Intercultura recently held its 68th Annual Meeting in Florence to close the AFS Centennial celebrations and to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first Meeting in 1955, when the Italian AFS Association was established as a legal entitity: among the large crowd of volunteers who came to Florence, one of them had attended the first meeting in Rome 60 years ago and shared his memories with the audience. At the end of the session, the Board elected Alda Protti as chair and Elio Mineo as vice-chair. Alda had already served as vice-chair of Francesco Falcieri, whose term in office had expired.
A big surprise came at the end of the Meeting, when Roberto Ruffino took the floor and announced that he will retire as the Secretary-General (CEO) of Intercultura at the end of 2016, after 50 years in this position. The Board had been informed about his decision several months ago and had appointed Andrea Franzoi to be the next CEO of Intercultura as of January 2017. A long standing ovation saluted Roberto’s words and the name of his successor.
Roberto was appointed Secretary-General of the Italian association in April 1967 and he has served in this position ever since. At the international level he was a Trustee for 12 years and the founder of EFIL, of which he is the Honorary Chair. He holds an honorary doctor degree from the University of Padua for his intercultural work and a “senior interculturalist award” from SIETAR. In his farewell speech Roberto thanked the volunteers “for their ongoing support, for being so many, so convinced, so different from the shaky institutions of Italy: a visible sign and a promise of a more harmonious co-existence in the world”,
Andrea has been on the staff of Intercultura for several years as the head of training and volunteer development. He holds a degree in international affairs from the Universities of Bologna and Munich. Before joining our staff, he worked in the secretariat of his Regional Government in the office of the Commissioner for Innovation. A returnee himself, he served as the head of his local AFS Chapter in Trento and later as a board member of Intercultura. Currently he is also a member of the board of EFIL.
Simone Caporali (our Executive Director – Chief Operational Officer) has been involved throughout the change process and he will continue to serve in this position also in the future. Roberto will continue to serve as the Secretary-General of the Intercultura Foundation on a part time contract from 2017 on.
In the picture on top: Roberto Ruffino and Andrea Franzoi at the Annual Meeting.