13 January 2022
Trieste Mayor and TWAS Executive Director meet in the Blue Chamber of Trieste City Hall
Thursday, 16 December, was a bright day in Trieste, the atmosphere of Christmas already in the air, when the Executive Director of UNESCO-The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Romain Murenzi met in Piazza Unità with his Special Adviser Giusto Sciarabba and two other TWAS staff: Public Information Officer Raffaella De Lia and Associate Programme Officer Sena Galazzi.
The sea behind them and the magnificent Municipal Building in front of them, they headed to meet the Mayor of Trieste, Roberto Dipiazza. The enthusiasm was palpable. Just having a meeting with the mayor, even before it actually took place, already meant that he was interested in UNESCO-TWAS mission and its contribution to Trieste as Città della Scienza, Trieste as a world renown scientific hub.
The meeting took place in the grand Salotto Azzurro of Trieste City Hall, overlooking Piazza Unità, which, this time, laid below them in all its magnificence. Mayor Dipiazza, along with Deputy Mayor and City Councilor for Economic Policies Serena Tonel, warmly welcomed Prof. Murenzi and his team. The customary protocol took place: Prof. Murenzi thanked the mayor for his time and availability, and explained that the mission of the Academy consists in building scientific capacity in the developing world; and Associate Programme Officer Sena Galazzi provided some details on UNESCO-TWAS key programmes, pointing out that the Academy had been traditionally involved in the city's scientific activities. Trieste Next, the "Notte dei Ricercatori", the EuroScience Open Forum 2020 (ESOF2020), as well as the cooperation with the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA), the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and the University of Trieste were proudly mentioned.
Special Adviser Giusto Sciarabba underlined the key role UNESCO-TWAS played in the Trieste/Friuli-Venezia Giulia scientific system, and Prof. Murenzi highlighted that the Academy brings to the forefront the essential perspective of science and research from developing countries, which are critical to the global sustainable development efforts.
As the Mayor of the "City of Science", Mr. Dipiazza's interest was further piqued and he encouraged UNESCO-TWAS Executive Director and his accompanying team to further build on Trieste scientific reputation and network, giving even more exposure to the city's scientific vocation. He went a step further, inviting UNESCO-TWAS representatives to be regularly in touch with his office, sharing planned events and projects beforehand with his staff, so that he could fully support and enhance the visibility of the Academy's initiatives. A win-win opportunity for Trieste and the Academy.
In full agreement with the mayor, Public Information Officer Raffaella De Lia confirmed that this was exactly the reason why she was present at the meeting: as TWAS head of communications, it was her role to strengthen the Academy's visibility, and it would be her pleasure to follow up with the mayor’s office on future initiatives.
The mayor also expressed his wish to accord Prof. Murenzi the honorary citizenship of Trieste, a proposition that TWAS Executive Director was delighted to accept.
The brief but very friendly and fruitful visit ended up with a telling joke by UNESCO-TWAS Executive Director that only underlined the vocation to science and the cultural openness of Trieste. Born in Rwanda, Prof. Murenzi on the streets of Brussels or Paris was usually asked to show his "papiers", his documents. In Trieste, he is usually asked whether he is a scientist, a physicist, which he obviously is. This is Trieste! And TWAS is honoured to be hosted here.
Raffaella De Lia