Silvio Berlusconi’s daughter, Barbara Berlusconi, has graduated in philosophy at Milan’s San Raffaele university with top honours but not without controversy.
Clearly being the prime minister’s daughter (and just any prime minister, we should add), there were whisperings that she could have stayed at home and she still would have received a degree.
With Silvio Berlusconi at the graduation ceremony, what better opportunity than to spruik for a new faculty, possibly headed by his daughter? In fact, a university lecturer present at the ceremony has accused the chancellor of inappropriately offering Ms Berlusconi a future place as teacher at the university, in an Economics faculty which has yet to be established.
The university lecturer went on to say that such declarations in the presence of students and staff, and of Italy’s prime minister, were insulting and that there was a lack of respect and dignity during what is a public ceremony.
In fact, the professor went so far as to say that it was against the “ethical requirements of a university of excellence, which is what San Raffaelle aspires to be”.
The Italians have taken it as another example of nepotism and networking in a country that seems stubbornly to disregard any philosophy of getting somewhere on your own merits.
But are we suprised? Unfortunately Italy is not a country of meritocracy and the Italians know it.