-Could you tell us a bit about your new job?

In my new position I will be the Administrator of the Anti-Corruption Activities Trust Fund (AATF). The AATF is managed by the Inter-American Development Bank and funded by The Norwegian Government, the Canadian Government, and MasterCard. The fund finances small transparency and anti-corruption projects in Latin American and the Caribbean, in 4 main areas: Financial Integrity, Audit and Control, Natural Resources Governance and Open Government.

Among other things, I will be in charge of managing the fund’s relations with the donors, including the Norwegian Government. This should imply a couple of trips to Oslo every year, and hopefully the possibility to come and visit in Bergen.

-What do you take with you from your work at U4?

Working at U4 has been a wonderful professional experience. U4 is recognized internationally for the quality of its work and for its contribution to advancing knowledge on anti-corruption. It has been a privilege working here. I feel I have greatly developed my expertise in key areas over the past 20 months, and this will certainly prove an asset in my new position. More importantly, however, I think U4 has greatly contributed to strengthening my ability to think critically about transparency and  anti-corruption issues and to question conventional assumptions. I think this will be a great added value working with a large bureaucracy like the IDB.

-You came from Washington to Bergen. How has it been to work with anti-corruption from a small city like Bergen?

 Professionally, working from Bergen certainly has its challenges, because of the small size of the community working on anti-corruption here, outside of U4. However I have also appreciated the opportunity to look at a lot of the work that is being done internationally from an outside perspective. I felt that when I decided to attend an event outside of Bergen I got more from it, because I valued those opportunities more; you also become more selective as to what you want to get yourself involved in. In Washington sometimes there is so much going on that it becomes hard to identify what is really a good use of your time.  

-What do you think should be U4’s most important contribution in the field of anti-corruption for the next few years?

Donors’ approach to anti-corruption is evolving quickly, and is likely to evolve even faster over the coming years. I think it would be important for U4 to help shape this evolution.

Francesco de Simone