'It's the best thing that's happened to me'

Rosie Scammell
Rosie Scammell - [email protected] • 5 Aug, 2013 Updated Mon 5 Aug 2013 15:50 CEST
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French-Moroccan Mehdi Drissi has worked in Kenya, Brazil, France and now Italy. The chief of media relations at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations talks to The Local about what Rome has to offer to those with an international mindset.


How did you first come to live in Rome?

I was working for the French foreign service and moved to work at the embassy in 2004; I enjoyed Rome as soon as I moved to the city.

After four years at the embassy I was about to be transferred when I was recruited by FAO [the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations] and posted to Paris.

A year and a half ago, I was offered the position of media relations chief and immediately accepted; it was a great job in a great city.

How does working for FAO compare to the French embassy?

When you work for the French government you are engaged in bilateral cooperation between France and Italy.

When you move to the UN it’s multilateral and you become an international civil servant. You are in a multicultural environment, which is such an enrichment. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me.

How does Rome compare to other cities you have lived in?

Every experience is a good one. I enjoy living in Rome as I did in South America and Africa.

To succeed in an international career you have to have a capacity for adaptation. A lot of people complain about how chaotic Rome is, but I never complain.

Above all, I am Mediterranean so I feel at home!

What are the advantages?

I’m lucky to be living in Rome, because of everything the city offers us. Not only in its beauty, but in everything you can do - culture, sport, and there are a million things to do just outside Rome.

There’s life outside of FAO; my friends at work are from other countries but I have a lot of Italian friends.

Would you recommend Rome to people with an international career?

Definitely. I would put Rome at the top of the list; it’s so cosmopolitan thanks to the presence of so many foreign representations.

It’s an extremely important political and diplomatic place. Career-wise, it is an extremely important step to be here and a very fruitful experience.

What advice do you have for those wanting to work at an international organization or embassy in Rome?

Try to define exactly what you want to do, then go for the right agency where a lot of possibilities exist at all levels.

I would also recommend young Italians with a good academic background think about joining an international organization, through programmes developed by the Italian government. 



Rosie Scammell 2013/08/05 15:50

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