ISLAMABAD-Wearing a slickly tailored double-breasted Italian suit, with a combination of blue silk tie on a white crisply starched shirt, the newly arrived Italian ambassador to Pakistan, His Excellency Andreas Ferrarese no doubt looked dapper, making a fashion statement in the very first meet up. Born in a family of educationists, Ambassador Ferrarese’s father being Professor of History with a passion for archaeology and mother a Professor of Financial Economy, the son inherited the best of both and was bibliophilic as a child courtesy a la DNA. After earning a graduate degree in Arabic Language and Literature, the quest for more knowledge took the ambassador Ferrarese to the university where he completed his higher studies in his desired subjects of political science, economy and law. He started his Foreign Services career at the age of 26 working in the Department of Economic Affairs looking after the Asia region. His interest in reading was quite evident as one walked into his living room, pregnant with books on art, history, economy as well as collectable volumes of the Renaissance period. “I have been working with Pakistanis for a very long time back home. During my different assignments in Foreign Ministry,  I was looking after the department of Trade and Commerce, visits of trade delegations from Pakistan, both government representatives, as well as Pakistani entrepreneurs, were a regular feature. As a young diplomat, I was a regular guest at the residence of Pakistan’s ambassador to Italy and so I fell in love with your country at the very start of my career,” he informs as we make ourselves comfortable and request for an Italian Espresso has been placed.  

Ambassador Ferrarese was given a choice at the time of his posting between Indonesia, Pakistan and Greece, out of which he opted for Pakistan. “I have served in Muslim countries in the past as well including Libya, Ambassador to Kosovo and as Deputy Ambassador to Lebanon so I have a special interest in Muslim history and culture. As for Pakistan, as I mentioned earlier, I have always been very impressed by them during my official interactions. Pakistanis are smart, well-spoken, knowledgeable and most interestingly, one does not get bored in their company as I find them very witty by nature,” he adds. 

Italian embassy in Islamabad as well as the ambassador’s residence is currently in a makeshift arrangement being housed in containers in the diplomatic enclave. The construction for the new embassy is underway and Ambassador Ferrarese’s deep rooted interest in archaeology, designs and architecture, undoubtedly makes him the most suitable person to get the gigantic project completed. “My priority task is to supervise the new under-construction Italian embassy in the diplomatic area and speed up the process. As soon as I was posted to Pakistan, I started to get involved in the project overseeing the design, giving my feedback and trying to make necessary changes wherever I can, although I was still in Rome, so this will be the quintessential job during my posting in Islamabad,” he explains as we take the first sip from espresso accompanied by a big slice of chocolate chiffon cake.  Known to be a trouble-shooting expert, Ambassador Ferrarese also supervised the completion of Italian embassy in Kosovo. His posting as Ambassador to Kosovo also tested his diplomatic skills as he played a pivotal role during the dialogues with Serbia -- decisive for the stability of the Balkans. His posting in Lebanon, too was not an easy walk as the country was in major turmoil and it was the Italian commander who successfully led the UNIFIL II Mission, with close coordinated efforts of the diplomatic rendezvous by this ace diplomat. As Deputy Ambassador of Italy to Brazil, the financial wizard in him came in handy as he used his business acumen very wisely and the economic relations between Brazil and Italy leap bounded. Ambassador Ferrarese has many out of the box ideas in-store to promote bilateral, trade and cultural relations between Pakistan and Italy. With extensive experience in commerce and trade, Ambassador Ferrarese also has workable plans to boost trade volume between the two countries and is proposing his office back home to appoint a permanent Trade Representative who can only focus on the enhancement of commerce and trade.  

 “I want to open up a cultural centre, maybe in one part of the new embassy, and promote Italian cuisine, art, paintings, music so that the Pakistanis can know more about my country,” he informs with much enthusiasm, pointing at the Italian culinary books occupying space on his coffee table that he has brought with him from Rome. “There cannot be two opinions on the fact that Italy is a sartorial hub, a Mecca of art and fashion and no one can showcase it better than the Italian ambassador himself.”