EMMAP in the capital of multilateralism to address the new challenges for the PA

The final study tour in Geneva


One hundred years since the birth of multilateralism, and seventy-five, in 2020, since the creation of the United Nations. Choosing Geneva as the destination of EMMAP - Executive Master in Public Administration Management’s learning visit was certainly somewhat symbolic, especially in times of high international tension. The visit lasted four days, in June 2022, and allowed participants in the 12th edition of the Master’s to deal hands-on with the key issues of our times, from the future of multilateralism to sustainability and the 2030 UN Agenda.

“The current international tensions and growing difficulties over issues such as food and energy supply have led to questioning the present model of multilateralism,” study tour leader Alexander Maximilian Hiedemann recalled, “but of multilateralism Geneva remains the capital and historical memory.” And it was the ideal place to conclude this innovative training course for public managers, and speak of the multilevel challenge that all public administrations increasing need to face. In the 2020-21 edition, EMMAP’s final module had focused on Next Generation EU, a crucial topic for the PA with the pandemic still ongoing; this edition touched on the new open front of multilateralism, also tested by Covid-19 first and now by rising international tensions, and thus more central than ever in the public debate.

In an increasingly integrated world, even the public administrations of individual States must develop a global and transnational vision, Hiedemann reiterated, and the visit was precisely an opportunity for the PA managers to have a full immersion in that kind of context, bringing them face to face with the new challenges of multilateralism. This was the topic of the first meeting with Lidiya Grigoreva, Senior Political Affairs Officer at the UN headquarters in Geneva, which the EMMAP students had the opportunity to visit.

The second day of the visit was devoted to the new public-management routes, broadening key topics already addressed during the classes of the 12-month EMMAP course. Among others:

  • Impact Investing & Blended Finance, in a meeting with Maria Teresa Zappia, Chief Impact and Blended Finance Officer and Deputy CEO of BlueOrchard, an investment company with a focus on positive impacts on communities and the environment
  • Sustainable Finance Models and Best Practices, with Francesco Perlini, Head of Section, WTO Financial Management Service, who addressed the issue of shifting “from billions to trillions” in international investment volumes
  • New Work Models and Human Resource Management in meetings with Adélaïde Barbier, Head of Talent Management Services at the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and Michael Emery, Director of the Division for Human Resource Management at the IOM (International Organization for Migration), both Geneva-based specialized UN agencies which hosted the EMMAP class.

The Geneva leg ended with a briefing on the emerging international scenarios, again with a focus on the UN 2030 Agenda SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

The tour returned to Italy for its last stop, on Lake Pusiano, where it (literally) took off on a special #HeadingToTheOlympics day, an experiential format that – as Lorenza Micacchi said – “saw participants taking to the waters of the lake to work with themselves and others on the idea of collaborative leadership as an effective tool for facing the new challenges of the public sector and guiding the transformation process in their organizations.” It was also an opportunity to take stock and focus on the takeaways of their EMMAP year, as well as to officially join the large and exciting SDA Bocconi Alumni network.

“These four days also served to revive the personal branding of the civil servant,” Hiedemann concluded. “In our country, they are all too often perceived as bureaucrats, as opposed to the almost ‘noble‘ image of those working in international organizations such as the UN. Instead, this discussion revealed the great wealth of skills, managerialism and the ability to innovate of our public administration, that must be increasingly valued.”

“At this point in history, it is more important than ever to invest in the internationalization of public-sector managers and their ability to read interdependencies on an international scale and not just a local one,” said Silvia Rota, Director of the Executive Master in Public Administration Management. “The EMMAP program offers the opportunity to engage with managerial contexts and decision-makers who are dealing with challenges similar to your own, albeit in different spheres, by designing a Study Tour each year which is dedicated to issues and skills relevant to the public-sector agenda.”

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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