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

Francois Villeroy de Galhau speaks at the invitation of the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori
Another ‘Great Encounter’ was arranged by the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori in Florence’s Odeon theatre to mark the 3rd edition of the ‘Young Factor’ initiative (for the 2016/17 academic year) in front of 1,000 Italian students who were themselves participants in the initiative. This meeting and dialogue with the remarkable Governor of the Bank of France Francois Villeroy de Galhau constituted part of the program started years ago by the Osservatorio which 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 and UniCredit.
This same cycle of meetings had welcomed other speakers in the past such as 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 and the Governor of the Bank of Spain Luis M. Linde. ‘Young Factor’ 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. During his introductory speech, the president of the Osservatorio Giovani-Editori stressed Andrea Ceccherini stressed that “Ignorance costs. And financial and economic ignorance costs dearly. We at the Osservatorio believe that where there is greater ignorance there is a stronger obligation to educate. ‘Young Factor’ was launched with this in mind, to promote a wide-spread program of economic and financial education in Italian high school. The fact that more than half a million Italians are already enrolled in the program gives us both faith and courage. It’s a sign that there is a generation among us that has not resigned itself to leaving Italy behind, but is instead pulling their weight to help it advance.”
The meeting was chaired by the Deputy-Editor of the Corriere della Sera Federico Fubini, and saw the Governor of the Bank of France take questions from both Fubini and the students present on a range of topics including Europe, the Euro, 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. Villeroy de Galhau opened his speech by turning to the 1000 students from all over Italy and saying “Thank you to Andrea Ceccherini for having invited me to Florence today to speak to all you students”. Then, having heard the student’s questions, he wished to congratulate them, saying “I am impressed by the level of your questions. I’m normally used to those asked by journalists, but yours are also both really appropriate and interesting”. Governor Villeroy de Galhau, who took to the floor on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, also made a special reference to this celebration and to the meaning it has had over the years and he compared the situations before and after the Treaty.