The term "governance" is often used as something of a chimera. It's pursued by zealous administrators searching for validation or by politicians as a shield to the uncontrolled changes of the world around us. It translates in an array of indicators and rankings to measure and compete with each other.
But to dispel doubts and manipulations are facts, results, and the "effects of good governance", to use the title of the iconic Medieval fresco by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Not just what the most eager citizen can find by sifting through tables or reports. It is in the number of bus rides, availability of ICUs in hospitals, or the quality of school roofs. It is in the perception of personal and collective security; it is in that citizen's overall well-being, both of the material and immaterial sort.
The past few decades have made it clear that the key issues defining governance today cannot be addressed or resolved by individual states. They take place beyond the State. From climate change to migration, from the digital sphere to the pandemics, everything that surrounds us is the result of phenomena that are local, international or even "planetary". And these phenomena concern the public service for sure, but also the private one, civil society as well as the media.
The correlation of these different factors and levels, and above all the synergy among them, is what we call transnational governance. The pandemic that we are only now putting behind us and that has changed our lives so profoundly shows the importance of transnational governance for solving the most complex challenges.
All this forms the basis of the School of Transnational Governance that we lead at the European University Institute. Thanks to the staunch backing of the European Union, during the past four years we've set out to train the next generation of leaders, experts and officials from around the world in issues of governance beyond the State.
The School is already today a European landmark. We have brought together a world-class team of academics, policy experts, and statespersons to tackle the key issues of our time. Former Presidents and Nobel prize winners discuss with students proposals and solutions to ia, climate financing, artificial intelligence, disinformation, global public health. Just this September, we will launch a new program for new African leaders, twenty of whom, chosen from a grueling selection of almost two thousand candidates, will spend three months of intensive training in Florence.
Thanks to the generous support of the Italian government, from today onwards we will do all this at Palazzo Buontalenti, the magnificent Medici complex in the center of Florence, returned to its original splendor by a meticulous restoration and now equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. Within these walls, which at the end of the 16th century witnessed the era of experimentation and intellectual exchange that gave birth of the Renaissance "new man", we intend to equip talented young men and women with the tools and skills to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.
Our new headquarters will be a veritable European base camp of good governance: open to students, academics, but also policy makers, entrepreneurs and activists, from within Europe and outside it, with particular attention to the emerging countries of Asia, Africa and the Americas. From today, we will also be open to the community, with events, debates and public initiatives that can bring everyone closer to the great challenges that define our future.
As she inaugurated our past academic year, former American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged us to "bring out the best in people". Thanks to the support of the city of Florence, Italy and Europe, this is exactly what we intend to do.
This article originally appeared in La Repubblica, as part of the bilingual "Ideas of Europe" series about the most pressing issues of our times, a collaboration between La Repubblica and the European University Institute.