true
Printer-friendly version

The initiative

The main focus of the "National Interest" initiative is to showcase Italian identity, culture and language, as well as Italian success stories. While aware of the limitations and weaknesses that beset the country, through this initiative the Institute aims to highlight Italy’s (many) strengths, which are all-too-often the “forgotten side” of Italy, little-known abroad and at times not sufficiently appreciated at home. The initiative’s ultimate goal is to establish a virtuous cycle of reflection and action capable of involving a vast range of people from institutions, the mass media, business and the academic world - sharing their contributions with as broad an audience as possible.

This necessitates promoting shared values, and raising public awareness of the same, with a view to cultivating a stronger class of leaders who are capable of steering change in difficult times like those we are currently experiencing.

Also called for is an approach that links the national interest – with all the priorities that this entails – with international considerations, such as the country’s reputation abroad and global competitiveness.

The initiative began as a "project", with limited goals and a deadline. However, considering the success of the project, it became one of the Institute’s permanent initiatives.
Alongside the traditional offering of roundtable discussions and conferences, activities conducted under the "National Interest" initiative include:

  • the activities of the “Italian talent abroad” group, which highlights the wealth of diversity of the participants, whose ages vary widely and who come from a vast range of professional backgrounds, sectors and geographical areas.
  • undertaking specific research or publishing studies and analyses carried out by third parties which are relevant to and in keeping with the objectives of the initiative.
  • making documents available on the Institute’s website (papers, book excerpts, essays, summaries from Aspen events, transcripts of speeches, articles published in the national and international press) which highlight the contributions of leading Italian figures.
  • accurately gauging how Italy is depicted abroad focusing on two specific areas of interest:

    - Italy’s success stories
    : this section aims to highlight the strengths of the country and showcase the successes of Italian individuals, institutions or businesses, as reported by 53 constantly monitored publications from the international press.

    - Italian contribution to research
    : by analyzing the most respected international scientific journals, a survey is conducted of international research projects where the team involved (or the majority of its members) are Italian scientists and/or researchers. The section also includes interviews of the most authoritative Italians who work abroad in the field of scientific research.

The Institute is thus active on several fronts, making sure, as ever, to avoid the abstraction of rhetorical discussions and to adopt, instead, a constructive approach.

The work of the initiative is overseen by Cesare Romiti, an Honorary Chairman of Aspen Institute Italia, together with Giulio Tremonti, Chairman of the Institute, Giuliano Amato, former Prime Minister of Italy and a former Chairman of the Institute, and working groups whose composition varies depending on the issues at hand. Mariapaola Biasi, Senior Advisor for National Activities, is in charge of this initiative.

With a contribution by Fondazione Cariplo