Graduated in International Relations and Affairs at Luiss Guido Carli, Alessandra Borchi is now Senior Program Coordinator at the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Let’s go back in time. What memories do you have of study years at Luiss?
My university years at Luiss were years of excitement, hope, sharing, and commitment. It was a time of discovery because through the subjects I studied, I began to envision my career pathway. At Luiss, I was exposed to my first international experience with the Erasmus program in the Netherlands. I treasure this memory and I am grateful to our University for the opportunity.
Are there any values that you think unite Luiss Alumni more than others?
Absolutely. I believe that Luiss students are people who want to excel, assert themselves, build a solid future, and make a positive contribution to the world.
How important is traveling to you to learn about different places and cultures? What is the most significant lesson you learned from traveling and living abroad for a long time?
It is very important both on a professional and personal level. I started traveling when I was very young, and passionate about reading the Odyssey. Saint Augustine put it beautifully, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. I want to read as much of it as possible. I have traveled a lot. The different functions I have held have taken me to visit over 90 countries. Traveling is very powerful and has allowed me to learn more about myself, develop, and improve.
What are the milestones of your career path?
I developed my entire career within the United Nations, in particular at UNESCO in the field of cultural cooperation. Thanks to this experience, I was able to reconcile two different passions: international relations and culture. I worked both in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, but also in country offices in Afghanistan, Tanzania, and Cuba. I managed to see both sides of international cooperation. On the one hand, the “political” work typically executed in headquarters, and on the other, the more operational aspect. Working for the United Nations is a privilege.
What are the most important initiatives underway or planned for the development of cultural relations between Latin American countries and the rest of the world?
Firstly, the Transcultura project, that I am currently managing, aimed at creating a specialist center for heritage trades for the youth in the Caribbean. It is funded by the European Union and involves seventeen countries in the Caribbean. What excites me about this program is the scope of the cooperation between different linguistic areas in the region – these are islands that traditionally have not worked together. Another initiative is the recent inscription of Qhapaq Ñan – the ancient network of roads within the territory of the Inca Empire – on the World Heritage List. This is a very complex project that involves six Latin American countries.
What is your advice to the new generation of Luiss graduates?
Always choose the hardest path, get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and believe in yourself. You must try and try again. Open up to the world. You must have roots and wings – having one without the other will not take you far.
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