Francesco Volpini is an Italian national, though only moderately proud about it. In the last 16 years, he has been working and living in Paris, Bangkok, Tokyo and Seoul, coordinating national and global education, research and development programs focusing on international voluntary service and non-formal education. In his different assignments, he has conducted programs in over 40 different countries on all continents, cooperating with and supporting local and international non-governmental organizations, universities and institutions.
Despite a disproportionate optimism in administrating financial resources, as Director and then a consultant for the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS at UNESCO) he has launched and implemented a number of innovative, multi-stakeholders global and almost rigorous researches on the impact of international voluntary service and non-formal education on volunteers, communities and organisations.
Having studied Cultural Anthropology and Comparative Literatures at La Sapienza in Rome, with a focus on questions of cultural identity and diversity, he holds a research Masters in Socio-Anthropology of Development from La Sorbonne University, Paris, with a thesis on the Gross National Happiness policy in Bhutan – the closest someone can get to a completely useless but extremely interesting degree. In a moment of intellectual euphoria, he has also served as Foreign Expert at the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resource of Mahidol University, Thailand, contributing in particular to the analysis and restructuring of the curriculum for the International Masters in Industrial Ecology.
As Graduate Research Associate at the EU Centre and PhD student at the School of Social Work of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he has been teaching in the crosscampus flagship Diversity course, for which he was included in the List of teachers rated as excellent by their students’ in Spring 2018, and is today a PhD candidate at the School of International Studies of Ryukoku University in Kyoto. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods Francesco is currently looking at the ways the acquisition of social and cultural competences through international volunteerism contributes to decreasing social interaction anxiety and intergroup uncertainty and increasing subjective well-being across cultural norms – with the vertiginous hypothesis that by living and working in multicultural contexts and on projects of common interest, people can actually learn to live and be happier, together.