EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE

Chapter 8: The Fourth Pillar – To the Conquest of 15 Years of Life

4. Between Geneva and Trieste

In 2001, the time came to check how to put into practice my projects for the over sixties.
So, I began a long period of shuttling between Geneva (where I am a permanent resident) and Trieste: a couple of years of half-time work and then as special consultant for the Geneva Association. My successor got on more than well, so I decided to make some forays into my native city, that moaned (and moans still) about having the “oldest” members still working and this is explained by the fact that one can become a member at 55. In any case it is already a readymade bridge to ease the way to an active life.
Again in the United States, ANSA (Alliance of New Stage Adults), another organisation, was founded recently. It is intended to facilitate the search for a new career for all those who have a level of management skills and want to stay active. The objective is set in particular by the 17.5 “baby boomers who will be 60 years of age between 2007 and 2011”. Part time is preferred even though after the age of 55 one can easily work full time and even more.
Perhaps one day there will be headhunters specialising in skilled staff who are 60 years of age and older. Or again, we will read job offers for part time jobs for adults of 60-65 years of age, especially in important sectors such as education, care, travel, culture (in­­cluding museum staff), communication, journalism and many others. In France there are almost a million grandmothers who take care of the grandchildren part time. Men too can put themselves to work and the State could consider a way of promoting this activity that offers an alternative to day nurseries.
Of course those who are (or will be) 65 have to prepare ahead, making a little effort to adopt the “double helix”. It’s worth it to get to the conquest of 15 years, no?
Given the extension of the lengthening of the life cycle to a good part of the planet, I sought to suggest the idea that this de facto situation was an advantage, from which to draw ideas, suggest research and studies, and to identify policies and activities for the future of welfare. Trieste could become a key reference point in Europe and the world, also taking into account its research centres, university, its insurance tradition and various other institutions.
I began by organising a Geneva Association conference in Trieste on “Health, Lengthening of the Life Cycle, Work: Strategies for the New Welfare in Europe” from 21-23 October, 2004. Over 50 speakers from about twenty countries contributed, among them many from Eastern Europe, and over 100 participants. The European welfare policy was discussed, especially on the 23rd at Duino Castle. The Central European Initiative, the Club of Rome and “Generali” also contributed, the whole under the auspices of the Friuli Venezia Giulio Region.
This led to the founding of the journal “European Papers on the New Welfare – the counter-ageing society” in English and Italian.
The first issues in May and June 2005 fully report the content of the Trieste conference. In October 2009 Number 13 came out in English. They are all available on www.newwelfare.org.
I remember a lunch in Grenoble in 1975 with Raymond Barre who summed up his life cycle thus: a long period of preparation, then of war. Then came the honours. At that time he had not yet become Prime Minister, and of honours he had lots. And I, few, as is only right, but in 2006, in Chicago I was inducted into the International Insurance Society Hall of fame (www.insurancehalloffame.org.), which for over 50 years has rewarded those who it con­siders to have made an important contribution to world insurance. I am one of three Italians on the list. It gives me pleasure. Some of those who have been recognised have clearly done more than I have. However, with it I at least pay back the trust that in 1972, Fabio Padoa, then CEO of Generali, placed in me by proposing me as Secretary General of the Geneva Association. And since the Americans sometimes do things big time, a portrait of me, painted by a Trieste painter, Rosignano, hangs in a New York gallery.
Trieste is a city that depends on the sea and the hinterland. Though it has an ancient history its glory days go back to when this hinterland was constituted by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and as such it extended beyond Vienna, particularly from the end of the 1700s. Then, the wars and the iron curtain.
Today it seems clear to me that Europe is the true hinterland for Trieste. A Europe which at the beginning placed it on a marginal border. A Europe that is now increasingly open and puts Trieste once more in a strategic position.
For this reason the “European Papers” make space, when possible, for contributions from the countries of Eastern Europe. For the same reason, as a member of the World Academy of Art and Science (www.worldacademy.org) I contributed to the founding of its South East European Division, on the occasion of the world conference of the Academy in Zagreb in November 2005. Credit goes to Ivo Šlaus, Honorary President of the World Academy of Art and Science, Professor of Nuclear and Particle Physics at Zagreb University, member of the Club of Rome (see some of his articles in the European Papers).
We were then invited, together with half a dozen “academics” to the home of Stipe Mesle, former President of Croatia (he had also been the last President of the second Jugoslav Republic).
Before dismissing us he gave each of us a bottle of white wine he had produced. I told him: “Thank you, I’ll drink it the day Croatia enters the European Union”. He answered, “Drink it now. That will take some time. That day I’ll give you another!”. I count on re­­minding him soon of his promise.
So, the Trieste hinterland becomes wider and deeper.


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