is there already and we are very much
aware of the fact that we have partners, we don’t have people who are receiving something from us and obviously have, let’s say
to adjust to our own programs, to our own model, we are
developing the model together. So this is what we have learned certainly from years of experience on field. – [Mongoljhan] My name
is Mongoljhan Botsan, I’m an economist. So a little bit of an academic question. You coming from an academic background, was there any change
within your institution in terms of implementing
evidence-based policies because evidence-based policies implement what we learn in academia
and then make sure that the policies are
actually implemented, money is spent toward the
most effective policies. So the reason that I’m
asking is you mentioned about two different policies. One is the training in
Africa and then the other one in general empowering microfinance. So if you look at the academic evidence, I feel the training is
completely in effect of our small businesses no
matter where you look at it especially for women and in the long-run there’s a zero effect. If you look at the impact of microfinance on empowering women, there’s
literally like up until, there’s a very recent use of
papers is probably recently in top economics journal that in the case that literally zero
impact from microfinance to empowering women, measured
all sorts of different ways but still international organizations keep pushing microfinance and keep pushing these training programs that are not very effective. I’m just wondering whether there
was some sort of discussion in terms of looking at these evidences, incorporating to your
policy making process and is there any cooperation between academia and policy making? – First of all I’m an academic
and I’m doing politics so the equation is… Apart from anything, I don’t know. You read only very pessimistic literature. We have to help this gentleman. Who volunteers to have
a different approach? Now, I don’t have this
pessimistic approach at all. This is part, be careful,
this is the academic speaking. This is a part of a
strategy of demolishing. There’s models that we have developed, now I’m presenting the Italian model. Obviously I respect other models, for instance this Qatar initiative for Education Above All and
so on is incredibly valuable and interesting also
for its impact and so on as far as the numbers say as well. I’ve been well trained
this morning on this but I just tell you, be careful because the reason that theology nowadays is trying to convince us that
whatever we do is useless because the governments of
these countries are corrupted, the populations are unable
to, let’s say upgrade their social status and all the rest. This is absolute rubbish,
forgive me for saying this but this is very ideological. So be careful. If you are a scholar you have to balance. Understand and know what is said by very strongly ideologized scholars because there are many and also find your own way of experimenting things. There are many different sources. Also when you analyze the sources, be very careful where
the source comes from, whether the data are reliable, whether there is a sound research behind what you’re
reading because sometimes they are just perceptions
and these perceptions are strictly related to
an image of the world that some people want to give to us and we have to be at least, let’s say, able to put in place
our critical thinking. So I suggest that you don’t
only read that literature but be helped by others to find
counterbalancing literature also because as far as
microcredit is concerned, it has not worked
everywhere but for a fact it has worked in many countries. Not only it has given the
opportunity especially when there is a coaching system as well. It has given the opportunity to develop for instance opportunities to individuals to develop their own sustainability which is something that
we should keep in mind because when the Agenda 2030
says leave no one behind, this is exactly what it means, making sure that you reach
every single individual and give them opportunity. I was talking to this
gentleman this morning from Education Above All, I’m
sorry I don’t remember, yes, and we were discussing all
source more funds for instance and the fact that women
in more firms need to have an opportunity to have access for instance to small amounts of money to be able to buy the necessary tools
and maybe seeds and others. These things are very relevant and they make a complete
change in societies. I remember myself in Albania, 1991. I was on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, seriously. And just to give you an example, the fact that this on a
village that was reachable only by climbing a mountain,
I’m a good climber fortunately, but that was the only way by which you could reach that place. The fact that I brought,
through the microcredit, tools to build, hatchets and others, to build their own
fences and things change the community completely. So they were able to cultivate some things and sell them in the market in the valley. And this is microcredit
from the World Bank. The World Bank changed completely. Over the years now, they are
coming back with some ideas which we will take into consideration because they want to start the system of microcredit to smartphones although it is complicated
for security reasons because smartphones can be
obviously accurate and so on but this is a very good system. So I suggest, be careful
with the literature you read. Don’t be fascinated by the pessimism because sometimes it’s fascinating but it can be also poisoning.

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