Ursula von der Leyen and Angela Merkel shared their trust in us at the Opening Ceremony of the 2020-2021 Academic Year: sooner or later, the shaping of society will be a responsibility of our generation.
In the past months, the word “future” has been frightening for each of us. Shrouded in uncertainty and confusion, our existence has not been focused on the planning of tomorrow: we started living day by day, giving up on our expectations and our long term plans. For instance, many students had to deal with the disappointment of seeing their graduation ceremony, their exchange program, or the internship of their dreams canceled, experiences which they had been looking forward for a long time and for which they had worked hard. As a consequence, rather than thinking about what will come next, most of us decided to focus on the present and its developments, while putting into pause this scary future.
In light of these thoughts, the Opening Ceremony of the 2020-2021 Academic Year, which indeed was dedicated to the theme of “Society, Europe and the Future”, served as an important lesson.
During the ceremony, we had the unbelievable opportunity to listen to someone sharing their trust in us, in our talent and our ideas. These words of trust, taken alone, should not go without saying, considering the lack of confidence we experienced recently as we, Generation Z, felt more and more powerless and victims of the events, as we were asked to make sacrifices and to renounce to the best years of our lives.
Moreover, the people sharing these words are overwhelming, for what they represent. No one less than the most powerful leaders of today’s Europe. No one less than the two most powerful women of current times, icons of the process of inclusion, which is reversing centuries of patriarchy and finally driving a change in society.
Also, President Mario Monti remarked why they decided to speak: “Dear Bocconi Students, the speech by President von der Leyen, which will be delivered shortly, is essentially addressed to you. But, along the same line, I have a surprise for you. Last night I received a message, essentially for you, from the current President of the Council of the EU and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel”.
The current president of the Council of the EU, unexpectedly, decided to share kind and strong words for us, right on the day of the opening ceremony of the new academic year: “Sooner or later, many of you will play a part in shaping this future in positions of great responsibility. Today, you are laying the foundations for this as you enter a new phase of your life”. In other words, – did we hear well? – the most powerful woman for the ninth year in a row according to Forbes, told us that one day we will be in her place. And that these months we are spending at home, renouncing to our leisure and social life, will be the base of our future.
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, on a Saturday morning, in the midst of the negotiations of the Recovery fund, decided to live speak during this ceremony, to spend positive and inspiring words for our Milan and for Italy, and, especially, for us students: “Building the future will depend on you, on the next generation of Europeans. You are studying to be the leaders of tomorrow – in business, in politics, in academia and in society. The future will be what you make of it. Europe will be what you want it to be. So best of luck for this new Academic Year. It will be harder than many other years. But Europe needs you more than ever. Your talent. Your ideas. Your engagement”.
A positive and encouraging look into our future and a genuine trust in our potential are exactly what we need in these shady times.
Thanks again for giving us this unique opportunity, mamma Bocconi.