Working for a Better Future: International Affairs Student Giovanni Raguso
Giovanni Raguso (class of 2019), is senior majoring in International Affairs and International Business. While at JCU, he worked at the Italian Admissions Office, the Foreign Language Resource Center and also interned at the Israeli Embassy to the Holy See and the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri (Italian Prime Minister’s Office). He was also a member of the Speak Up! Club and the Student Government.
What brought you to JCU?
I have had a passion for the United States since I was ten years old when I joined my first basketball team in my native Palermo, Sicily. I went to a “Liceo Linguistico” where I had the opportunity to learn more about foreign languages and cultures. Needless to say, this did nothing but fuel my desire to pursue my studies in the “Star-Spangled” country. John Cabot University turned out to be the perfect compromise. I am happy to say that my America is here and, looking back, there is absolutely nothing I would change about my decision.
What do you like best about Rome? How easy or difficult was it to make friends?
Rome is the city par excellence. With a history of almost 3000 years, the Italian capital is envied by the whole world. It hosts some of the main European and international organizations, while also being home to the Italian government. The Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Quirinal Palace, the Italian Senate and Chamber of Deputies, the Vatican. They are all a 15-minute walk from our campuses. This is what JCU offers and it is irreplaceable. With respect to making friends, luckily Sicilians and Romans share a similar type of sense of humor, which definitely contributed to the long-lasting friendships.
What are your career plans after graduation?
I would love to either go to law school or pursue a master’s in public administration in the United States. However, I plan on coming back to Italy, to work with people from my country and contribute to a better future. I intend to work for the government or, possibly, even become a diplomat or a politician.
What sparked your interest in International Affairs?
My passion for international affairs began in 2013 when I attended my very first Italian Model United Nations Conference (IMUN). During my first competition at IMUN, I represented Haiti and advocated for better infrastructure in developing countries. The contest offered me an invitation to a National High School Model United Nations international event in New York City. Since then, my passion for international relations has never waned.
You have worked both at the Israeli Embassy to the Holy See as well as with Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri. What have you learned from these experiences?
They have been two of my most formative experiences. Working for the Italian Government and, more specifically, for the National Coordination Center of the Internal Market Information System, allowed me to gain insight into how the European Union functions. The experience at the Israeli Embassy to the Holy See made me realize the amount of effort that goes into the organization of international events. In addition, for an international affairs enthusiast like myself, working for Ambassador Oren David was truly an honor.
Why did you choose to double-major in International Affairs and International Business? Do you see yourself as a businessman or a politician?
Politics is strictly connected to a country’s business and economy. One cannot exist without the other and double-majoring in these two fields gives me enough knowledge to confidently discuss both topics. As for my personal view, I strongly believe that good politicians should know about businesses operating in their country just like good business people should know about policies regulating the market.
In these years of uncertainty in both Italian and European politics, what should be the main goal for politicians?
Italy and the European Union are going through tough times due to the distrust in institutions and the rise of fake-news. These two topics, however, seem to be connected, especially after the Datagate scandal affecting over 50 million Facebook users. In order for politicians to successfully tackle these issues, I believe taking a step back is necessary. Social media, which used by millions of people as their main source of information every day, is radically affecting politics. Politicians must find a way to regulate and limit the spread of fake news, while never disregarding the benefits of a healthy confrontation with the opposition. This is critical to recovering from the fear, animosity, and distrust we are experiencing today.
Can you pretend to be Nostradamus for a moment, and tell us where you think the world is going and what it will be like in, let’s say, 50 years from now?
Despite the wave of distrust democracies all over the world are suffering from, I believe negativity can only do us more harm. As exemplified by the recent “March for Our Lives” movement in the US, I have faith in younger generations taking democracy into their own hands. More and more young women and men are approaching politics for the first time. Being technologically literate, they will have an advantage over the previous generations and will be able to navigate the changes that the global community is facing today.