Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

CMM-Pandemic

I spent a good amount of time, over the last twelve months, trying to make sense of the different restrictions to human mobility introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of this work has been conducted with Andreas Perret, Jelena Dzankic, Timothy Jacob-Owens, Didier Ruedin, Daniele Pezzatini, and Pauline Lecomte.

I already told you about an article I published with some of my co-authored a couple of months ago. Now I would like to introduced the new website that we have created to present some preliminary findings and make our data easily accessible.

Our argument is that Covid-19 travel restrictions have been a global phenomenon, but their impact has varied hugely, depending on an individual’s immigration status, citizenship, employment, and place of residence. It remains to be seen whether, and to what extent, these measures will outlast the pandemic and establish a ‘new normal’ for global mobility.

Two letters

There are moments when I am not sure sure I deserve to be paid for my work. To counter those doubts, I have decided to save letters of appreciation from students and colleagues. As I am leaving the two positions I have occupied for the last three years, I have two new beautiful letters to store for my archives.

The first letter is for my position as Research Associate for GLOBALCIT. Since 2018, I spent about 25% of my working time in close contact with co-directors Jo Shaw, Maarten Vink, Rainer Bauböck and, above all, Jelena Dzankic. It is a public letter.

Lorenzo Piccoli officially joined the GLOBALCIT team as a Research Associate in 2018, but he has been a much valued collaborator for five years before that. He made a substantial contribution to a number of earlier GLOBALCIT initiatives, including the Conditions for Electoral Rights database, and the ELECLAW indicators.

Lorenzo has a passion for cycling, skiing, novels and film, an immense creative energy and unmatched ‘people skills’. Since 2018, he has done a marvellous job of expanding the Observatory’s communication strategy, especially through social media, infographics, and as an unofficial ‘ambassador’ of GLOBALCIT at events and conferences worldwide.

From 1 April, we bid farewell to Lorenzo, who has become a Research Fellow at the EUI’s Migration Policy Centre, where he will lead the work on teaching and training with the School of Transnational Governance. The whole GLOBALCIT team wishes him the best in this next stage of his career.

The second letter is for my position as Scientific Coordinator of the nccr – on the move where, since 2019, I teamed-up with Gianni D’Amato, the Network Office and, above all, the Administrative Director Nicole Wichmann. It is a letter published on the private channels of the network and I take the freedom to re-post it here.

Dear all,

As many of you probably read, Lorenzo Piccoli will reduce his activity rate for the Network Office in April and May 2021 to 40% and take up a new teaching and research position at the EUI in Florence on 1 June 2021. We are very happy that Lorenzo has been offered this opportunity to invest in his academic career and we wish him all the best in this new position. We are also delighted to continue our collaboration on various research projects until mid-2022.

In retrospect, offering Lorenzo the Scientific Officer’s position two years ago was one of the several very successful staffing decisions we took during the last seven years, which translated into a fantastic strategic asset. Lorenzo managed to give the Migration-Mobility Nexus content and meaning, and he fundamentally reformed all existing platforms and tools created previously.

From the outset, he had the vision of turning the nccr – on the move into a “collaborative network” worth its name. With this idea in mind, he positioned the Research Days, the Neuchâtel Graduate Conference, the Core Courses, and the NCCR Retreats as real exchange platforms. Moreover, he was among one of the first to see in early 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic was to have a fundamental impact on us as a community of scholars, but also on our research, which was why he began working and reflecting on this topic early on, allowing the NCCR to gain visibility.

These examples among many illustrate the strategic foresight of Lorenzo, who in addition possesses the necessary gracious diplomatic as well as communication skills to actually translate his ideas into collective action. He did not only do an incredible job in the visible areas of the NCCR, he also helped us turn the reporting exercise and other more invisible tools into strategic assets of our common project. In sum, his commitment, enthusiasm and professionalism have left a durable imprint on what the NCCR is, and on how we work, both in the Network Office and in the NCCR Community at large.