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Marco Pezzani visits his old school in Parma, Italy

It was back to school for Marco Pezzani, who works at the Brussels-based European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Mr Pezzani visited Parma’s Liceo Marconi on 11 May 2009, as part of Spring Day for Europe.

It was 15 years since he had left the school, and ten years since he had graduated from Bologna University with a degree in European Integration and International Relations. After that he specialised in EU Law and Economics at the Sorbonne in Paris. A self-proclaimed "European", he welcomed the students in English and French, stressing how important it was to learn foreign languages.

Marco Pezzani with a group of teachers and students from Liceo Marconi, in Parma, Italy

"The students were extremely interested in European matters," says Mr Pezzani. "Parma is the headquarters of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which goes some way to explaining their curiosity." He also spoke about the history of the European Union and its institutions, and emphasised the international exchange programmes for school and university students. Mr Pezzani was himself an Erasmus student and a Leonardo intern, spending an academic year at the University of Sussex, UK. He explained the role of the EESC as the voice of organised civil society, and its role in European policy-making.

At the request of the students, Mr Pezzani will pay a return visit on May 25, when he will go into such subjects as opportunities for young people, study and professional programmes and the implications of living in another EU country. "Last but not least," Mr Pezzani concludes, "I still have to check the scores they obtained in the interactive EU quiz I gave them!"

Related information

Website: European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)