(Fa fede solo il testo effettivamente pronunciato)
Thank you Secretary General, Thank you Michele.
It is a real pleasure for me to have you all at the opening dinner of the “Women in Diplomacy Conference” in the beautiful setting of Villa Madama. This villa was designed by Raffaello and then owned by the Duchess of Parma. This is to remind us that what is created by men is then to be used and may be co-lead by women. Diplomacy is a case in point.
Let me say a couple of words about the nature of this initiative, which follows the “The Women in Public Service Project” launched by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last December to promote gender equality in the public service.
Italy decided to launch a similar project in Europe. Tomorrow we will have ample time to discuss the different components of such an initiative. We will discuss why improving the number of women in the Public service may be a smart choice, increasing merit and efficiency. Why foreign policy must include, as an active priority, the defence of women’s right – my tribute goes to all the women still killed and persecuted in the world, starting with the Afghan activist Hanifa Safi and all the victims in Syria. We will discuss why innovation and growth need women’s contribution.
The general line, in my view, is not that women are necessarily better.
The point is that by giving them equal access to leadership positions, both in private and public sectors, we increase competition, diversity and opportunities in our societies.
I will not go further now, the discussion is for tomorrow.
For this evening I thought it would be more appropriate to have a brilliant but also enjoyable start. Beppe Severgnini is the most suited person to perform this task. I will give the floor to him a little later. We will listen to his speech and to a short comment by Maria Latella, followed may be by some other remarks I’m sure their irony and sharpness will provoke.
Allow me, first, to thank – together with sponsors and co-organizers (ISPI and SIOI) - all the women who made a very serious effort to make this conference possible. The international participants, first of all, who accepted to be with us. Women networks are key. And the Italian ones: I thank Emma Bonino as a symbol for all of you.
Let me also thank the dream team from the Foreign Affairs Ministry. In particular, Giovanna Mirelli, from the Protocol, whom I will never be able to praise enough for her dedication to the cause of good organization. The President of DID, the organization of Women diplomats, Minister Rosanna Coniglio. And then Simona De Martino, from my Cabinet, Ruth Santini, who was brutally moved from the Brookings Institution in Washington to the Italian glorious chaos, and Valeria Biagiotti, Gaia Danese, from the Policy Planning Unit. Clearly, I cant thank each and everyone of you. For once, I would like to use this opportunity for paying tribute to the female component of the Foreign Affairs Ministry: young and not so young, first secretaries and Ministers, Ambassadors. And also the wives of our colleagues: le ambasciatrici, whose job is often equally cumbersome. And all the friends: our male colleagues have been equally supportive from the very beginning.
So, let’s have dinner together. And try to enjoy it. Try to enjoy it – a dinner in honour of the cause of women in the global world, a dinner in honour of the very value of diplomacy - notwithstanding the difficult times we all are living in.