Giancarlo Elia Valori

Biographical Profile of the Cavaliere del Lavoro Prof. Giancarlo Elia Valori
Cavaliere del Lavoro Prof. Giancarlo Elia Valori

Giancarlo Elia Valori, was born in the province of Venice, but Roman by adoption, has two degrees: one in Economics and another one in Political science. After the courses of advanced management training and specialization, through special internships and economic-financial master in the United States of America, he has been an assistant to the Institute for Economic Research at the University of Denver, one of the most prestigious private universities in Colorado.

He has had an intense teaching activity as professor of tax law and law, respectively, at the universities of Naples and Bologna, as well as in other important universities of cosmopolitan economy and international relations, including: the “Schiller College – an American University in Europe” in Paris, the “Salvador” in Buenos Aires and the “Sapienza” in Rome, has carried out a fruitful and intense consulting activity. First at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, in the first government chaired by Aldo MORO (from 22 July 1964 to 23 February 1966, in the political coalition DC – PSI – PSDI – PRI); then, through targeted projects of economic planning, with the Ministers of Budget (Luigi Pieraccini and Giovanni Preti), as well as with “La Compagnie Finanziere Conseil” of Edmond Rothschild in Paris, with the International Monetary Fund in Washington for specific studies on the problem of exchange rates and on the reform of the international monetary system and with the General Secretariat of the C.E.P.A.L. (United Nations Commission for Latin American Countries).

For the validity of his multifaceted commitment as a manager, lecturer and economist on an international scale, he has become, in the unanimous judgment of the national public conscience, a key point of reference in the “privatisations of large companies” for having carried out, with great success and admiration, the privatisation of the Autostrade Group and the SME-Società Meridionale Finanziaria, considered the flagship of the Italian agri-food industry.

The SME, the largest and most important public group in the Italian agri-food industry, was further optimized and strengthened during the presidency of prof. Valori, through the control of flourishing companies: the first sector was that of food preserves, with Cirio, Bertolli, De Rica, Società delle conserve alimentari; the second sector included ice creams and frozen foods, with Motta, Antica gelateria del Corso, Surgela and Valle degli Orti; the third, the confectionery sector, managed the brands Motta, Alemagna, Pavesi, Pai; the fourth sector concerned modern distribution with the general supermarket company and Sico; the fifth and last sector included catering, through Autogrill, Sirea, Esco, which also used the Ciao network of Pavesi.

Because of his specific and acclaimed managerial skills, in April 1993 he refused to be appointed Minister of Agriculture, whose position had been offered to him by the then Prime Minister, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

Giancarlo Elia Valori – Ehud Barak
Giancarlo Elia Valori – Liliane Bettencourt

The vocation of facing and resolving the various complexities is one of the most important pieces of the mosaic of action that Valori has been able to create for the service of the country, so much so as to be pointed out as one of the most representative personalities of both the agri-food industry at a global level and in the large European motorway sector.

In this context it is significant to remember the ceremony of the 40th anniversary of Aiscat. The Association wanted to thank its president, Giancarlo Elia Valori, with a commemorative plaque, for having worked, with great intelligence and dedication, from October 1995 to August 1993, while the President Emeritus of the Republic, Francesco Cossiga, in a passage of his speech said, among other things: “the strength of Professor Valori is all in his moral rectitude, in his clean hands which all give him credit for it.

Angelo Costa, a great protagonist in the years of reconstruction and president of Confindustria for two terms, in a touching letter dated 5 February 1966, also expressed his sincere appreciation to Prof. Valori for an essay of Catholic inspiration, “Economia e morale”.

There are few, in truth, who do not know Giancarlo Elia Valori. For these, we recall again the long path at the top of many companies and organizations: Gruppo Autostrade, Sirti Internazionale, Italstrade, SME (Società Meridionale Finanziaria), G.S.-Società Generali Supermercati, Italstrade, IGI (Istituto Grandi Infrastrutture), Blu (mobile phone operator), Unione Industriali di Roma, Confindustria Lazio, Torno Internazionale, Autovie Venete, Milano-Mare and Milano Tangenziali, Sviluppo Lazio, La Centrale Finanziaria Generale, AISCAT (Associazione Italiana delle Società Concessionarie di Autostrade e Trafori), ASECAP (Association europènne des concessionaries d’autoroutes et d’ouvrages à pèage).

Following this last appointment, which was mainly the result of the vote of the French, Prof. Valori was appointed, in Strasbourg, Honorary President of the prestigious Association.

As a strong supporter of the construction of modern railway and motorway axes, Prof. Valori has concretely contributed to the implementation of the Kiev-Odessa motorway, whose artery, which strengthens the strategy of European opening towards the East, is destined to be the fulcrum of connection, between “Corridor 5” and “Corridor 9”, in the Baltic area and the surrounding area of the Black Sea.

Giancarlo Elia Valori – Xi Jinping
Giancarlo Elia Valori – Jacques Delors

Giancarlo Elia Valori is responsible for the implementation of an important and strategic project of far-reaching scope: the construction of the Karakaya dam on the Euphrates river, carried out by the Italian consortium Italstrade-Recchi. This has been possible thanks to his cooperation with the heads of the Ministry of Hydraulic Works of Turkey, when he held the position of Director General of Italstrade. Following this, on 25 June 2008, he was awarded an honorary degree in Economics by the prestigious “TOBB ETU – University of Economics and Technology in Ankara”, in which he writes: “in recognition of his commitment as a manager, teacher and economist, but also for having participated concretely in the implementation of the Karakaya dam on the Euphrates river”.

He currently leads the following companies: International World Group and La Centrale International, as well as the Fondazione Laboratorio per la Pubblica Amministrazione, the Italian Delegation of the Fondazione Abertis and Huawei Technologies Italia (the world’s largest telecommunications company).

He is also vice-president of the prestigious Isituto Weizmann in Paris, as well as a member of the Ayan-Holding Board and of the Advisory Board School of Business Administration College of Management of Israel, Economic Consultant of HNA Group (the Chinese group, world leader in integrated services in tourism, transport, logistics, business and finance), Advisory Committee of the historical-technical Journal “Conservation Science in Cultural Heritage”.

A former lecturer in “Communication Sciences in International Relations” at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta in Rome, he is currently an “extraordinary professor” of Economics and International Politics at Peking University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China, where future executives are trained.

Despite his onerous “tasks”, he is able to wear, tirelessly, the role of manager, not without curbing the meritorious “mission” in many areas of cultural and social life on a global level. He holds important Chairs in prestigious universities: Yeshiva University in New York (President of the Chair of Peace in Italian Jewish Political Thought at the Faculty of Political Science), Hebrew University in Jerusalem (President of the Chair for Studies on Peace and International Cooperation), Peking University (President of the Chair of Peace, Security and International Development at the Faculty of International Relations), as well as Director of the Advisory Committee of the Institute for International Studies.

His exceptional commitment in the numerous and delicate positions he held during his long and brilliant career has aroused admiration and respect even beyond national borders: as ambassador of culture and national entrepreneurship he has brought the colours of Italy everywhere in the world, obtaining unanimous approval and significant merits in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Giancarlo Elia Valori – Zhang Gaoli
Giancarlo Elia Valori – Shimon Peres

As a person of non-violence he has been at the forefront in defense of human life and peace among peoples, which he strongly defends and supports without any ideological preclusion through an admirable commitment to the service of solidarity and brotherhood. In this regard, on the occasion of the European Conference of Rabbis on 29 June 1999 in Prague, he received the “Sir Moses Montefiore Prize”, the highest international recognition of the Jewish world attributed by the World Centre for Religious Services for the Diaspora.

In the motivation of which it is written: “The dedication to the Jewish people in general and to the Italian Community in particular, through a strong and tenacious commitment, also carried out in the University of Jerusalem”.

The friendship that binds Giancarlo Elia Valori to Israel is well-known to everyone of the symbolic moments of this close bond, moreover publicly manifested over the years, can be identified in the opening of the “Ben Gurion Center” at Peking University on March 3, 1993. On the occasion of the historic event, the then Israeli Foreign Minister and his personal friend, Shimon Peres, said: “Giancarlo Elia Valori has built a solid and important bridge between Israel and China, which would not have been possible without his foresight and dedication”. Shimon Peres himself, during his first official engagement as Prime Minister, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, publicly declared that “Professor Valori is an exponent of a long Italian tradition characterized by tolerance towards his neighbor and other peoples, a tradition of people who wanted to tie his positions to the fate of our people.

Among his many awards, the title of Honorable deserves special mention. It was awarded on 18 February 2002 “for its unique and invaluable commitment and for the actions undertaken in favour of the Académie des Sciences of the Institut de France”. To which was added, subsequently, the appointment as “President of honour” of the same International Foundation.

This title of “Honorable” is not only a “truly extraordinary honor”, created exceptionally for him, but it is mainly a “title for life” equal to the rank of “immortel”, inherent to every member of the Institut de France, of which the Académie des Sciences, founded in 1666 by Jean Baptiste Colbert, is part.

Among other things, Valori is the first and only Italian to boast a title that was, more than three centuries ago, of Cardinal Giulio Mazzarino. To seal this affinity, on the occasion of the celebrations of the fourth centenary of the birth of the high prelate, the town of Pescina, which gave birth to this illustrious figure, conferred him honorary citizenship.

L’incontro di Emilia e Giancarlo Elia Valori con Deng Xiaoping in occasione delle celebrazioni del 30° anniversario della Repubblica
Giancarlo Elia Valori e Mr. Lu Hao Giugno 12016

Few people know that the “Legion of Honour” that the then French president Francois Mitterand handed over to Valori is a recognition “earned in the field”: when, in 1988, he managed to obtain the liberation of three Jews, kidnapped in Lebanon, three years earlier, by the Islamic group called “Organisation de la justice revolutionnaire”. Valori was asked by some authoritative friends, “so to speak international”, to intercede with the then North Korean President – Kim Il Sung, known in 1975 in China during the opening of the RAI correspondence office – in order to obtain the liberation of the hostages. The North Korean leader, following the request of his friend Valori, asked the Iranian government to exert its influence on the kidnappers and, on May 5, 1988, Jean Paul Kauffmann, journalist of the French television, Marcel Fontane and Marcel Carton, operators of the same station, were finally released. And only ten years later, after the dissolution of the state secret, it became known that this was possible thanks to the intervention of an authoritative Italian citizen.

In the same universities of Beijing and Jerusalem, he also chairs, respectively, the “Euro-China Center”, an appreciated body that helps to develop and make more fruitful the exchanges between countries of different cultures, while in Jerusalem he is the Director of a specific degree course, in the Faculty of Law, open to both Jewish and Arab students.

The conferences on international and economic issues which, over the years, he has held in the most important international universities, where he has been received, have been very valuable. In addition to these numerous and significant honorary academic titles, he had received, during his life, the praise of the authorities, the faculty and students.

In this context, he made a “special” speech on the theme: “China in the geo-economic and geopolitical quadrant of the Mediterranean”, on the occasion of his investiture as a “Numerary Member” of the “Royal Academy of Economic and Financial Sciences” in Barcelona (one of the most important cosmopolitan universities of economic and financial doctrines), in which, with eloquence and undisputed capacity for analysis, he traced the progressive economic expansion of the Asian colossus. The topic of which, of great topicality, has been appreciated by the top management of the Athenaeum, headed by Professor Jaume Gil Aluja.

In this context, it is important to remember a passage from the intervention of the French ambassador in Rome who, in handing over to Valori the insignia of “Knight of the Legion of Honour” for special merits by President Mitterand, expressed over himself as follows: “Professor Valori is a man who knows how to look beyond his own borders to understand the world. But he is also a true European who does not forget how much Europe is his own country and how, through the development of each one, the future of all can be built and founded…”.

Highly esteemed in France, following his conferral to the coveted decoration of “Officier of the Legion of Honour”, Giancarlo Elia Valori became part of a very small elite of particularly authoritative personalities from beyond the Alps. But there are many other countries that have included him among the most esteemed and admired, giving him high and significant awards. Among them was his beloved country, where he received the highest honours as Knight of the Grand Cross and Knight of Labour of Merit of the Italian Republic.

Edificio Valori – Peking University – Beijing
Valori con Presidente Francesco Cossiga e D’Alema

A life spent at the top of large private and public companies has not prevented him from working with great dedication and will even in the varied cultural field, in which he received from UNESCO the appointment of “Ambassador of Good Will”, for his commitment to the dissemination and promotion of the heritage of knowledge in the most noble meanings.

In addition to essays on characters such as “The Giant David – Ben Gurion between myth and reality” or current topics such as “The Difficult Peace – Anguishes and Hopes in the Middle East”, his numerous and appreciated works, including: “Geopolitics of Space”, enriched by the preface of the President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres and the President Emeritus of the Italian Republic Francesco Cossiga, offered valuable insights and a significant contribution during qualified debates, in particular, on a united Europe.

His editorial initiatives were of great interest: “La via della Cina – Passato, presente e futuro di un gigante della storia”, published by Rizzoli; “Il Risorgimento oltre la storia”, written on the occasion of the opening of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy; “Antisemitism. Holocaust. Negation – The great challenge of the Jewish world in the twenty-first century”, published by Mondadori; “The just in unjust times”, published by Rizzoli; “The future is already here – The scenarios that will determine the events of our planet”, published by Rizzoli; “Mediterranean between peace and terrorism”, published by Rizzoli and enriched by the preface of Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel, Guido De Marco, President Emeritus of the Republic of Malta, and the columnist Stefano Folli.

The recent work, “Oil – The new geopolitics of power”, is deeply appreciated at international level. The concepts expressed within have been masterfully edited to offer a clearer idea of what is really happening in the Mediterranean. The concept of “geopolitics of power”, in the light of the new socio-cultural knowledge, has been expanded through the involvement of other more global and important aspects of people’s lives. In this perspective are also placed the previous works – “Geopolitics of food” and “Geopolitics of water” – which together with the most recent literary effort, “Geopolitics of health”, represent a whole, which makes us reflect and opens scenarios on the crucial issues for the life and well-being of humanity.

Valori con il Presidente della Rep. Pop. Cinese Yang Sang Kun
Giancarlo Elia Valori con Jang ZeMin

IIn this book he wanted to bring out the metaphors of life: health, diseases and their geographical and political distribution, treatments, drugs, the relationship between traditional medicines and the most modern techniques, in order to make known to readers, despite the complexity of joint geopolitical situations, connected to an increasingly globalized world, even the cause-effect on some symptoms or serious diseases that threaten humanity, dramatically in tumultuous evolution.

Specifically, “Geopolitics of water – The gold rush of the new millennium”, published by Rizzoli and enriched by the preface of Antonio Maccanico, is an editorial initiative born from a conversation with the President Emeritus of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, which offers a clear and complete perspective on the development of the concept of water, matured within the system of capitalist values and on the consideration of how much this important good of humanity, not only physically, weighs on a social level, considering that, one litre of this “gold” weighs more than one litre of oil.

The new works are also much appreciated by the critics: “Raimondo di Sangro – Il Principe di Sansevero e la magia dell’Illuminismo” (Raimondo di Sangro – The Prince of Sansevero and the magic of the Enlightenment), composed to remember this illustrious figure who has contributed a great deal to the national culture and to the diffusion of the values of the Enlightenment, as well as “Intelligence and Geopolitics – Reflections in Freedom”, with a particular dedication to his friends, Francesco Cossiga and Fulvio Martini. It is a very special volume, which was missing in our editorial panorama, because it captures an essential point: intelligence is a fundamental instrument for delineating, managing and developing foreign policy. But it is especially so today, in the disorder we are experiencing at every level, in particular, in the Mediterranean area.

Of particular interest is also “Geopolitics of Uncertainty”, as well as “Globalisation, Governance, Asymmetry – Instability and Post-modern choices”, published by Rubbettino, two works which contain a varied collection of articles by Prof. Valori on a cross-section of society in which the principal phenomena connected with globalization are described.

In recognition of the validity of his multifaceted commitment as a scholar and publicist with a universal scope, he has received numerous awards. Among them: the journalistic award “Ischia Mediterraneo” (of which he was, later, President of the Jury), for having enhanced the Mediterranean area with acute and original analysis on geopolitical and geo-economic relations; the “Stall for International Relations”; the “International Award for Culture”, by the “International Immigrants Foundation of the United Nations”, for the strong commitment to promote and strengthen socio-cultural relations between Europe and China.

Together with him, in 1993, this coveted recognition was received by other international personalities, including: Mikhael Gorbachov, Jorge Mas Canosa, Jonas Salk and Eugenio Alberto Lestelle.

A special mention, however, deserves the other prizes received from the “World Council of Pan-Africanism” (COMOPA), such as: “Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Comopa”, an honor reserved only for Heads of State and African officials of the highest rank as Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros Ghali, and the award of the “Grand Prize Literary 2011”, meaning the commendable contribution that Professor Valori has made to the progress of Africa in various areas: from international diplomacy to the realization of geopolitical studies of the highest level, which have allowed to contribute fully to the history of the Continent since the ’80s, as well as to annihilate ancient ethnic discrimination in the fervor to achieve a common space in the field of civilization, progress and peaceful coexistence.

Giancarlo Elia Valori con Shimon Perez e Sir James David Wolfensohn