When Paolo Petrocelli, 32, takes the stage at the last session of the Open Ceremony of the International Careers Festival at the Auditorium della Tecnica, everyone is impressed by his young age. After having heard distinguished professionals, among which the Minister Plenipotentiary Francesca Tardioli and the Director of Human Resources at FAO Monika Altmaier, no one would have ever imagined to be impressed by the last speech of the inauguration.
With a natural approach, he humbly starts his dissertation on “Youth and the UN” in front of more than one thousand young students gathered at the imposing conference hall of Confindustria. From the very beginning, his speech reveals an extraordinary personality and a remarkable curriculum. Indeed, his intervention results in being far more inspiring than a simple presentation.
With his charisma, he introduces the UNESCO institution, founded in 1945 with the aim of spreading worldwide peace and dialogue through education, science and culture. He stresses the fact that the organisation was created in war time, when the only purpose people had was surviving from the harsh World War II. Petroncelli puts the focus on the values that the different ministers of education, collected in 1943 to fight Nazis through the promotion of culture, were trying to convey while creating the organisation. After seventy years, the same creativity and desire motivate him to act. He is concerned about the interaction of the organisation and youth and he personally aims at promoting the cooperation among the two.
Therefore, he was nominated Youth Delegate for the National Committee for UNESCO at the Paris Congress in 2011, where he represented Italy at the 7th Global Youth Forum. The main issue discussed was the understanding on how young people could access UNESCO, in order to boost the change in our societies in a collaborative environment.
Six years ago, his motivation has driven him to the brilliant idea of proposing the foundation of the first Youth Committee of UNESCO in Italy. “We wanted to let our voices be heard from the UN in Paris” he claims, and that is what actually happened: with the implementation of his project, the Youth Committee of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO was founded and the First National Assembly took place in Rome on 15-16 January 2016.
“I didn’t want to wait for an opportunity to come. I wanted to act.” That is the ultimate message he launches to the young audience. While considering the idea of creating an opportunity for youth to be an active part of UNESCO, he has made an impact on the system.
By Valentina Carrara