The founder of the Zegna Group, Ermenegildo Zegna (1892 – 1966), had a vision that was rooted in a desire to contribute to the betterment of the community – the community in which he was working at the time, as well as for the benefit of future generations. After more than a century, that vision continues to inspire the Group’s activities, especially the Ermenegildo Zegna Founder’s Scholarship.This initiative, launched in 2014 by Group President and CEO Gildo Zegna, is now celebrating its ninth year. With support from the Zegna Foundation, the program will continue through 2038 at least, with annual funding of up to 1 million Euros.
The Zegna scholarship program enables Italian graduate students and researchers to gain knowledge and professional experience abroad that will allow them to contribute to the further development of Italy upon their return. To date, 341 talented graduates of Italian universities have been awarded scholarships. This year, 57 recipients will be attending 37 universities and research centers around the world, including Harvard and the University of California in the United States; Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics, University College of London and Imperial College in the United Kingdom; the College of Europe, the Max Planck Institute and Zurich Polytechnic elsewhere in Europe; and the University of Tokyo in Asia.
For this year’s program, scholarship awardees were invited to a digital talk titled “Interdisciplinarity: Mobile Horizons” with speakers that included Gildo Zegna; Anna Zegna, President of Fondazione Zegna; artist Emilio Vavarella; and Milan Polytechnic Professor Giovanni Azzone, a member of the Scholarship’s selection committee. Also participating were four students selected from among this year’s scholarship winners: Samuele Cannas, a graduate of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, who will be pursuing a Ph.D in surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; Venus Hasanuzzaman Kamrul, from the Alta Scuola Politecnica, pursuing a Ph.D in quantum physics at Zurich Polytechnic; Daria Molinari, from Pavia’s Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori, pursuing a Master’s in Classics at the University of Cambridge; and Chiara Tumiati, from the University of Bologna, who will be furthering her studies in plastic surgery at McGill University in Montreal.
The speakers stressed the importance of interdisciplinarity in the development of an individual’s leadership potential, a theme touched upon in Emilio Vavarella’s L’altra forma delle cose (The Other Form of Things)an exhibition currently on display at Casa Zegna through November 2022. The show focuses on the interweaving of contemporary art, textile craftsmanship, nature, science and culture in the reforestation of Oasi Zegna, a 10,000-hectare nature preserve maintained by the Zegna Foundation in the vicinity of the town of Trivero, the birthplace of the Zegna Group. Mr. Vavarella is an accomplished artist as well as a candidate for a Ph.D. in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University. His work combines interdisciplinary research and media experimentation and explores the relationships between life and the power of technology.
“Over the years, the Zegna Group has always followed its own unique path. By remaining on this path and staying true to who we are, we have achieved success that has taken us from a producer of quality woolen fabrics into a global luxury group,” said Gildo Zegna. “Last December, our path led us to Wall Street, where the Group was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. And while we continue along this course, always focusing on tomorrow, we continue to work hard on furthering our founder’s legacy. My hope is that his ethics, vision and courage will inspire all these talented young people, all of whom represent the future of our country.”
Group founder Ermenegildo Zegna was able to place his wool mill at the center of a far wider community—a veritable ecosystem in which individuals, society and the environment were bound together in positive and mutually sustainable interdependence. Similarly, today we are laying the groundwork for a new way of thinking, creating connections and establishing dialogs at the local and international levels, with a view of promoting shared values that build a better tomorrow.