Italy’s Ambassador: In Armenia I feel as if I were at home

Italy’s Ambassador: In Armenia I feel as if I were at home

December 23, 2012 | 09:28

By Anna Ghazaryan

Armenian News-NEWS.amcontinues interviews with diplomats working in
Armenia.Italy’s Ambassador to Armenia Bruno Scapini speaks about his
experience, Italian cuisine and secrets of a good diplomat.

Did it happen that you personal opinion differ from the official
position of your country?

Sometimes it may happen that what your government asks for does not
comply perfectly with your ideas. But generally speaking Italy is a
democratic country, and the decision the Italian government makes is
mostly based on what Ambassadors on the spot refer. There is a
continuous exchange of views between the diplomat and the government
to make decision-making process effective.

What is the most difficult thing about your work?

The most difficult thing about diplomatic job is to find the right
balance in everything you do, because this is a kind of profession
that has to deal with a lot of people and with a lot of matters. In
particular, any kind of matter can be within the competence of a
diplomat, when we work abroad. In this case you must have a very open
and wide mind in order to better understand the overall situation and
all its profiles. A balanced evaluation is the secret of a good

You have been to many countries: Ghana, Luxemburg, Slovenia, etc. Do
you think the diplomat must set a goal coming to a new country?

If you mean a professional goal that is something that has to do with
the particular mission you are entrusted with by the government. Each
country has its own characteristics and each government, or the
sending state let’s say, has a particular policy. The diplomat
whatever his rank is has to comply with this particular mission. This
is the professional goal. If you mean a personal goal, that depends on
the single personal disposition. You may like some kind of experience,
for instance in an African country the experience of a safari can be
curious. If you go to a northern country where you can find icy
landscape, there will be a different type of experience. So it depends
on personal disposition. But I do feel that when you go to a country
you must make the most of this experience and you should not lose
time. Ever since you arrive, since you put the first step on the new
floor you must go around, see what that country can offer you and get
into contact with it.

Is there any word or phrase the diplomat must never say?

Well, they say that a diplomat should never say `no’. But I think it
is better for modern diplomacy to be frank, open and sincere because
today the world is so interconnected and there is a way to find the
truth always. If a diplomat is a liar or tries to cover up some facts,
he can be proved as a liar and the person does not become trustworthy
any more. In order to be trustworthy, the diplomat should be like
that, sincere, especially in a foreign country.

You visited many countries. Did you change as a person?

This is a very difficult matter for a diplomat, because actually a
diplomat, through his experience in foreign countries, changing place
many times (we usually change destination every 2-3 years), can be
faced with a lot of challenges. A new experience in a new country can
pose a challenge to the personality and even to the character. That is
where integrity of personality comes in. If a diplomat has also a
strong identity, this identity can be changed or somehow affected by
the experience in the foreign environment, but if the person is strong
in terms of character, it can not be affected by foreign experiences.
Sometimes you can find a person who found a new faith abroad. There
are some diplomats in Italy who changed religion, becoming, for
instance, Muslim, or, in some of the cases they acquired new habits.

Is there anything you miss being out of Italy?

No, I do not miss anything. In Armenia I feel as if I were at home.
Even about food. As Ambassador of Italy I am organizing many cultural
events, and one of the events is the week of Italian cuisine Festival.
Though I got a little experience in this field I and can say that
Armenian cuisine is a sort of Mediterranean cuisine, but you do not
have a code for your cuisine. To have a code means to develop a
specific culture for gastronomy. In Italy we have done this, we have
reached qualification of regional cuisines at the end of 19th century.
But most of the dishes you have are of Mediterranean style and in some
cases are close to some Italian dishes we usually have in southern

They say Armenians and Italians have much in common. Do you agree?

It is true. I was quite amazed when I came here for the first time.
When I arrived in Armenia, first I thought I would find people with a
mentality and culture much closer to Asian. To my great surprise I
found instead that Armenian mentality is close to Europe and
particularly it is very close to Italy. We can share the common
religious values, the same views about morale, ethics, the same kind
of approach to family matters and we share the same traditions in most
social experiences. So, I think between Armenia and Italy there is a
very, very special tight relationship.

Do you like football as every Italian?

I am not a strong sportsman. I follow important international matches
but I do not follow football every day. I do not like to side with any
kind of regional team, only with the national one!

Did you watch Armenia v Italy qualificational match?

Yes, of course. I was present. I was very enthusiastic as I noticed
that the Armenian football team was playing very well and cleverly.
Even Italy’s coach Prandelli made positive comments about the quality
of the Armenian national team.

Ambassador is – he should be a friendship maker. There are also
peacemakers, but for a diplomat it is better to say he is a friendship

From: A. Papazian