InfoNegocios: How did your diplomatic career begin?
Giulia Campeggio (GC): The diplomatic career is done by public competition, as in all countries, and mine began 10 years ago in Rome, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. First I was in an office for energy and environmental affairs, then in another for Somalia -Africa- affairs, and then I ended up working in the office of the deputy minister, where I began to travel to do missions and follow these issues. Then I went to Buenos Aires, where I spent 4 years as a political adviser at the Italian Embassy.
IN: And how did you get to Buenos Aires? Was it your choice, too?
GC: Yes, lists come out and one asks for the available destinations, you can choose several among those that are available, and then you compete with other people. And my first option was Buenos Aires, since I knew, but had never lived. Argentina seemed to me an extremely interesting country, culturally close to Italy, geographically distant, with many things in common and perhaps with many more to work on, and that is also a nice challenge for a diplomat. And working in all countries is not the same, each one has its characteristics, and for an Italian diplomat working in Argentina is a nice challenge, because there are many things to do, at all levels. That’s why it seemed like a nice country to work in.
IN: Did you then ask for the Córdoba destination? What is your specific job here as Consul General of Italy?
GC: Yes, destiny came out and I asked for it. They are always 4 years, and here in Córdoba I have been here for a year and a half. It is a nice challenge, because it is working with people, and consular work is different from what is done in an embassy; while this deals with relations between two countries, the consulate is the state at the service of citizens and cultural promotion.
IN: For how many provinces does this Consulate have jurisdiction?
GC: This Consulate has jurisdiction for 7 provinces, which are Córdoba, Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, La Rioja, Catamarca, Salta and Jujuy, a territory that is two and a half times Italy, that is also interesting, with many Italians. We have more than 115,000 registered Italians, among all these provinces, but the majority are in Córdoba, and the number is growing, it is a dynamic number because it also depends on all the new citizens that we recognize, and working on that the number progressively grows.
IN: How inserted do you see the Italian language in the educational system of Córdoba?
GC: Here we have a parity school, which is the Dante Alighieri, which means that the boys come out with the same degree that I received, for example, in Italy, and they can go directly to study and do a university degree there directly. And there are also many bilingual-bicultural schools here, where not only Italian is taught, but mathematics, history or literature classes are given, for example, in Italian, and Italian culture, geography, history, etc. are also taught. .
We also have a very important agreement with the Province of Córdoba for the teaching of Italian in 32 public schools. It is a very important project, since we are talking about more than 8,000 students. The last agreement was signed in March of this year with the governor. And this is part of one of the challenges.
IN: What other challenges did you set for yourself when you became a Consul?
GC: When I arrived I basically proposed three things: first, to bring the consulate closer to the people. Because sometimes, due to the great demand that there is and the few of us who are here, it feels like a distance, it is not clear what is done in a consulate. The idea is to go out into the street for a bit, tell what the consulate is doing, be available for all questions; We try to answer emails within 24 hours, and I also opened a new telephone service that works every day, two hours a day, so that people can call to request information about consular services. And we also wanted to do this of bringing the consulate closer to the people by traveling through the provinces, with the Itinerant Official. This year we did 11 missions, traveling. We did not only do all the 7 provinces, and we even visited some twice, but we also launched an Itinerant Official in the Province of Córdoba, where there are many Italians, such as San Francisco, Colonia Caroya, Villa María, Bell Ville, Marcos Juárez, and perhaps now we will go to Río Cuarto.
IN: What was the second objective?
GC: Improve consular services. We finished with everything that had accumulated throughout the pandemic. We reduced waiting times, we greatly increased the numbers, now we do around 800 passports per month. The number of AIRE Registration also increased, from the beginning of the year until now we have registered more than 8,000 people, and we have recognized more than 4,000 new Italian citizens. We also greatly increased everything related to civil status registration, such as a marriage, a birth, a death, which is extremely important because having the civil status in order allows us to obtain and make the passport immediately.
And thirdly, to work on the dissemination and promotion of the Italian language and culture, and we do it with the Italian Institute of Culture and with the community.
IN: What is the role of the Itinerant Official?
GC: It is an official from the consulate who literally leaves with a suitcase that has a machine inside to get to the place where the honorary consuls, consular agents or simply an Italian company or an association that receives us in a place where the official can open this suitcase and take out the machines to take the fingerprints, take the photos, receive the request to be able to get or renew the passport that the person already has, and when they return to Córdoba it is printed and sent by mail to the corresponding address. Previously, a shift must be made, very easy, with an email.
We announce the mission through social networks and through the newspaper, to disseminate it, and people know, for example, that on December 3 the opportunity to enable these shifts will open up. They only have to send an email with the form, where they specify that they are residents of San Francisco, for example, if the mission is done there, they send their information, and we check in our database that that person is well registered, and has everything in order, such as births or marriages. After checking all the data, we convene people through email so that the official who is traveling can receive them. This allows people to avoid coming to Córdoba, and save time and money. And in one day, in cities like Bell Ville, for example, we can do more than 100 passports.
IN: What would you like to highlight about Italy here from the role you play?
GC: It is important that young people can get closer to Italian culture and know what Italy is today, which is not the Italy of the 50s. What I like to highlight about Italy are the values, rights, sustainability… The country is betting a lot on that, and it is what Italy wants to propose worldwide. And these are the issues that Italy, for example, is presenting for Rome’s candidacy to host the Universal Exposition in 2030. That is the Italy that we want to spread and that is known today.
IN: Italy is very present in our country through companies that decided to invest here, but also through companies that were directly founded by Italians in Argentina. Do you still notice a strong Italian presence in this sense?
GC: Around 250 Italian companies have been in the country for decades and continue to bet on Argentina, such as Fiat, ivecowho are here in Córdoba… And yes, there are also companies that were founded by Italian immigrants who came here, and who are now of Italian descent, such as Astori, Porta, Arcor, and we are talking about first-line companies, not only at a national level but also at a regional or global level. And that is a source of pride, that companies of Italian descent, founded by Italians, continue to work well here in Argentina and also looking at Italy.
IN: What are the Consulate’s plans for 2023?
GC: By 2023 we want to increase the number of missions, and that the Itinerant Official is something to do every month, and if possible twice a month, a large mission in another province and a second in Córdoba, because the province is full of Italians. We would also like to start the year and unlock some things, make it easier to do some paperwork. For example, before it was necessary to come here to do some, and now all the civil status part is done remotely, through Fast It, being able to present the papers at any time, since the system always works. That tripled the numbers of everything we can receive, and we dedicate that time to working on what we receive.
We are also introducing these remote modalities in other sectors, for example in the citizenry, to be able to send some papers by mail, to also simplify and help people.
The idea also for 2023 is to be able to end the shifts that took place years ago, in order to increase the number and receive more people.
“In 2022 we recognized more than 4,000 new Italian citizens” (Giulia Campeggio, Consul General of Italy in Córdoba)