During the kick off of Milan Fashion Week, Gildo and Paolo Zegna,CEO and president respectively of the Ermenegildo Group, unveiled a 25 million euro scholarship fund.
The Ermenegildo Zegna Founder's Scholarship is a tribute to the group's founder and will grant every year, over the next 25 years, 1 million euros to talented Italian graduate students who wish to take on further studies or do research outside of the country. However, the students will be obligated to return to Italy after completing their research or studies, as way to encourage future development in Italy.
Paolo Zegna explains that the introduction of the scholarship comes at a pivotal point in Italy's narrative. “There is a need for deep changes and strong solutions, to set the foundation for the future,” said Zegna, who argues that now is the time to think of the future of the younger generation who are suffering due to unemployment, reports the WWD.
Gildo Zegna adds that the Group “has always been deeply conscious of its public duties and responsibilities, in line with the teachings and values of our grandfather Ermenegildo. Offering a real, albeit partial, alternative to the so-called brain drain is part and parcel of taking responsibility for the future of our country.”
A selection committee comprising of Gildo Zegna and Rosario Bifulco, president of medical technology firm Sorin SpA and led by William McGurn from international law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP., will chose the winning applicants. The rectors of eight Italian universities will suggest two or three likely candidates who show great promise, after being accepted onto postgraduate studies or research programs at foreign universities. The study subject matter will not be limited to any fields. Then the committee will interview 16 to 24 candidates before selecting the final 10 to receive funding.
The chosen Zegna Scholars will receive up to 50,000 euros annually in financial assistance to fund their studies or research, depending on individual financial need. Any scholars who receive funding and chose to pursue careers outside of Italy will be asked to repay the amount given to them over five years so that the funds can be given to future candidates of the scholarship.