Minerva Soc. Coop. is a non for profit cooperative which was initially created in 1984 by the Association of Women’s Club as a publishing house to give a voice to women and more vulnerable segments of the society through a monthly journal by the same name distributed on national newsstands and by subscription.
The Minerva Prize (“Premio Minerva”) was set up at the same time, and was the first prize for women in Italy (last November 2016, the 27th Edition), and since the passing of its founder Anna Maria Mammoliti, carries her name as well (“Premio Minerva Anna Maria Mammoliti”). The prize is an international award organised annually by the Association of Women’s Club and Minerva, and is dedicated to women involved in various knowledge-related fields.The Prize has the high Patronage of the President of the Republic and the Patronage of major institutions. Among the women awarded: Judge Joyce Aluoch, First Vice President of the International Criminal Court (“Human and Civil Rights”, 2015), Ms Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran (“Political Commitment”, 2014), Ms Kadija Cherif, former Minister of Women and Family Affairs in Tunisia and human rights defender ((“Human and Civil Rights”, 2015),Ms Nyaradzay Gumbonzvanda, Secretary General at World (“Human and Civil Rights”, 2013), Ms Irina Georgieva Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO (“Pace and Solidarity”, 2010).
Over the years Minerva has expanded its mission to include projects aimed at:
- promoting studies, seminars, conferences and cultural, communication and training initiatives on themes of social, economic, political and institutional interest, concerning the condition of women, children and distressed categories both in Italy and Europe and internationally;
- researching and supplying technical assistance, operational support and feasibility studies in social, economic, political and institutional contexts on the condition of women in both Italy and Europe and internationally, for use by public administrations, private facilities and international bodies;
- publishing initiatives in print, electronic and multimedia formats.
Since the 1990s Minerva has carried out activities involving professional training in publishing and journalism, among which the “Journalism course for women in Southern Italy”, sponsored and funded by the Ministry of Labour.
In 2010 Minerva was awarded a contract for a publishing project handling the information and communication of initiatives sponsored by the Assessorato all’Agricoltura (Agriculture Bureau) of the Region of Lazio (PSR) through the Regional Agency for Agricultural Development and Innovation of Lazio (ARSIAL). The project made use of European funding and included the production of publications and the organisation of promotional initiatives and technical organizational means necessary for informing women and young people of the opportunities offered by the PSR for 2007-2013. The project was completed in July 2013 (see below under Communication activities).
For its cultural and journalistic activities, Minerva Soc. Coop. received the “Premio Donna città di Roma” (Woman’s Award of the City of Rome) in 1986, and the “Premio della Cultura” (Culture Award) of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
After being awarded a tender, between July 2010 and July 2013 MINERVA carried out a publishing and events management project concerning the initiatives promoted by the Agricultural Department of the Lazio Region within the context of the 2007-2013 Regional Rural Development Plan. The commissioning body was ARSIAL – Agenzia Regionale per lo Sviluppo e l’Innovazione dell’Agricoltura del Lazio (Regional Agency for Agricultural Development and Innovation). The project, which was financed by EU funds, included the following activities:
- writing, producing and printing publications (35,000 copies of each publication), as well as distributing them in the region;
- organizing workshops, subject-specific conferences, press conferences and other promotional events aimed at informing women and young people about the opportunities offered by the 2007-2013 Regional Rural Development Plan. Promotional and advertising materials Minerva has produced and produces (i.e. designs, writes and prints) brochures, agendas, advertising and promotional materials for various public and private clients.
Selected Cultural Events
The award has run for XXVII years (the last edition was held in November 2016). In 2009, it was renamed as the Minerva Anna Maria Mammoliti Award , in memory of its founder. It is the first Italian award focused on women engaged in the fight against social marginalization and includes a men’s category. Over the years, the following personalities have been jury members: Susanna Agnelli, Marisa Bellisario, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Sandro Curzi, Alain Elkann, Franco Frattini, Renato Guttuso, Margherita Hack, Gianni Letta, Simonetta Matone, Mimma Mondadori, Andrea Monorchio, Simone Ovart, Carla Rabitti Bedogni, Eugenio Santoro, Annamaria Tarantola, Giglia Tedesco, Valeria Termini, Daniela Paola Viglione, Lina Wertmuller. There have been hundreds of award recipients, including Sheikha Lubna Al-Kasimi, Safia Al Souhail, Lucia Annunziata, Elisabetta Belloni, Irina Bokova, Diana Bracco, Haleh Bridi, Piera Degli Esposti, Inge Feltrinelli, the Icelandic feminist movement Kvennalistinn, Nilde Iotti, Fawzia Koofi, Emma Marcegaglia, Lina Ben Mhenni, Laura Mirachian, Viktòria Mohàcsi, Barbara Spinelli, Livia Pomodoro, Anna Maria Tarantola, and Monica Vitti. In the men’s category, recipients have included Mario Monicelli, Sandro Pertini, Umberto Veronesi, Tibetan monks, and Eric Emmanuel Schmitt.
The magazine MINERVA – published monthly since 1983 and now in its 29th year of publication – deals with culture, economics, business, environmental issues, health, society, and foreign affairs. The magazine’s target audience is mainly medium- and higher-educated women, but recent years have seen an increase in male readers. Since 1996, the magazine has been granted the benefits provided for by law by the Publishing Department of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Until January 2013, Minerva had a circulation of more than 40,000 nationwide and was distributed in newsstands and by subscription, as well as to targeted European and international readers.
Due to drastic cuts in public funding to the publishing sector, the magazine – after 30 years of regular print issues – became an online publication in January 2013.
– “I Dossier di Minerva”: 4 volumes on the presence of women in different disciplines and professions, from antiquity to the present day.
– “L’Intelligenza – Istruzioni e avvertenze per l’uso del cervello -“ (Intelligence – Instructions for the use of the brain) by the psychologist and psychotherapist Sabina Manes.
– “L’Irresistibile vento dell’ovest” (The irresistible wind of the West), a collection of political writings by Luigi Mazzella, Judge at the Italian Constitutional Court
– “Finanza etica e valore sociale” (Ethical finance and social values), an essay on ethics and finance by the sociologist Riccardo Severi
– “Giuliano Vassalli, le sue opinioni, la sua storia”, (The life and opinions of Giuliano Vassalli), conversations with Professor Vassalli, edited by Anna Maria Mammoliti, editor-inchief of Minerva.
The company has provided professional training in publishing and journalism since the Nineties.
Among the training courses it has organized, two are especially worthy of mention:
Corso Biennale di Giornalismo 1997- 1998: a two-year post-graduate course in journalism (720 hours of theory and practice) for ten women from central and southern Italy, financed by the Ministry of Labour in accordance with Law No. 125. A publication called ZIP NEWS was specifically created to give participants the opportunity of publishing the articles required to become a journalist in Italy.
II Corso di Giornalismo 2005-2006: second edition of the two-year course of journalism (480 hours of theory and practice); course coordinator: Anna Maria Mammoliti (editor-in-chief of Minerva). Teachers and lecturers included experienced journalists such as: Piero Mei (culture editor at the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero), Franco Cuozzo (Rai Tre), Gino Falleri (Vice-President of the Association of Journalists – Lazio and Molise regions), Pierluigi Severi (journalist and sociologist), Lucia Morselli (Sky), Marco Sassano (Riffeser group – newspapers), Mario Relandini (journalist and writer, former executive editor of the Italian newspaper l’Avanti!), Franco Scaglia (Rai), Piero Calabrese (editor-in-chief of the Italian magazine Panorama).
Countless activities have been promoted in the last 30 years by the Women’s Club and Minerva.
In particular, Minerva’s founder Anna Maria Mammoliti was often invited as a speaker at international conferences and other events held at universities in Europe and South America. For the sake of brevity, we will mention only a few.
1986, Brussels: a press conference during which Anna Maria Mammoliti and Beatrice Rangoni Machiavelli (President of the EU’s group “Various Interests”) presented a special issue of Minerva on women and employment in the European Community.
March 1987, Brussels: Mammoliti opened a conference entitled “L’Europa alle donne – La grande scommessa del prossimo decennio” (Women’s Europe – A huge bet on the next decade).
May 1991, Florence: at the International Law and the Environment Forum, she took part in the international debate on the Proposal to establish an International Court for the Environment at the UN.
1995, Berlin: Mammoliti presented a paper on “La storia delle donne in Italia e la loro rappresentatività nelle istituzioni governative” (The history of women in Italy and their presence in government institutions) at an international conference organized by the Department of women’s studies of the University of Berlin. European conference on the Community directives on gender equality and the EU’s legal system: she participated to a panel entitled “More Women in Leading Positions” in her capacity as President of the Women’s Club.
June 1995, Beijing World Conference: she presented a document containing observations on the request of Italy’s National Institute of Economy and Labour (CNEL) concerning the Draft Platform for Action “Risorsa donna” (Women as Resources).
March 2005: a seminar on mobbing entitled “Mobbing, il corvo che c’è in noi”; participants included Gian Maria Fara (President of Eurispes), Laura Guercio (lawyer), Carla Rocchi (MP), and Teresa De Santis (Deputy Director of RAI1).
September 2005: presentation of the book “Finanza etica e valore sociale”. The event was opened by Anna Maria Mammoliti and, besides Riccardo Severi (the author of the book), participants included: Graham Whatson, head of the Liberal Party at the European Parliament; Carla Rabitti, CONSOB (the National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange) executive; and Giuseppe Rippa, Editor-in-chief of “Quaderni Radicali”. Anna Maria Mammoliti presented a debate on proposed amendments to the Italian Constitution entitled REFERENDUM. Perché NO! (Referendum. Why NOT!) during the event Universo Donna (Women’s universe) held at the Rome Fair Centre. Speakers included: Giuliano Vassalli, President Emeritus of the Constitutional Court; Giglia Tedesco, former Vice-President of the Senate; and Alessandro Pace, Professor of Constitutional Law at Sapienza University.
Mammoliti chaired a debate entitled “Oltre la Parità” (Beyond gender equality), organized in partnership with UNIFEM Italia and CIDE at the Italian Representation of the European Commission. Participants included: Gerardo Mombelli (Director of CIDE), Simone Ovart (Chairman of the UNIFEM Italia Committee), Luisella Pavan-Woolfe (Principal Adviser, Directorate-General Employment Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities European Commission), Fiorella Kostoris (Economist and University Lecturer) Rosa Rinaldi (Undersecretary at the Ministry of Labour), Giglia Tedesco (Senator), and Anna Maria Serafini (Senator). The event was coordinated by Bimba De Maria.
2014/2017 – Minerva is a member of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Human Rights (CIDU) – General Directorate for Political and Security Affairs – Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I contributed to the drafting of the National Action Plan of Italy “ “Women, Peace and Security – WPS, 2014 – 2016” and “2017-2019”.
IRAQ (2009 – 2012)
In 2009-2010, in partnership with Law and as part of a Npsg project supported by the MFA, Minerva organized two Italo-Iraqi Seminars, in Rome and Genova entitled “Women in Iraq”, in which Iraqi, Italian and European experts and MPs took part. The seminars focused on topics such as the legal status of women and family law, gender equality, employment, health, and religious freedom. The success of the above-mentioned projects and seminars – which was due to the participation of qualified professionals and an in-depth, bilateral exchange of knowledge and experience, as well as to significant media coverage in Iraq and the Middle East – has been widely documented, including by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 2010-2012, with a Ministry of Foreign Affairs contract, Minerva was made leader, in collaboration with LAW and its Iraqi partner the International Alliance for Justice ( IAJ), of two democracy-building projects, aimed at supporting the democratic process in Iraq.
The first (2010 – 2011) concerned research activities and initiatives to fight human trafficking (“Human Trafficking: Effective Mechanisms and Procedures to Combat it”):
- operative measures and definition of a platform on legislative and administrative initiatives on the basis of Italian and international experiences with the purpose to combat trafficking in human beings;
- “Recommendations” to the Iraqi Parliament to apply the First law to combat trafficking in human beings; establishment of a hotline with the purpose to inform on the cases of violence.
The second (2011 – 2012) consisted in a series of events featuring Italian artists held in major Iraqi theatres, including the National Theatre in Baghdad (opened for the first time for a Western European country since the fall of Saddam Hussein), and aimed at strengthening both the cultural exchange between Italy and Iraq and the notion of “Culture as an instrument of peace”. 44 Arab Televisions broadcasted the event in Baghdad.
- Culture, music and poetry as an instrument of dialogue between people and to support the civil and democratic process in Iraq. To build “bridges” between Iraqi and Italian artists, with the aim to create an exchange with Western culture through Italy. To lay the foundations for a further cooperation of a cultural and human dialogue between Italy and Iraq/Iraqi Kurdistan. To show that the cultural exchange is not less important than other forms of bilateral cooperation – economic, legal, social or political – aimed at supporting Iraqi’s democratic development and peace in the Middle East.
A project entitled “La condizione giuridica e sociale delle donne in Libia – Affermare la protezione legale e processuale delle donne” (The legal and social status of women in Libya – Implementing women’s legal and procedural protection / seminar in Tripoli), organized by MINERVA Soc. Coop. in partnership with LAW International.
- To promote an exchange of experiences between lawyers and representatives of civil society, both Libyans and Italians, with the purpose of identify the necessary instruments to make effective law for the protection of women in Libya. A table of Dialogue to share the experience in order to identify legislative solutions and social and cultural priorities to improve and promote the rights of women in Libya. The Seminar lays the basis of bilateral cooperation between Italy and Libya with regard to the implementation of a legislative, administrative and judicial system that recognized the equal rights of women and ensures their actual application in any social and moral field. The results of the Seminars in Rome and Tripoli are published in a book.
A project entitled “Affermazione dei diritti delle donne yemenite in Costituzione e nella società” (Affirming Yemeni women’s rights in the Constitution and asserting them in society), organized by MINERVA Soc. Coop. in partnership with LAW International,
To identify the legal instruments to be included in the future Constitution of Yemen, in order to improve a legislative system in defence of women’s rights and their effective protection: to establish a general principle of equality in order to guarantee that it is translated into concrete rights and implemented through laws and regulations
- Discussion of the items approved by the Assembly of the National Dialogue, which are the basis of the new Constitution of Yemen, referring to women’s rights with the support of Italian speakers.
- Formulation of articulated constitutional law which, collecting and synthesizing all the outcomes of the National Dialogue, will be submitted by the Yemeni delegation to the Conference of the National Dialogue.
- Establishment of a Network of legal professionals in both countries, Italy and Yemen. The results of the Seminars in Rome (Cooperation between Italy and Yemen on Women’s Rights in Yemen’s Constitution) and Sana’a (Cooperation between Italy and Yemen on Women’s Rights in Yemen’s Constitution) are published in a book.
MISSION IN MYANMAR (MARCH 2014) to define the Project “Profession Tourism / Inle Lake“, headed by CEIS – UNIVERSITÀ DI TOR VERGATA and with the local partner Shwe Inn Thu. Under evaluation.
MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN (APRIL 2014-2016) to define the Project “Make effective legal aid and assistance of women in Afghanistan” (Badakhshan Province), headed by the Municipality of Turin and with the partnership of the local NGO’s SSSPO. The Project, which has the support of the Parliamentarian Ms Fawzia Koofi, has been approved in November 2014 and It has been presented on June 4th, 2015 at the Italian Parliament at the presence of the Vice President of the Parliament, Ms Marina Sereni, the Director General of the Italian International Cooperation, Mr Giampaolo Cantini, and the President of the Afghan Commision for Human Rights, Women Rights and Civil Society, Ms Fawzia Koofi. The Action has been suspended in September 2016 due to security situation.
SWAZILAND (2015-2016) EU CAll for Proposals / Reference: EIDHR/135-742/DD/ACT/SZ.
Minerva, as the applicant, has been awarded for the Project “WOMEN AS PROTAGONISTS OF CIVIL SOCIETY. From a Small Publishing Enterprise to a Monitoring Centre. Human Rights, Information, Art and Culture as an Engine of Women’s Empowerment in Swaziland”. Institution partner: University of Swaziland (UNISWA).
SYRIA (2015-2016) “Reinforcing the social role of Syrian women refugees in Turkey”, headed by Minerva Soc Coop with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs AND International Cooperation and the adhesion of the Prime Minister Office of Turkey.
LIBYA (2015-2016) “Libyan Women’s Participation in the National Peace and Reconstruction process”, headed by Minerva Soc Coop with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
ITALY- LAMPEDUSA (2016 – 2018). “Lampedusa in Network. Take the future. In support of students of Lampedusa and Linosa Intermediate and High Schools”. Project funded by Vodafone Foundation and with the Support of the Italian Ministry of Education, Univerities and Research, Region Sicily, CLIO SpA. Project leaded by Minerva.
LIBYA (2017) “In support of Libyan Women to affirm Rights, Governance and Culture of freedom in the Civil Society and in the Constitution”. Headed by Minerva Soc Coop with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
SWAZILAND (2017 – 2019) EU CAll for Proposals / Reference: Reference CSO-LA: “Enhancing CSO’s contribution to governance and development processes”.
Minerva, as the applicant, has been awarded for the Project “Professions In Music And The Visual Arts. Culture as a tool to empower Civil Society and the creative engine to support economic and social development in Swaziland”.
The Matera 2019 Foundation, in partnership with Minerva Soc Coop, presented “Women and Young People at the Heart of Culture and Human and Civil Rights”, a project implemented to promote relations with and actions for Tunisia.
LIBYA (2018 – 2019) ” ITALY AND LIBYA. PUTTING WOMEN AT THE HEART OF INSTITUTION-BUILDING PROCESSES” A project organized by Minerva with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) . Providing support and training to Libyan women active in local communities, in order to facilitate reconciliation, improve territorial governance, and build democracy and development from the grassroots