The aim of the Institute’s National Programs is to impart a fresh boost to Italy’s image on the international stage and to develop proposals and tools for infusing an economy called upon to compete on the global market with greater dynamism and cohesion. The goal is to trigger a virtuous cycle of reflection and action thanks to debate within the Aspen Community on the “country system”. Participant’s consider Italy’s problems and its aspirations, its areas of excellence and the steps needed to ensure improvement, with a view to achieving sustainable and inclusive development.
Debate in the National Conferences takes the shape of a half-day of discussions behind closed doors. Leaders from the world of politics, business, academia and the media consider issues of strategic importance for Italy’s economy, society and culture. The National Roundtables, a series of encounters generally restricted to the space of a luncheon, focus on an in-depth and multidisciplinary analysis of a single issue of strategic importance on the Italian or international stage.
The Aspen Community’s debate on key issues for Italy’s present and future is structured around the major themes that drive the Institute’s activity as a whole.
The Environment and Energy
Italy’s energy resources, the challenges in ensuring supply, the environment and sustainability, and energy policies are the themes addressed at the meetings and in research with a dedicated cycle of events.
Banking and Finance
The banking system, the role of finance, new digital currencies, financial and fiscal policies in support of businesses and the Italian system’s relations with money markets are issues addressed in this series of meetings on one of the domestic and global economy’s most important mainstays.
Culture and Turism
This cycle of events explores strategies for the conservation of the country’s artistic and cultural heritage. It also focuses on strengthening and modernizing the tourist industry and on supporting training and youth employment in a sector often described as “Italy’s oil reserves”. Italy’s soft power is fueled by excellence, from its age-old history and culture – with such success models as the Roman Empire and the Renaissance – to the beauty and variety of its landscape, its rich wine and food heritage and the hospitality implicit in the Italian way of life.
Business and Job
Italy’s small and medium-sized enterprises – sometimes nicknamed “pocket-sized multinational corporations”, and often owned by a single family – form the flexible backbone of the country’s entrepreneurial fabric. Their characteristics, their strongpoints and weaknesses, the role of the supply chain, their competitiveness on the global stage, generational handovers and transitions up from a simple family business, as well as new models capable of attracting investment are all themes addressed in the activities that the Institute devotes to SMEs. To be effective in terms of cost, flexibility, ongoing training and support for employment, industrial development cannot be divorced from modern labor policies. Research, dedicated events and testimonials from businessmen characterize Aspen Italia’s contribution to debate on an issue that is of both economic and social importance to the country.
Infrastructures and Mobility
Infrastructure is the backbone of a modern country seeking to compete, to attract investments and to consolidate social cohesion. The National Recovery and Resilience Plan unquestionably plays a crucial role in completing the physical and digital networks that are only partially operational. In this connection, discussion revolves around innovation and priorities, as participants analyze local constraints and the legacy of major events (such as the World Expo or the Olympics), funding and legislation, public-private sector synergies and the new tools required to address all of this and more.
The Institutions and Society
Governmental institutions and the civil service form the intangible infrastructure that underpins a country’s social and economic fabric. In a world that is rapidly changing thanks to new technologies and digitalization, keeping abreast of developments is of crucial importance for those in government and administration. It is not a matter simply of understanding the new phenomena impacting people’s lives but also of devising decision-making processes and structures capable of rendering governments efficient and relevant.
Aspen Institute Italia engages in study and research devoted to issues of strategic importance for national public life and then organizes events to present the results of that work. The focus tends to be on urgent reforms needed in Italy’s public sector and economic system, the role of intermediaries and new forms of consensus, leadership and the democratic system, the European Union and the single currency, and digitalization and training in the public sector.
The media plays a particularly important role in social cohesion. Research projects and seminars on the media industry focus on developments in the system as a whole, potential synergies, the benefits and risks implicit in the digital revolution, copyright and freedom of information, the role of the public broadcaster and the development of private channels, and the growing penetration of the “new media”.
Life Sciences and Health
New diseases, an aging population and pandemics are taking their toll on Italy’s health system. This cycle of seminars sets out to explore a multifaceted reality, highlighting weaknesses and potential solutions while also pointing to successful developments and to lessons to be learned by the system as a whole. There is a special focus on technological innovations taking place in the field of life sciences.
Research and Training
Innovation and research – both basic and applied – have always been driving forces behind the country’s growth. They have been factors for progress and prosperity in the community, especially when that community is hit by major events that threaten its stability and its future. To bolster the ecosystem of knowledge, it is crucial that we rethink our education and training systems, also to facilitate linking up with the country’s productive machinery.
New alliances between centers of knowledge and research and the business world are sparking renewal, enriching and intensifying the technological transfer process. The challenge lies in defining new models and new methods to ensure that research can find concrete ways of rapidly impacting and stimulating the country’s production system while also fostering new forms of entrepreneurship.
Communication and the media
Work takes place behind closed doors and any media representatives attending do so in a strictly personal capacity. The Institute occasionally grants exclusive coverage to national TV networks and press sources.