The Mandarins XI

Valentina Dolciotti

Fran Lebowitz, in the docuseries that Martin Scorsese dedicated to her (which, incidentally, is funny) states at one point: The great thing about talent it’s that it’s the one thing — it’s the only thing I can think of – that is absolutely randomly distributed throughout the population of the world. It has nothing to do with anything. You cannot buy it. You cannot learn it. You cannot inherit it. It’s not genetic. It’s sprinkled like sand around the world. That’s it. I don’t think we can summarise the aim of this issue of DiverCity any better than that. 

Trying to tell the story of talent wherever it is, wherever it comes from, because it really is independent of age, ethnicity, social class, gender… of everything. The virtual journey through the articles in this edition is particularly exciting, as exciting as only humanity can be. On these pages we find stories of making choices, stumbling and restarting, possessing determination and passion. We will find out why disabilities are not always a dead end, but a ticket to embark on a new journey; and how discrimination because of illnesses can become a more serious factor than illness itself. Alongside talent there is another important theme: that of skills.These, unlike talent, can indeed be trained, shaped, modified and expanded according to needs and circumstances. 

It is becoming clear that in the diverse and changing world of work, the basic skills (i.e. those that are not ancillary) required in the near future will increasingly be soft and relational: critical thinking, communication, cooperation, creativity, curiosity (it is no coincidence that they all start with the letter ‘c’), adaptability, inclusive leadership, a willingness to take the initiative… 

Not surprisingly, the skills that have been identified at the European level and defined as key to success are linguistic, mathematical and logical, digital, but also personal, social, civic and cultural. There is no doubt that these new demands pose radical challenges to teaching and education, and the objective need to reconcile traditional and digital learning. In other words, today and tomorrow, more than ever, we will be required to do the best we can with what we have at our disposal.