ROMA – Five webinars with more than a thousand participants from 57 countries around the world. From China to Ecuador, but with a focus on Africa, now at the center of possible Luiss University projects, from “international training” initiatives to a dedicated observatory to monitor demand for training from and for the continent. These are the results and outlook of the Diaspora Program organized by the University highlighted during the last webinar of the cycle.
The webinar coincides with Africa Day, which on 25 May celebrates the integration of the continent, on the anniversary of the 1963 birth of the Organization of African Unity. It is from these themes – marked by aspirations for growth and the role of cultural institutions, in line with the focus adopted for this year’s anniversary, on “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa we Want” – that the interview with Marco Francesco Mazzù, Recruiting Leader and Professor of Digital & Marketing at Luiss University, begins. “We had 39 panelists and 959 participants, connected from 57 countries,” the professor said in an interview with the Dire agency. “From Morocco to Senegal and from Cape Verde to Mozambique, Africa was the area of the world most represented, even if there were also contributions from Latin America, Asia and, obviously, Italy and Europe.” Today’s webinar, on “Data Science to Support a Changing World”, was the fifth stage in a process aimed at new alliances. “Starting in January, we have initiated structured relations with ten countries” Mazzù says. “Specifically, these are contacts with schools and universities, as well as the setting-up of permanent desks through the network of diasporas of African origin. Also envisaged for the Sub-Saharan region, with respect to eight countries, is the extension of the “international training program”. “The goal is to reach agreements with African companies that will finance studies for selected young people, while Luiss will have the task of educating them”, Mazzù explains. “During the program, ad hoc lessons can be offered and the internship will be carried out directly at the funding company. Students can then decide to stay in Italy and put their Luiss training into practice for the company or return and work in their country of origin.”
The sharing of knowledge through a circular mobility of students, with an eye on sustainable development as indicated by the United Nations 2030 Agenda, is the reference point of the initiative for an observatory on Africa. “The idea being considered is a panel of experts to monitor training supply and demand for and from the continent, including in connection with new trends in the labor market”, says the professor. “This process should be accompanied by the study of inter-African student mobility flows and those towards other regions of the world, specific offerings made by European universities and also an evaluation, already underway, of community building processes and the impact that the Luiss Diaspora Program can have on the behavior and choices of prospective students of African origin”. The first young people to join the initiative will be in class in September and the best, based on a selection process already underway, will be funded by Luiss University.