The Pontignano Conference is one of the most important annual events in the UK-Italy bilateral relationship, each year aiming to bring together a select group of influential delegates from the worlds of Education and Academia, Technology and Innovation, Culture and Society, Business and Finance, Politics, Foreign and Security Policy, Government and the Media.
The Pontignano conference was founded by the British Council and St Antony’s College Oxford in 1993. It brings together current and future leaders from the UK and Italy to address common challenges and develop networks and close relationships. Organised by the British Embassy in Italy, the British Council and Siena University, the conference has developed a network that includes ministers, prime ministers, presidents and leaders from the business and academic.
The 2019 Pontignano Conference took place on 26-28 September 2019.
The theme was Navigating the New World: Strategic Challenges and Strategic Choices for the UK and Italy.
The conference is designed in such a way as to provide a structured yet informal opportunity for conversation, debate and relationship-building, over the course of two days, in the quiet and beautiful setting of an old monastery outside of Siena. Most of the proceedings take place under Chatham House Rules – in other words, individuals cannot be quoted outside the framework of the conference.
A core part of what we do are the workshop sessions on Day 2, which are moderated by leading Italian and British figures in each field and which are highly participative, round-table occasions. A select number of speeches in plenary, including a Keynote speech before the opening dinner and a session for Ministerial speeches followed by Q&A, took also place.
The Pontignano Co-Chairs take an active role in the planning and the delivery of the event and we are delighted that Lord David Willetts, who has been involved ever since the first Pontignano 25 years ago, was joined by Italy’s former Minister for Economic Development, Mr Carlo Calenda.