European funds and how to access them was the theme of an international conference in Rome, Italy featuring University Canada West Professor Dr. Michele Vincenti.

Dr. Vincenti, UCW’s MBA Department Chair in Leadership & People Management, was part of a scientific panel portion of the conference on “European funds as a tool of development between the Mediterranean and North America.”

The conference was organized by Prof. Santi Tomaselli and the Centro Studi di Economia Internazionale ai Fondi Europei (Centre for the Study of International Economics and European Funds). UCW has an official partnership with the centre, which aims to organize international conferences such as this past one and conduct academic research.

The conference is an important step to implementing cooperative economic activities between Europe and North America, using European funds as an engine to spur innovation, Dr. Vincenti said.

The conference looked at how post-Covid, the Ukraine-Russia war and high inflation are currently putting a strain on the global economy. The think-tank and UCW organized the event to discuss possible solutions. The panel members addressed opportunities in the existing economic treaties and how new AI systems could accelerate economic recovery.

“While yes, we always have problems, we also need to focus on opportunities, such as promoting the European fund, because the CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) we have in place between Canada and Europe, not too many people know about the benefits in terms of exchange, product, service and people,” Dr. Vincenti said.

One example of putting the message into action was an agreement to create the first Master’s Degree in International Economics for European funds. The idea is for students, in addition to being trained on an innovative subject at their home university, will be able attend another university participating in the initiative. At the conference, representatives from universities in Italy, Egypt, Albania and UCW’s Dr. Vincenti agreed to purse the initiative, with hope that more will follow.

“We have an agreement. We basically shook hands to start this master’s degree where students will spend terms in different countries and the European Union will pay for up to 80 per cent of the cost,” Dr. Vincenti said.

It’s just one of many examples of how European funds can be used innovatively.

“Even if we are in Canada, the CETA allows us to utilize European funds in order to increase the collaboration between Canada and the EU,” Dr. Vincenti says. “Students and universities will benefit from the prestige of collaborating all-around.”

The conference took place at Zuccari Hall inside the Palazzo Giustiniani, which is the only room that has remained unchanged during the numerous renovations of the Italian Senate-owned building and is entirely decorated with frescoes.

“It has never been changed since the 15th Century. You look up at the ceiling–it’s like the Sistine Chapel.”

Among the other speakers were Carmen Perlain, Second Secretary of Political and Economic Relations at the Canadian Embassy in Rome and Dr. Skender Topi, rector of Aleksander Xhuvani University of Elbasan, Albania.

Posted on May 11, 2023.