Happy centenary to Foreigners, relaunch the University and Italian in the world
Rector candidate Valerio De Cesaris, I hope to commemorate the hundred years of Palazzo Gallenga with an international event in attendance.
A few days before the vote for the election of the new rector of the University for Foreigners of Perugia, De Cesaris explains his program and the initiatives to relaunch the university which this year celebrates its hundred years of history.
Professor De Cesaris, with what idea did you apply for the leadership of the University for Foreigners of Perugia?
The basic belief is that the University for Foreigners is not a glorious institution but by now decadent, as some believe, but that it still has an important function for Perugia and for Italy. There is a fact that should not be underestimated: the Italian language is among the most studied in the world and Italian culture is attractive. Foreigners have always had a leading role in promoting the Italian language and culture and will have to play it in the future as well. I believe in the possibility of creating positive synergies with the institutions of Perugia and its territory, as well as with the MUR and the MAECI, to relaunch Foreigners and strengthen its role as ambassador of Italy in the world.
Valerio De Cesare
The University’s image is damaged after the well-known Suarez affair, what should be done to recover?
The Suarez case will have negative repercussions for a long time, having had enormous media coverage. The University, however, has reacted in the right way in recent weeks, returning to promoting high-level cultural events and offering itself as a place for debate and reflection. Just visit the Unistrapg YouTube channel, where the numerous events held in streaming in this period have converged, to see the richness of our work to make and promote culture. It will then be necessary to implement new strategies to promote our training offer, to make our degree courses better known and to relaunch the Italian language and culture courses. Furthermore, in the hope that in the next autumn the events in presence can be resumed permanently, I would like to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the first High Culture courses, which began in 1921, by calling leading personalities of Italian culture and institutions to Palazzo Gallenga, to reaffirm the importance of the University for Foreigners of Perugia.
You have a relaunch program, briefly what would you say to those who should vote for it?
I would say that I believe in the potential of Foreigners. We have a teaching staff made up of high-level scholars and a body of administrative employees in which I have seen, even in these difficult months, a great dedication to work and a commendable sense of belonging to the institution. The language teachers and the CELs guaranteed the functioning of the language and culture courses by adapting to new ways, they kept the maximum commitment in a phase in which it would have been easy to give in to mistrust. I believe that the relaunch is possible first of all because I see the great human heritage made up of those who work at Foreigners. With respect to my candidacy and the reasons for voting, I can only say that, if I am elected, I will guarantee my maximum commitment, trying to involve everyone, teachers and administrators, in the renewal of the University.
What strategies for international agreements and to strengthen internationalization?
La Stranieri has many international agreements, some even recent, and is a remarkable heritage. Certainly, we will have to implement specific strategies with respect to some areas. I am thinking of China, where there are many growth prospects and our business is still limited, but also of Latin America, where the interest in the Italian language and culture is very widespread. Over the last few years, we have put in place some important agreements with universities in African countries. We have double degree agreements with universities in France and Sweden. We must strongly promote our Italian language and culture courses in Europe. But internationalization does not just mean this. I believe that, in the time we live in, the challenge of internationalization also concerns the ability to create training that is truly usable at an international level. If the expression gets through to me, I think we should internationalize our students. It would be a serious fault if we did not ask ourselves the problem of work for our students, at the end of their studies. We must strengthen the link between training and work and to do this we need to guarantee innovative training, which includes the acquisition of linguistic, managerial, digital skills, knowledge of global dynamics. We must ensure that our students, once they graduate, will compete in the world of work nationally and internationally. It is a challenge that I consider a priority.