JCU Student Government Welcomes Honorable Francesco Rutelli

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 Hon. Francesco Rutelli (center) surrounded by delegates to the International Student Leadership Conference

Hon. Francesco Rutelli (center) surrounded by delegates to the International Student Leadership Conference

One of the highlights of the 3rd Annual International Student Leadership Conference, hosted by the John Cabot University Student Government from Thursday April 12th to Sunday April 15th, was the keynote address by Hon. Francesco Rutelli, Senator of Italy. The Aula Magna Regina was packed with Student Government representatives from JCU, Europe and Africa, as well as members of the JCU community.

Following a brief introduction by President Franco Pavoncello, Senator Rutelli, who received a degree in International Affairs honoris causa from JCU in 1997, addressed both the Student Government delegates and the group of JCU students as a whole. As former mayor of Rome (one of the city’s most popular in decades), he shared his love and knowledge of the city, citing anecdotes both insightful and amusing, from the source of the stones on Ponte Sisto, to recalling the tradition of the Grand Tour and drawing a parallel between that and the experience of the many international students earning their degrees at JCU.

Hon. Rutelli gave a realistic account of the challenges facing the new generations, explaining the many ways in which the world has changed in such a short amount of time, from the dramatic increase in population to the current economic crisis.

Following his speech, Hon. Rutelli happily took questions from the members of the crowd, who asked him about how the way students can get involved today differs from Rutelli’s personal experience in his youth. Rutelli stressed the importance of the internet and the new media as an incredibly powerful tool, one that is capable of raising awareness and creating community with an ease and speed previously unheard of, but one that must be used carefully and wisely.