Italy Supreme Court Justice, Former Prime Minister Visits Webster Geneva to Discuss International Studies, Careers

May. 24, 2017

Italy Supreme Court Justice, Former Prime Minister Visits Webster
Italian Supreme Court Justice Giuliano discussed ingredients for international careers in a visit to Webster University Geneva.

Webster University Geneva's Department of International Relations hosted a luncheon seminar on the theme of "International Careers" with Italian Supreme Court Justice Giuliano Amato.

Amato was prime minister of Italy twice (in 1992-1993 and again in 2000-2001) and, among many other academic and professional affiliations, vice president of the Convention on the Future of Europe. He is also a renowned scholar, teaching comparative constitutional law and aspects of international law in prestigious universities around the world.

During his visit to Webster's campus in Geneva, Switzerland, the former prime minister began with a comment about the need for universities to address aspirations of students. “Most of our European universities have remained domestically oriented,” Amato began, “but the American universities—the good ones—are better at internationalization than we in Europe have been.”

Commenting on a trend he has seen among university students, he said that many students from developing countries have aspirations for an international career at home—not just abroad—as the global economy continues to integrate and create opportunities.

“The challenge for success in an international ​career is essentially a need for the study of ‘the Other’,” Amato said, adding that this applies whether to prepare for a career in international law, public service, international non-governmental organizations, or international business.

Amato addressed a range of interconnected issues in higher education and international affairs. Fielding questions from the audience about the current dynamics in Europe, his solution was simple: to give young people the tools and opportunities, because they see the world differently.

“Young people will preserve us from the worst of what we see today,” Amato said. “International Relations changed our times, which is even reflected in university courses. In the past, people expected to have a future mostly based in their own countries." Studies have transformed, he noted; for example, EU law cannot be studied as a separate subject, as it is embedded in all other types of law.

A broad collection of faculty and international visitors at Webster Geneva
The seminar at Webster Geneva also included Italian representatives to the UN and WTO, and a former president of the ICRC.

Regarding Brexit, the Trump effect and rise of the right, Amato reminded the audience that the media needs to add hype to the threat and fear in order to promote, but that the French election showed that the larger majority still has faith in a European Union, even if the EU needs to adapt. This is “a big opportunity for Europe to demonstrate that the risks of ‘small identities’ prevailing over the wider reasons for mutual understanding are high,” and that the EU should take a leadership position in international cooperation and economic integration.

An International Delegation at Webster

The luncheon was hosted at Cedar Café on Webster University Geneva’s campus. Also in attendance to welcome Amato were William McDonald, Webster’s director of Recruitment and Admissions, Nico Frandi, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the World Trade Organization, members of the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN in Geneva, Michel Veuthey, vice president of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, and Cornelio Sommaruga, former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who also holds an honorary doctorate from Webster University.

The seminar was chaired by Webster faculty member Oreste Foppiani, head of the Department of International Relations and associate professor of International History and Politics.

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