Home>Graduate Profile : Benedetta Cosco

21.06.2023

Graduate Profile : Benedetta Cosco

Conversation with Benedetta Cosco graduated Cum Laude from the Governing the Large Metropolis Master in 2018. After working at UNESCO, she is now a policy officer at the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

What has been your journey since graduation?

After the GLM Master’s, I was hired as a project officer at the UNESCO Culture Sector for the management of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, focusing on international cooperation on culture between cities. During my 4-years experience at UNESCO, I have also worked on comparative analysis of national and local cultural policies around the world; as well as on advocacy actions on culture and sustainable development in international mechanisms such as COP and G20.

In my current job position as policy officer at United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) - the world’s largest network of Local Governments - I work to enhance the recognition of cities in UN key mechanisms and other global agendas. In particular, I have been focusing on the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the local level; especially in relation to human rights and participatory democracy.

What is your current job and what do you like most about it ?

I am in charge of developing joint actions and networking between local and regional governments on key urban challenges such as right to water, migration and -more broadly- public service provision. Another important axis of my job is to promote advocacy actions to increase the inclusion and active participation of local governments in key fora for multi-level dialogue at the UN level. What fascinates me the most about it is supporting local authorities to develop strategic messages based on their local data and policies to strengthen the general narrative about the role of local governments in public action; and to push for an effective multi-level governance at a broader level.

What did your education at Sciences Po bring you?

GLM curriculum provides a unique combination of in-depth analysis of both public policy and multi-level governance at local level, articulating and integrating stakeholders’ interests with concrete policy action. It equips with the ability to examine how different challenges, priorities and power dynamics translate into public policies in very complex contexts, which is essential in my job.

What was your favorite course at the Urban School ?

I believe that the courses on qualitative and quantitative methods for social research and on policy evaluation provide a very solid and comprehensive basis for any kind of job which combines urban policy making and international advocacy like mine. Moreover, short courses like “knowledge, power and incomplete contracts in territorial development” or “access to services'' and “integrated urban development” were key to provide concrete examples to examine the intersection between knowledge and power in urban environment; as well as to learn about stakeholder’s mapping and analysis, which are other key components of urban governance. These courses equipped me with the ability to analyze data and local policies from a strategic thinking perspective, and to quickly identify key trends and priorities to be leveraged at political level.

Can you tell us about a particular memory from your student days?

In several of the workshops, we had very interesting and challenging exchanges with peers and professionals on the “cultural features” of urban projects. We discussed to what extent urban policies and projects can be culturally adapted to different contexts; and on other elements (such as basic needs and rights) that should be identified and addressed in any kind of urban project, regardless of the specific context.