What does it really mean to do cooperation

By UniCamillus’ Professors Laura Elena Pacifici Noja and Ugo Giorgio Pacifici Noja

First of all, it is necessary to clarify the meaning of an ancient word which is often, unfortunately, misinterpreted.

Cooperation literally means to work together to reach a common goal. 
For a sort of a strange “semantic shift” this word has begun to means the activity with which generic “aids” are provided.

It seems obvious that this is not the purpose of cooperation.

Or, to say it differently, through cooperation we intend to transmit not only the means, but also the skills to achieve with the partner countries the objectives of fundamental importance. Those objectives  such as the elimination of poverty and the realization of sustainable development, which represent the point of arrival of all cooperation activities.

The institutions and countries of the EU aspire to see the “gap” between the “rich” and “poor” countries increasingly reduced.

In short, it is a question of constantly decreasing the gap that still exists today between the “North” and the “South” of the world.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as everyone remembers, are about people, the planet, life, peace and last but not least, cooperation.

In other words, the ambitious objectives expressed above affect a very wide range of interests: from climate change, to agriculture and emigration.

The OECD itself (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) indicates which countries are “Developing Countries”, according to a formula that is certainly outdated today, yet still very incisive: “it is all those countries with very low levels of development, divided into five categories based on the average level of income per capita”.

The SDGs also and certainly concern health. Indeed, health seems to play a leading role in the sustainable development goals. The extension of vaccination coverage to at least 90% of the world population and the acceleration in the introduction of new vaccines are just two of the many elements that are indicated as fundamental in the action for cooperation activities.

That health rightly plays a leading role is not a surprising fact, especially in an era like the present one.

There are many problems still to be solved: the settlement of internal inequalities together with the decision on the right approach to undertake the resolution process, above all, in order to determine whether this initiative should have a sectoral approach, or rather a “holistic” one. But taking action in a cooperative context means establishing what is technically called “mediation”. And the mediation between local needs and the health systems of countries where cooperative agreements are in place, becomes of fundamental importance.

Is is not even possible nowadays to talk about cooperation without referring to the importance of academic activity and the possibility of “exporting”, if the term can be accepted, culture. 

The activities of universities such as UniCamillus which have as their natural vocation the mission of transferring culture and not of hoarding it, become of fundamental importance as well. 

The University, in fact, is not just a place of preparation for the future professional life of the students. It is also, and above all, the way in which the intellectual education of future leaders is provided.

Prepared managers, but also managers trained to solve concrete problems and to think of themselves as an integral part of the company and not as a superior element far from it.

There are, this is evident, no magical recipes. Yet, solidarity economy and the application of an “idem sentire” (literally “to hold the same views”) through an associative form become more and more common words. It is not a question of linguistic forcing, nor of casual lexical applications. In fact, as it has been widely explained, associations represent one of the most important social representations. It is to a historian of the caliber of Fernand Braudel that we owe the adoption of the term “passerelle” to indicate with a metaphor, not too bold, the path by which two elements apparently distinct from each other are yet inevitably connected to each other.

Laura Elena Pacifici Noja and Ugo Giorgio Pacifici Noja are UniCamillus’ Professors. They teach, respectively, Moral Philosophy in the six-year Degree Course in Medicine and Surgery and General Sociology in the three-year Degree Courses in Nursery and Midwifery.

Both Professors are part of the faculty of the Online Masters, an innovative offer of the University which allows, through an online platform available h24, to reconcile work, study and private life of students.

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