The Influence of Diplomacy – As told by an Ambassador

As this issue is all about the power of influence, we could not help but notice the active influence of his excellency, Nicola Lener, the Italian Ambassador to the U.A.E. Since the beginning of his term, the interrelations between the U.A.E and the Italian Republic have seen a remarkable hike, especially the cultural and economic sectors. In the following lines, you will explore how much an ambassador can do to influence, solve and develop. Mr. Lener’s presence in all the events he attends, have always left a great impact on everyone who meets him or even having a simple conversation with him. His goal is to build bridges of understanding and cooperation through all possible channels. 

Our team had the honor of interviewing Mr. Lener in the embassy in Abu Dhabi, where we have come face to face with the most senior Italian Ambassador in the UAE. 

How would you describe the development in the relations between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Italy, since the time you’ve been appointed as the Ambassador, since October 2019? 

Well, two-three years have passed since the pandemic has had a global impact. Our relations with the U.A.E have always been positive. If I may say, because we have always fostered our relations. We are grateful toward the leadership Government in the U.A.E for supporting Italy in the darkest of times, by providing supplies that were required from our end. The interactions and collaborations in the exchange of  knowledge, experiences and information between the doctors in the U.A.E and Italy were always positive. This in turn helped create a smooth, fluid and frank relation between Italy and U.A.E. I have seen the relations between our leaders grow into something more meaningful. It was always constant. 

Being the first in the GCC Region, what impact had Italian culture and institutions had on the cultural scene in Abu-Dhabi and U.A.E? 

We have been trying to establish an Arts & Culture institute, before the pandemic took over. We then shifted into a remote mode for the institute to organise and happen, during the pandemic. It’s fortunate that the results were interesting. We then gradually developed, by opening arts and culture institutes and also conducting a few exhibitions pertaining to Italian Jewelry. We had also opened an art exhibition as well, which had taken place a couple of months ago. The institute is to help the public know more about our culture and what we stand for. 

Before being appointed as the Ambassador for the U.A.E, you had been appointed as the head of economic and commercial officer. There were other prominent professions as well that you previously held in Rome. In these positions, you have visited a total of three Arab countries. How would you describe your experience in working in the Arab world, in general and to be specific, the U.A.E? 

It’s been an amazing experience for me to work in these three Arab countries. Each of them have their own characteristics, and differences in areas. In all these three countries, Italy has a very strong image and also in the relations created with the U.A.E. I feel Italy has a long-standing and good impression as far as the culture is concerned in relation with the Mediterranean and Arab world. The Italian culture and economy has been known to exist everywhere and possess a strong influence in the Mediterranean regions and some in the Arab World. We get along well with everyone in the Arab World as I feel we share similar interests and activities. 

Between Economy, Politics, Culture and Tourism, which of these, do you think, is the driving force for Italy’s influence? 

I feel it’s the culture, as we are considered a country of beauty. We try to have beauty as a point of interest in our life and expressions. In business, technology, manufacturing and design, we look at beauty from a conceptual point of view instead of looking at it from an aesthetic point of view. Beauty is the element that puts together all these elements that also puts together a range of competencies coming from a range of different sectors. It’s complex and a bit more constant. Beauty is the theme of our pavilion, at the EXPO 2020. 

In your opinion, What is the most important Italian achievement, by an Italian, being an individual or a company, in the U.A.E? 

It’s a very difficult question to be very honest. Generally speaking, we are proud about the fact that we are able to contribute to the growth and development of this country in many aspects. But, if we have to consider one specific landmark, it’s nice to be recognized in terms of space which I find to be very rewarding. This is an interesting and proud reminder of our relations, such as the Ferrari world in Abu Dhabi in collaborations. The economic presence from Italy, here in the U.A.E has been a game changer and a good booster, in terms of design, architecture, commercialization and opening other business ventures. It’s been present from 2018 and 2019, which is fairly recent. For instance, in individual landmarks, when we come to know that one Italian national is recognized here in the U.A.E For their contributions, under the new legislation it is a  very symbolic moment. Another proud highlight from our end, is by establishing the first Italian school here in the GCC. 

What about Arts? Italy is very well known for its art and culture as it has contributed a lot to the U.A.E . Do you think Italian Art is represented as it should in the U.A.E? 

In a sense, yes. Italian art, architecture is pretty much present in the U.A.E. Next, we’ll also be having a publication that will detail our achievements and contributions here in the U.A.E. which will be published shortly. We are still working on expanding more here in the U.A.E in establishing a more prominent presence and accomplish more. Next year we will be able to open an Italian school here in the GCC areas and the U.A.E, which will be the first. We are still working in developing this further. This will be another accomplishment for us. 

Italy has, unfortunately, been one of the countries to have been hit by the COVID19 pandemic. But now it’s moving faster and recovering ahead. Could you give us an insight on how Italy faced and overcame this? 

Italy was one of the first countries to have been hit by the pandemic. We were all shocked as we were the first. It also affected our minds, making us think and develop all sorts of painful memories or images in relation to the pandemic. We were all in lockdown. However, we manage to move on and start something new while trying to lead a normal life again. Italy has developed newfound confidence, by starting health related campaigns for children, finding the necessary sources for vaccination, etc. Italy’s economy still is continuing to grow and advance. We are also ready to seize new opportunities and embark on ambitious ventures, thanks to the European plan, which is already being implemented by Italy and will take place soon, along with some legislation reforms in terms of infrastructure, trade, investments and growing businesses. It is an action plan formed by the European Union. It is a big challenge and a big opportunity to update our systems in making it more friendly. If you are asking me, which has been the biggest game changer? It is definitely the vaccine. 

About the Italian Pavilion in Expo, what is the most interesting thing you’d advise the visitors to see at the Italian Pavilion in theExpo? 

This is another difficult question. But a precise answer I can give, would be the whole pavilion is a very interesting set-up, in terms of its architecture and design. It is a big and amazing container of architectural technologies. Having said that, personally, the most interesting technology showcase there is the spirulina algae pools. It has a number of properties, which contains 1.8 tonnes of Co2. It is a very natural solution. It is a very interesting technology, developed by my region, in Sardinia, where technologies are being developed. There in our pavilion, you can find a model of the rocket, including a launcher. You can find the converted plane as well. 

The Victor Magazine actually, was created for two main reasons. Being in English we want to tell our readership about Dubai, what’s happening in Dubai and the public talents that are homegrown. We also want to provide a platform for the talents here in the U.A.E and abroad. Because we were faithful to this vision in the beginning months, considering this vision, what would you tell the readership of Victor Magazine in Italy? 

I will suggest that they keep reading the magazine and spreading the voice about the magazine. Because it’s important to know what’s happening and taking place in the U.A.E, which the Victor Magazine is able to do. Victor is giving the idea of a global country that is accessible to all talents in many different aspects, other than fashion. Technology and innovation. Your magazine is very transformative, globally. The magazine is welcoming toward different talents who have so much to share, creatively and knowledgeably. This is one way of giving back to your readers. 

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