Born on 1 August 1988 in Como, within the Lake District in Northern Italy, Stefano Facchinetti holds a Bachelor’s and a Master's Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Trieste, where he graduated cum laude in July 2013. As of 2 December 2013, Stefano has joined the Executive and Coordination Unit as a volunteer in the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy).
Stefano will end his volunteership on 28 March and we have asked him a few questions to know what he thinks about his internship with us so far.
Tell us about yourself: what is your background, and why did you want to volunteer to UNESCO?
I pursued my university career focusing primarily on international and cross-cultural cooperation, and among different academic curricula, I specialized on “Politics & Diplomacy”, gaining a solid expertise particularly on matters of global politics and international cooperation, conflict management and diplomatic practices. My educational path also includes a number of short courses at the King's College London (UK), and Købenavns Universitet (Denmark), a six-month Erasmus at the University of Lapland (Finland), and a previous internship within the Asia Program of the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm (Sweden). Apart from politics and international affairs, I am passionate with arts and culture, and I progressively developed an interest in cultural diplomacy and policies concerning the conservation of tangible and intangible heritage. Given these premises, volunteering for UNESCO represented the best way at the same time to employ my diplomatic skills and gain some practical experience on cultural promotion and heritage safeguarding.
What do you think you are gaining from your experience as volunteer at the UNESCO Regional Bureau for science and Culture in Europe?
Currently, I am volunteering for the Executive and Coordination Unit (ECU) of the UNESCO Venice Office, which I support in ensuring the smooth running of the Office and in assisting the Director in her role to coordinate the activities of the Culture and Science Units. Additional tasks also include supporting the Office participation in the UNDAFs and Delivering as One (DaO) initiatives in Europe and the Mediterranean region, providing administrative support in the framework of the Office involvement as a non-resident agency in joint UN initiatives, and assisting the ECU in the preparation of annual reports and planning documents at national and regional levels and helping with travel arrangements, correspondence, news reporting and information briefings. This truly is a great experience: being part of the ECU, you find yourself working every day in a fast-paced environment and dealing with lots of people from different professional and cultural backgrounds. This is most certainly helping me to develop my capabilities to operate in a multicultural environment and to improve my diplomatic skills. Also, as the tasks are extremely varied and positively challenging, the Unit is a lively environment to work in, you definitely never get bored! Plus, this experience is helping me to expand my knowledge on practices and activities concerning cultural promotion and conservation of cultural heritage, which was my main intent.
What do you think will happen after you complete the volunteer period at UNESCO in Venice?
This volunteership within the UNESCO Venice Office is undoubtedly giving me the experience and the insights I needed to kick start my professional career in an internationally-oriented environment, particularly in the field of cultural promotion and cross-cultural cooperation, which I am devoted to and passionate about. In the short run, I will begin another internship and so will soon relocate to Brussels (Belgium) to work on the Culture and Social Policy theme of the European Institute for Asian Studies, which will definitely provide me with some useful expertise on cultural promotion and cultural heritage in the Asian scenario. Also, being in Brussels, I would very much welcome an opportunity to collaborate with the UNESCO Liaison Office, whose activities of coordination and cooperation with the EU institutions fascinate me. Hopefully, all these experiences and my dedication will lead me to a professional career in the field of cultural diplomacy and cross-cultural cooperation, and I look very much forward to possibly work for UNESCO again.