ISSUES ON CHINA – An incredible first edition

Last week I had the pleasure to greet students and thank all the participants of the first edition of “Seasonal School – Issues on China”. This event was launched by Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and took place digitally from 9 to 13 November 2020. I had the honor to coordinate its development, together with Professor Nicola Bellini and my team, both in Pisa and Chongqing. 

The Seasonal School was dedicated to the memory of the former Consul General of Italy in Chongqing, Filippo Nicosia, a close friend and supporter of the activities of Sant’Anna in China and our Galilei Institute based in Chongqing University.

The Seasonal school was characterised by an approach full of curiosity and constant listening to the experiences from the field. Almost forty people had the chance to describe their relationship and first hand experience with China to the fifteen students enrolled in the program. 


The Seasonal School “Issues on China” was an attempt made by Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies to open its digital doors and its skills to the ones interested. Our main goal was to concentrate in five days on an offer that differed from the others for the large number of experts involved, for the quality of their contributions and finally for their unique vision on the field. I am fully convinced we fulfilled the initial expectations. Each of us gave a fundamental contribution to the success of the event. 


This first edition offered an introduction to the economic, social, political and legal aspects of contemporary China, through the lens of the main research activities promoted by the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa. The school provided participants with the opportunity to develop the necessary background to understand some of China’s main issues such as the phenomenon of tourism, geopolitical and international positioning, technology transfer and Chinese legal system. We discussed the topics of innovation, social and technological change, tourist flows of people, diplomatic relations. 

The inaugural seminar was open to the public. 


The speakers were diplomats, university professors, researchers, managers, entrepreneurs: they were able to offer their experience in the field of Sino-Italian relations, and their vision for the future. The first day and the conclusive panel were turned into live webinars and they were able to attract the interest of more than 120 people. The first seminar focused on the diplomatic relations between Italy and China, while the second was moderated by the journalist Simone Pieranni and brought the topic of innovation with “Chinese characteristics”. 


China is not only an outlet market for our exports. As wisely pointed out by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is also important to consider the “Made by Italy” in China: our presence in terms of investments, at the distribution and production level.

I think that the Seasonal School dedicated to the memory of a fine Italian diplomat like Filippo Nicosia, who invested all of his energies to pursue an exploration of China and Asia with curiosity, has been an excellent starting point and study towards a no prejudices approach to contemporary China. Filippo would have been happy for the conclusions and learning opportunities offered  by the Seasonal School.

 Thank you Filippo, you will  always be with us. 

Filippo Nicosia