Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

Tag: state of the union

Why and how women in Europe continue to be oppressed

Since 2011 my university has provided a concrete contribution to the European and international debate on governance through a two-day event with qualified and plural participation. Every year now, at the beginning of May, the State of the Union gathers political leaders, members from civil society, and personalities from the business world to join selected professors and discuss the current state of affairs of the European Union.

I was there in 2014, when I listened to a truly remarkable speech on the vision of Europe by Matteo Renzi, and then I was there again in 2015, when Renzi delivered a more demagogic and way less impressive speech on the topic. Other than politicians, however, the State of the Union is worth following for the ideas put forward by academic and researchers.

Unfortunately I could not be there this year – dling! I am in Switzerland – but I have followed some of the sessions online and I wanted to share with you the Keynote address by Professor Ruth Rubio Marin on the topic Women in Europe and the World.


It is a short read that contains a rich list of data and practical advices. If you can, it is worth giving this speech fifteen minutes of your time.

The designated survivor

State of the Union attendees include the president, vice president, Cabinet, Congress, and Supreme Court. Any terrorist attack could wipe out the entire line of succession. Therefore, one Cabinet member is usually picked by the president to get a special invitation to not attend the State of the Union speech. For Tuesday’s State of the Union, the designated survivor was Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The tradition of the “designated survivor” goes back to the 1950s, when the United States and the Soviet Union locked horns in a nuclear stalemate. The process was so secret that it wasn’t really acknowledged publicly by the government until the 1980s.The presidential line of succession is covered in both Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which was later amended and clarified by the 20th Amendment, and detailed in the Presidential Succession Act. To ensure the preservation of at least part of the succession, the survivor is taken to a safe location away from the event.

NPR says that in recent years, the lucky Cabinet member has stayed in Washington and ordered pizza while he or she sat with a security detail—along with the “nuclear football,” the famed briefcase with the nuclear launch codes.