Speech by Marco Crescenzi, President of Social Change School, to the students of the Masters PMC – Project Management for International Cooperation, HOPE – Humanitarian Operations in Emergencies and FRAME – Fundraising and Philanthropy Manager, Communication Cultural Marketing and Cultural Philanthropy during the First Meeting of the Masters.
A special thanks to the students because I believe that you have made a very clever choice to train yourself in this period, to start the path in this period.
There is a lot of people who is a little bit shy and say “mm let’s see how the situation will evolve”, “let’s wait because we don’t know, we don’t have the full perspective” but this is not the right way.
You can’t be shy with the future.
If you want to create the future, you have to work on it – not waiting for it. So our students are the ones who are not shy, who are starting to create their future and other people’s future from a practical and technical point of view.
This means that you are preparing yourselves to be ready when the world will need a lot of help, more than in the past. Because we will, after the pandemic, need a lot of help, everywhere and not only in Africa, Latin-America or Asia.
We will need a global help from our students everywhere, also in Italy, Spain, Uk, Portugal, Greece…
This is not just for the fundraisers, that are used to work in the northern countries, but also for our students of Project Management and Humanitarian Operation in Emergencies – so the path of cooperation will be both in the North and the South.
So I believe the choice you made it’s very brave but also rational, very smart.
“I’m preparing now, to be ready when…”, while other people are waiting for something – I don’t know what.
How do you consider to be part in the School? How to stay in the school? How to behave in Social Change School?
We have seen in the last 20 years different approaches from the students, as:
- “I’m attending a Master, without particular feelings” so something just technical, to learn things and then go;
- “I want to achieve competences” which is quite the same of the first one. Many years ago, I heard a student saying “Please give me the tools and I will make the job”. This is good but not enough;
- “I want to grow professionally and personally”. In the final report, what we see is that all the students say “I had a big growth not only from a professional point of view but also from a human point of view”. This makes me happy because I was and still am a psychologist so for me, working in the heart of the people and not just with the brain is important. This is my mindset: the change for me is not only on skills but also in the heart, in the mindset of the people. This is something that makes me very very happy.
- “I’m here to find a job”. That’s clear, you’re not here to become volunteers or just to enjoy the relationships with the other students.
All the points until here, in these ways of considering yourselves in the Master programme, are right but it is always “just about me”. This is a western individualistic mentality, approach, like in other business schools.
So what is the next, better step?
- Some students say that they are here also to meet new people and to learn from the experiences of others – so the others are part of your path in the School – and to learn better from the group, to have links with the class, and the lecturers of course.
So this is still always about you – using the network – but is a more working relational you.
What is the next step in having the right mindset to stay in the School?
- It is the one the most of you already really desire: to make the difference. You are studying, then you want to find a job, to use the network, to have an international qualification/certification, but the final aim is not to be rich or a recognized professional, the aim is to make the difference.
As African guys always say “give back to the community”. This means you have to understand your impact and to improve your social change impact, so becoming professional on making the difference.
This is not only you in the job but is ok, you found a job so now you can make the difference – also volunteering and working. Try to make the difference for you and for the others – so here you can start to deeply consider the others.
I want to tell you a short anecdote about Michael Odong. He was in MIDHA, the Master programme for extra Europeans (fully online formula).
Michael is an ex refugee who started to work and became a social worker. At a certain point of his career, he decided to grow as a project manager and he started to attend the MIDHA Master to become a professional with a certification in project management. After the Master, he never really left the School because we never lost contacts. He now is in Uganda and he became our representative there, he is an ambassador of the School and we are working together to define what is the difference in leadership between Europe and Africa.
We, western guys, are a bit more individualistic. In Africa, leadership is much more related to the community. So when the School started the programme with African students in Africa, the students helped us to better understand also the words we use differently in the world. And this is made with the students. So the point is that Michael Odong always felt and still feeling member of the programme, which is a social change project.
Also Agha-Nwi Fru was a MIDHA student and now she is MIDHA Coordinator, she is from Cameroon.
What I liked when I had the interview with Agha-Nwi Fru was that she said:
“I can’t see the western NGOs coming here in the country and manage everything. But the fault is not of the NGOs because if they don’t find people with the right competences, they are obliged to work with expats…”
She also said “..I want to attend MIDHA because I want to become a project manager to have ownership on the projects in Cameroon, where I live, in my country.” and now she works with us so helping us to make a better job in Africa, with African guys, with African professionals.
It’s a way in which the students are part of the wide project of Social Change School.
We have changed the culture in Italy about professionalisation, about management, so the School is not thinking its Masters like the other Universities.
The Masters are a very strong leverage for the change.
When you are participating to a Master programme, you are not just achieving tools but you are part of a global movement that creates social change and professionalities worldwide.
We have students who have been working from Tibet, to Australia, to Cameroon, to Latin-America, everywhere.
This is good for you to have contacts everywhere, sure, but it is important also because it’s a global movement.
Being part of the School is something which is useful for you from a professional point of view, but also, what I would like is you to feel part of this project because this is one of most the most important project in the world for social change makers.
In conclusion, I’m proud to be part of the School. I’m the founder but I have always felt just as a part, at the service of the School. I believe that it is nice, beautiful, if it will be the same for you: to be part of the School, of the project, and to become Ambassadors of it with external people, making the image of the School and the project very clear.
Also helping the School finding the best talents to work with us and to make a change.
So… Don’t be shy with the future but create the future, your future and the future of other people, together with the School.
Thank you everyone, good choice!