“Young Factor”: a project in pursuit of economic and financial literacy

Ewald Nowotny and Jan Smets guests of the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori

Another great meeting was held at the Odeon Theatre in Florence to mark the launch of the fourth edition of the ‘Young Factor’ initiative for the 2017/18 academic year, promoted by the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori in front of roughly 700 students who themselves were participants in the initiative.
This conference continued the program started years ago by the Osservatorio intended to tackle yet another social and civil challenge, the lack of economic and financial education offered to Italian students, with the help of Intesa Sanpaolo, Banca Monte dei Paschi Siena, UniCredit and more recently UBI Banca, and this year was lucky enough to welcome Ewald Nowotny (Governor of the Bank of Austria) and Jan Smets (Governor of the Bank of Belgium).
In previous iterations of this inaugural meeting, other speakers have included the Governor of the Bank of Italy Ignazio Visco, the previous head of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, the Governor of the German Bundesbank Jens Weidmann, the Governor of the Netherlands Central Bank Klass Knot, the Governor of the Bank of Spain Luis M. Linde and the Governor of the Bank of France Francois Villeroy de Galhau.
‘Young Factor’ itself is currently the leading economic and financial literacy program in Italy by the number of high school students enrolled. A relatively new project, but one that has shown excellent growth and success.
In the course of his introductory remarks, the president of the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori Andrea Ceccherini implored, “We appeal to all those teachers who don’t just consider themselves their students’ instructors, but also as educators of citizens, to all those teachers who haven’t simply signed a contract with the Ministry of Education, but who have signed a contract with our nation to help younger generations grow. These teachers, and only these teachers, are who we consider real ‘stars’, and they ought to know that the Osservatorio is and will always be their home, and that the ‘Quality Information in the Classroom’ and ‘Young Factor’ initiatives ought to be tools at their disposal to leave the world a better place than how they found it.
This event had as its moderators Feruccio de Bortoli (Editor at the Corriere della Sera) and Guido Gentili (Director of Il Sole 24 Ore), and saw the Governors of the Austrian and Belgian Central Banks field questions from not only both moderators but also from all the students present, and these questions touched on topics as diverse as Europe, the Euro, quantitative easing, the recent financial crisis, the outward image projected by Italy and Italians to other European states, and most importantly the need for financial and economic education for younger generations.
The Governor of the Belgian Central Bank turned towards the 700 Italian students from around the country situated in the theatre and opened his speech by saying, “I thank the Osservatorio and Andrea Ceccherini for having invited me to this meeting with Italian students. The project that you are all moving forward is important for the future of our younger generation and most of all to help construct a collaborative future in Europe.”
Then came the turn of the Governor of the Austrian Cental Bank Ewald Nowotny, who himself added “Thank you for the lovely invitiation and thank you above all for having introduced me to the incredibly interesting ‘Young Factor’ initiative that I hope to be able replicate and promote in my own country. This is ultimately a project that helps everyone understand and learn more about economic and financial issues.”.
The closing of the event also saw the fourth partner of the initiative revealed and presented. Starting in the 2018/19 academic year, Ubi Banca will join the three sponsors that have supported the ‘Young Factor’ initiative since its inception, namely Intesa Sanpaolo, Unicredit and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
To mark UBI Banca’s formal entry into the alliance between the Osservatorio and the 3 other banks in support of the ‘Young Factor’ initiative, the Chairman of UBI Banca’s Supervisory Board, Andrea Moltrasio, gave a speech in which he said that, “The main Italian and international observers, including the OECD, all point out the particularly low level of economic and financial knowledge within Italy and especially among its youth. The UBI Banca Group fully endorses the ‘Young Factor’ initiative, along with the other projects launched in collaboration with the school system that all allow economic and financial skills to become part of the basic culture of every citizen.

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