Imagined Futures with Cecilia Aversa

I could define myself as a facilitator. As a civil servant, I’ve been devoted for more than a decade to discover the potential of innovative ecosystems, and encourage amazing talents to achieve outstanding goals with social impact, from Earth to Space… As a Professor, I am a challenger. Educating future generations of leaders demands great responsibility and commitment to inspire them to think big for doing big, regardless -and sometimes in spite of- their own professional career.

Describe your ideal Imagined Future in 3 words and what does this Imagined Future look and feel like?

Collaborative. Collective. Wellness. A future where with equal opportunities for boundless success. I believe we all have “the key” to make a difference: that’s the richness of the diversity and uniqueness of the human race. There are endless blank pages and empty spaces that are waiting for our contributions. And I strongly wish that everyone can assume, with responsibility, this freedom of choice, even knowing that no disruptive path is, nor will be, challenge-free.

How do these elements of an imagined future play out in your day to day life in who you are as a person and the work that you do?

Raising visibility on a social problem, creating collaborative environments for brilliant minds that will contribute to design solutions, and facing the challenges of its implementation, is a journey of continuous learning. I was fortunate to work with and for engineers, technologists, astronomers, doctors, biologists, environmentalists, social scientists, entrepreneurs, in a broad range of initiatives, from a molecular discovery to satellite launchings into orbit. And in each experience, I gained to challenge my limits, instead of limiting my challenges, even while immersed in extremely rigid structures resistant to change. Each effort took perseverance and courage to overcome frustrations and required advocacy to inspire others to do it as well.

What is one thing or an idea that doesn’t exist that you wished did?

“I was once told that dialogue is the basis of understanding, and that understanding is the basis for collaborartion. This is our debt to future generations…”

I was once told that dialogue is the basis of understanding, and that understanding is the basis for collaboration. This is our debt to future generations… Though in popular imagination heroes and leaders may not differ, they certainly do in practice: we see paladins vs. peers, or individual challenges vs. shared missions. Heroes can do incredible things. But leaders, and servant leaders, encourage others to achieve them jointly under the most democratic umbrella, treasuring the equal right to be different.

If there is a time capsule in the distant future with a message from you, what would your message say?

I will stick to “be the change you want to see in the world” and only add one thing: just dedicate your life to it.

If you could recommend anyone else to answer these questions who would it be and why?

Dreamers. It is an excellent exercise to resize the wonderful capacity of dreaming. The capacity to model a world in our minds, a world that does not exist but, someday, may do.

Dr. Cecilia Aversa, Eisenhower Fellow driving Innovation around the globe.

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