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First cycle of seminars on the OSCE for Italian universities organized by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the OSCE

The Permanent Mission of Italy to the OSCE, in collaboration with the Italian universities and research institutes participating in the “OSCE Italian National Table”, has organized a cycle of seminars entitled: “The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) as a model for 21st century multilateral regional diplomacy” coordinated by Italy’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Ambassador Stefano Baldi.

The cycle of seminars was offered in English via video conference from March to May 2022 for a total of 20 hours of lectures on the functioning of the OSCE and interactive simulations of case studies.

Sixty one university students from nine Italian universities attended the cycle of seminars (Università Bocconi, Università di Bologna, Università Ca’ Foscari, LUISS-Guido Carli, Università di Pavia, Università Roma Tre, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa, Università di Trento, Università di Trieste)

The initiative aimed at promoting understanding of the role and activities of the OSCE and strengthening cooperation between Italian diplomacy and Italian academia. With its pragmatic approach, the cycle also aimed at a deeper appreciation of aspects and tools of multilateral diplomacy in the specific context of the OSCE.

The lecturers were drawn from a variety of professional backgrounds: diplomats at the Permanent Mission of Italy to the OSCE and at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italian officials working at the OSCE, other OSCE experts, and academics. The presentations and other material used during the seminars were made available to the students together with documentation on the OSCE published by the Permanent Mission of Italy.

In particular, the lecturers included:

  • the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Matteo Mecacci, who spoke on the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security, its founding documents, and the creation and mandate of ODHIR;
  • the Secretary General of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Roberto Montella, who explained the structure and functioning of the parliamentary side of the Organization, its role and relations with the governmental side;
  • Former Secretary General of OSCE, Lamberto Zannier, who tackled the topic of conflict tools and prevention within the OSCE as well as the challenges and prospects of multilateral diplomacy in the 21st century;
  • Ambassador Luca Fratini, head of the Office of the Secretary General, who spoke about the functioning of the Secretariat and the institutional architecture of the OSCE.
  • One session specifically focused on career opportunities at the OSCE, explaining the main employment tracks (seconded positions, contracted positions, Junior Professional Officer, and internships) and how best to approach them.
  • OSCE Secretary General, Helga Schmid, intervened in the closing round table of the cycle and offered her perspective on the future of the Organization.

The results of an evaluation questionnaire distributed to participants at the end of the cycle were extremely encouraging. The responses confirmed the validity and general appreciation for the initiative, with positive or absolutely positive evaluations for all responses. The students expressed strong appreciation for the interactive case studies.

In light of the success of the initiative, the Permanent Mission of Italy decided to offer a second edition of the cycle of seminars on the OSCE to a wider audience of ninety students from fourteen universities (Università di Perugia, Università Roma Tre, Università di Siena, Università di Pavia, Università di Bologna, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Università di Firenze, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa, Università di Trento, Università Bocconi Milano, LUISS-Guido Carli, Università degli Studi di Trieste, Università di San Marino, Università di Padova). The second edition will run from February to May 2023.