Laura María Calderón Cuevas
Brua | bruapodcasts.com
The guest of our fifth episode is Vanessa Trapani is a graduate of the European Master in Human Rights and Democratisation. She currently works as an independent consultant for the social innovation of SMEs and co-founded an NGO called Sloworking, which is committed to spread a work-life balance culture and support women in their professional and economic empowerment.
Her passion for diversity brought her to the European master in human rights and then led her to an eclectic path. She thinks of diversity as an external concept but as well as a concept that applies to ourselves. We are multidimensional beings and we have to find the balance between all the identities within ourselves.
We have to defend that right to be who we are and who we are becoming in order to be coherent with ourselves. What helped her to be coherent with herself was slowness. Slowness is not about working less but about working better. It is about quality, about relationships, about finding the right time - ‘il tempo giusto’ in Italian-, about making sense of what you do.
She never felt as close as human rights as in her current work situation. Even though she considers herself a local human rights defender, she does not mention human rights in her work and activism, but human rights underpin everything she does (inclusion, empowerment, …). She moved away from what she considered the rhetoric of human rights and advocates for a language of human rights made of concrete actions. The best thing that happened to me is that I forgot about human rights; I was not thinking as a human rights graduate but as a person who wants to make a change. When I was using the discourse of human rights, I was not convincing and I was convincing anybody.. When the language is more concrete, you move more people to action.
Her advice to young graduates:
Make many mistakes! Try many paths! It does not matter if your path is not linear or is different from what you imagined.
The skills she thinks are required to do a similar work to what she does: creativity – to be able to image unusual ways to solve problems- and entrepreneurship.
Ask yourselves: does it make sense what I am doing? Does it make a positive change for somebody? If not, maybe take a step back and reflect on what is the way for you to be coherent with yourself.
The conversation closes with a quote from one of her favourite Polish writers, Ryszard Kapuściński who was a writer and journalist hungry of discovering other cultures and fond of diversity. She used that quote as an opening sentence to her PhD as it shows that language is a manifestation of diversity:
“I understood that each word has its own secret and that access to it is only through learning language.
I understood that the more words I knew, the richer, the fuller and more diverse the world would open to me.”
Ryszard Kapuściński, Travels with Herodotus
Aim for slowness! Creativity needs slowness.
After a degree in Slavic languages in culture in Venice, she studied minority and identity issues in the framework of a MA in European Studies (2002). She completed her PhD studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology in Bilbao, Spain in 2011. After a few years abroad, mainly in Russia and Poland, she worked as a human rights expert at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After moving to Milan, from 2008 to 2016 she has worked as a consultant for the international development of SMEs, with a focus on EU funding. Since 2016 she has become an independent consultant for the social innovation of SMEs and co-founded an NGO called Sloworking, which is committed to spread a work-life balance culture and support women in their professional and economic empowerment.
Alumna of GC Europe
Folllow her on LinkedIn: Vanessa Trapani