I participated in the symposium “International Crises: Tourism and Education” held at Bocconi University, on the occasion of the ceremony for the conferral of Master Degrees in Tourism Economy and of the WTO-THEMIS Foundation post-graduate course “Tourism Policy and Strategy”, and at least two remarks come naturally to my mind. One concerns the structure of Bocconi University, which is oriented to the global market, and places exchanges between the cultures and experiences of the most diverse countries at the centre of its educational and cultural offer. The meeting / commencement ceremony was attended by many foreigners, mostly from Africa, as many students come from that continent, and by necessity English had to be spoken in addition to Italian.
We were in the beautiful Aula Magna of the new university building, and I was embarrassed to listen to a dialogue in Italian, summarised in English by Professor Antonioli with her customary skill and kindness, often to the consternation of non Italian attendees who could only understand the final summary. Worst of all was when Foreign Affairs Under-secretary Alfredo Mantica delivered a long speech on the need for cooperation between Italy and African countries, addressing the African participants – politicians and professors – who could understand nothing but the mention of their countries of origin. My question: for a university with a global vocation, would it not have been reasonable to equip the new Aula Magna – which in essence is a theatre – with a simultaneous interpretation system?
My second remark is related to the previous one: it had been announced that Francesco Frangialli, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation, would participate in the event, and I was curious to meet him, as I often read reports of his observations and forecasts on tourism, with varying results. The programme, however, had been changed. In place of Mr. Frangialli there was a nice gentleman, Eduardo Fayos-Solà, WTO Human Resources Development Director, who informed us that at that moment Mr. Frangialli was flying from New York to Spain, and could thus not possibly be with us. Might he not have known that he had a commitment, or was the University’s invitation a surprise? It is truly a bad habit to accept many commitments and then only deliver those that are most convenient… and who cares about the people who are there to listen!
And now an anecdote that ties up the two remarks. Fayos-Solà made a presentation on the development of world tourism; everything fine, except for a small detail: the explanation was in English (without translation, as I said before) while the PowerPoint presentation – possibly because the speaker had been only belatedly advised of the need for his presence and had to use a recycle – was in Spanish.
We Latins are truly very creative!
Translation of the Italian
editorial by Paola Praloran