Life as a CIVICA Ambassador

24-11-2023

Bianca, outgoing Ambassador at Bocconi, talks about her experience and incoming Pasquale about his aims and ambitions for the upcoming year.

Being a CIVICA Ambassador is an exciting and stimulating opportunity for students of the alliance - from undergraduate to postdoctoral researchers - with the chance to promote interaction and exchange within the alliance's communities, initiate projects, be part of civic engagement initiatives and be a first point of contact to CIVICA for peers.

At Bocconi it is a time of change, with Bianca Da Silva Inocêncio leaving the post and Pasquale Incarnato, student at the MSc in International Management, joining as one of the three new Bocconi ambassadors for academic year 2023/24, together with BSc student Nóra Noémi Kovács and PhD researcher Mojtaba Nouri. We talked to Bianca to hear about her experience in this last year and to Pasquale about what he is looking forward to.

Why did you choose to be an ambassador? How is European cooperation relevant to your studies and interests?

Bianca: I chose to become an ambassador mainly due to the inter-campus opportunities that came with the role. Deciding to study in Europe was highly driven by my willingness to be in contact with different cultures, classes, mindsets, and intellectual backgrounds. CIVICA was a strong catalyst in the pursuit of this goal! And, as a student of Economic Sciences with a keen interest in sustainable development, European cooperation could not be more pivotal to my studies.

Pasquale: My thesis for my BSc was focused on Higher Education Systems in the EU, and now studying International Management, European cooperation plays a key role in better understanding the dynamics underpinning most of what I am interested in. And it is quintessential for several activities I’m involved in, among which Bocconi’s European Generation club and being part of the European Youth Parliament.

How can you and your peers benefit from your university's participation in the CIVICA alliance?

Bianca: The word “opportunity” marked my academic background, and changed my life, having come from a favela in Brazil to where I am today. All I have achieved was enabled because people shared scholarship, ambassadorship, hackathon opportunities with me. That was one of the main reasons I became Ambassador - so I could do that for others. CIVICA allows Bocconi students to interact and cooperate with peers from other universities, while learning and doing relevant work, such as through FuturEU or the European Student Assembly, as well as to simply engage in specific areas of interest they maybe cannot explore in the classroom, with the hackathons and seminars, for example. It is an invaluable hub of opportunities.

Pasquale: It gives students the possibility of diverse learning, through programmes and courses offered by the member institutions, and grants the immense advantage of meeting and working with some of the brightest European students across the alliance - people with a different academic and personal background, fostering the international exposure of students, which is fundamental to solve the problems of tomorrow.

What does CIVICA mean to you?

Bianca: CIVICA means to me opportunity - to learn, share, create, and participate in an environment boiling with exciting ideas and diverse backgrounds. I am not a European citizen, and yet I recognized in the initiative something I truly believe in: that civic cooperation leads to progress. The Alliance understands how immigrants are a huge part of what makes Europe, therefore opening space for the voices of international students that chose to come and learn in European Universities to add to important contemporary debates. It completely transformed my academic experience.

Pasquale: CIVICA unites individuals across borders and generations to collaboratively generate solutions that improve the everyday realities of our lives. It is the symbol of what university should be - a place where to connect, exchange ideas, and learn how to create a better future. An engaged, connected and embraced community that aims at shaping the reality with a well-trained mindset, but at the same time with a young spirit and with truly young ideas.

Bianca, what were your main activities as an Ambassador and what was the highlight?

I had the opportunity of meeting amazingly talented people from different universities, discuss the future of the Alliance at the Ambassadors Meetings in Warsaw, as well as spread opportunities in my community. I attended the European Week, at Sciences Po, in Paris, where we discussed and worked on Green Transition for cosmopolitan cities. And, I also had the privilege of coordinating Panel 4 on the topic of Sustainable Food Chains at the European Student Assembly, presenting our takes before hundreds of students at the European Parliament.

Pasquale, what are your aims and ambitions for your time as an Ambassador?

I would like to develop some focal points within my community, Bocconi. First of all, I will create relationships with the media center, of which I’m part, such as BocconiTV, Radio Bocconi and the university’s newspaper, in order to share initiatives and activities proposed by the alliance. Secondly, I will try to advocate the importance of this enlarged CIVICA community, by participating to events and talks focused on Education and EU cooperation. I have many ideas in mind and I am looking forward to developing them all soon.

Written by Tomaso Eridani (Bocconi university). 

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