Italy – "VIS": New President - Michela Vallarino; New Director General - Chiara Lombardi & new Executive Committee

30 November 2021

(ANS - Rome) - During the General assembly of VIS on 27-28 November, the leadership of the Salesian NGO “VIS” (Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo - International Volunteering for Development) for the next four years were elected. The assembly of Members, composed of three Salesian entities, elected Michela Vallarino, 49, a lawyer, (former Vice President), as its President. She will be assisted by the Executive Committee made up of: Marco Faggioli and Francesco Mele (both Vice-Presidents), the latter appointed by the Assembly of Participants; Fr Giordano Piccinotti, SDB the Treasurer; Bro. Giampietro Pettenon, SDB, Jennifer Avakian and Stefano Di Maria. 

Vallarino takes the baton from Nico Lotta, an engineer, who served as the President for two terms. “In recent years we have consolidated the presence of VIS in some countries,” says Lotta, “expanded strategic partnerships and strengthened the operational structure. Much remains to be done because the pandemic has presented us with new challenges and a greater awareness that no one can save themselves on their own(...). I wish the new team all the best in their work and according to the spirit of attention to the most vulnerable young people that Don Bosco has passed on to us.”

 “I am deeply grateful to Nico Lotta and to all the outgoing Executive Committee for the work we have done together in these years and for the trust they have placed in me,” affirms Michela Vallarino. “Now a new phase begins -one that will be characterized by renewal and also by continuity with what has been done so far. Some of the objectives are still valid because they have not yet been fully achieved, such as the strengthening of the network of subjects that make up the Salesian system of solidarity, the presence in Italy, the improvement of the system of organization, management and internal control.”

VIS is in a phase of strategic planning for the next six years, a participatory process that has involved in recent months the staff of the headquarters and the countries where it is present.

 “I interpret this role,” continues Vallarino, “as creating a synthesis and putting into circulation the different aspects and sensibilities that constitute the VIS: spirit of service and professionalism, charisma and competence, dreams and project frameworks, focus on the center and the peripheries, newer initiatives and facilitating further developments. I believe that the right way is to live cooperation (...) as an encounter between people, in a world where everything is connected and everything is in relation and in which we are called to commit ourselves to justice and peace, as Pope Francis reminds us.”

The President and the members of the Executive Committee of VIS are not employees of the organization; they receive only an office allowance, and they carry out other professions, putting their expertise and experience at the disposal of the NGO with a spirit of service.

At the top of the operational structure is Chiara Lombardi, aged 38, appointed Director General: “I grew up professionally at VIS, which I joined for the first time in 2009 and to which I returned after several years of experience with other organizations. I am grateful for these years of association with VIS and am aware of the responsibility that falls on my shoulders. But I strongly trust the professionalism of my colleagues who will work alongside me. VIS is an organization capable of regenerating itself while maintaining its roots. For this reason we will maintain the continuity, but also innovate some processes and working methods with the aim of bettering relations between the headquarters and the volunteers in various countries and in Italy, to create a team with global dimensions, which is more united and motivated to serve the most vulnerable.”


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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