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A full life as a pioneer and promoter, exploring new ways and opening them to others, you could write a book but, to synthesize Bruno Grassetti’s life, it is better to start from this end.

Recently, Bruno has opened a new consulting firm in China and a new cultural association for projects with Chinese counterparts and is experiencing a peak of creativity and cultural activity since, in 2014, he received the Friendship Award from the Chinese Government at a ceremony that was held in the People’s Palace in Beijing.

Bruno arrived at Tiananmen Square, invited by the Chinese government, climbed the imposing staircases of the palace, which is the seat of government representation, and received a medal directly from Ma Kai, Chinese Vice Premier along with 99 other personalities from around the world awarded for their active and proactive collaboration with China in the field of science and culture. Usually there are 50 personalities, but in 2014 China celebrated the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic and therefore there were 100 celebrated foreigners.

Bruno started the first of his over 40 visits to China as a delegate of an UN committee dedicated to the development of science and technology in developing countries, UNCSTD. This was in 1983 and Bruno was already a successful engineer teaching Mathematical Models for Economic Planning at the Sapienza University of Rome. He was then made responsible for System Analysis at LUISS (Free University of Rome) and finally for Operations Research at the prestigious IRI Management School.

“He had come to the university based on his expertise; he was the only engineer who had direct experience in applying mathematical models firstly in the oil industry before and later in environmental engineering. He set up models and applied them in his work while in Italy few others understood them. The young engineers had to be at the forefront and the universities needed Bruno for this.

One could say that this is really the essence of his life: a pragmatic engineer used to create solutions that bring wellbeing to many. Bruno has mainly been involved in private businesses but with the mission of supporting government choices or international development.

In 1971 he founded the ISIS Institute for Computer Science and Systems, which is still operational and does studies for the European Community. In 1978 he created the Institute of Industrial Culture and opened an office within the La Selva Park in Paliano, where we met a few years later as office neighbours. At one stage the institute was so active and successful that 32 people were employed.

It was inevitable that Bruno would also be in support of the Minister of Scientific Research and that thanks to his international experiences he was called as the representative for Italy at the UNDP STD Committee.

Now returning to China. On his first trip to this country it was very different from today. A China that was rising up again after Deng Xiao Ping’s changes and was looking to develop Science and Technology also thanks to the transfer of technology from the rest of the world.

In a pragmatic manner, as a true engineer, Bruno begins with the essence and promoted the birth of the National Institute for Food Technology in China along with Professors Peri and Cantarelli of the State University of Milan. It then opened an office in Canton with Maria Omodeo, and operated until 1989, year of the Tiananmen crisis!

“In all the missions I have organized from 1985 to today (around twenty) I have always tried to cooperate with excellent Italian public and private institutions and Chinese counterparts to lay the foundations for lasting and sustainable development.”

For example, in 2002 he organized Tianjin’s “First Week of Italian Life Style” along with 42 Lazio entrepreneurs. An event in collaboration with the Italian Embassy, ​​Istituto di Cultura, ICE and the Chamber of Commerce of Rome, which marked a turning point in the cultural relations between Italy and China.

He subsequently promoted cooperation projects between Trieste Research Area and the Beijing Development Area, the Torino Wireless Foundation, the Rome Space Engineering School and others, always putting culture as the main value when creating international cooperation and development.

In 2015, he was invited by the Chinese government to hold a series of conferences in Beijing, Tianjin and Chongqing, in which, based on the fact that the first two places for Cultural Heritage of Humanity were awarded by UNESCO to Italy and China, it was proposed to organize meetings on creativity, training and planning involving young Italians and Chinese for new entrepreneurial initiatives both in Italy and in China. “Culture is at the base of respect, it makes you choose excellence and does not allow you to engage in mediocrity and in the desire for speculation. Knowhow and knowledge are the basis for evolution and, I would like to add, for a deep and non-superficial happiness.”

In 2016, with the Association Forum Culturalia, he took part in Beijing’s First Digital Culture Meeting promoting an agreement on the creation of Digital Museums with the Zhougguanchun Digital Culture Relics Industry Alliance.

In 2017, with ICID, “International Consulting for Innovation and Development”, founded by Caterina Russo, Sinologist and Executive Director for China, he started a collaboration with the Qingdao Port Authority for the design of an Italian Village in Qingdao.

In short, at the age of 80, we will still see something beautiful created!

Claudia Bettiol

IT Ingegnere, futurista e fondatrice di Discoverplaces. Consulente per lo Sviluppo Turistico dei Territori, specializzato nella sostenibilità e nella promozione culturale dei piccoli territori e delle piccole imprese. Ama i cavalli ENG Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in sustainability and in cultural promotion of small places and small enterprises. She loves horses