Talking about…

Glocal: Enhancing the local dimension through international good practices

by Silvia Fazio – Liberitutti scs | Translation by Valentina Tudisco

When we approach a word as complex as ‘glocal’, our mind inevitably goes back to familiar concepts such as ‘globalisation’ or ‘internationalisation of markets’. Yet if we stop to look at the genesis of this word, we see two dimensions: global and local. The question arises: can these two aspects co-exist?

However, it is undeniable that the answer cannot be a simple yes or a clear no. Whether we like it or not, and the pandemic has amply demonstrated this, our lives, the lives of our communities, are now thoroughly and inextricably linked to this concept. Local and global travel intertwined in such complexity that it is tough to separate them into clear boundaries.

It is based on this cumbersome relationship that the Liberitutti group reinterprets the concept of ‘glocal’, i.e. no longer a one-way relationship from top to bottom, but a different approach that starts from the people, from the voices of the community and turns into an open dialogue with other European realities characterised by similar and less similar problems but always in search of new ideas and solutions.

Glocal, therefore, does not imply a standardised and irreversible circular process as the concept of globalisation often calls for. Instead, in this new interpretation, it is an open concept that embraces a multi-level approach and encourages people to be directly involved to do their part. Glocal becomes the basis for catalysing ideas, implementing actions, and sharing solutions, perspectives, results, and networking.

This last aspect, especially from 2020, has become essential. Not only because “networking” is the basis of successful ideas, but mainly because it makes possible actual interchange between experts, communities and beneficiaries.

At the end of 2019, Liberitutti asked itself the question: how can more than 20 years of experience built up in such a specific area as Turin valorised internationally?

The answer came precisely through the re-reading of the concept of glocal, which made it possible to build up, step by step, a valuable network made up of international organisations from the most varied backgrounds and which shared the same European vision from the outset. Thanks to these new “international” synergies, it is now possible to start investing in quality projects born out of local impact experiences and fit perfectly with the upgrade developed for the European dimension.

Glocal is not just a new form of interpretation. It encompasses a radical change in approach and dialogue with the territories and people that are part of it, in a line of continuity and not of rupture. And if, as we expect in this new European Multi-Financial Framework (2021-2027), the emphasis will be concretely placed on impact and not on innovation, the challenge awaiting us will be to find new and additional approaches to be combined with “glocal” to ensure that communities and the needs of the people who live in them become increasingly central to the European debate and not just a prerogative of niche community programmes. We need more quality and value-added connections to build bridges, not walls.