Maria Vitagliano has worked with the Green Cross Social and Medical (SOCMED) services programme since 2002, working for six years as the programme’s deputy director before becoming its overall director in 2010.

Maria, a Swiss-Italian citizen, has a strong background in education and intercultural studies and work. After graduating in foreign languages and Romanist literature from the State University La Sapienza in 1986, she has received an Executive Masters in Intercultural Communications from the University of Lugano’s Faculty of Science and Communications (2008) and a Master in European Project Management and Public Relations in Brussels (2008).

Financial management of small and medium companies, leadership management and teacher training are other areas where Maria has gained educational experiences and expertise.

From 2002-2009, Maria worked as the Green Cross SOCMED Deputy Director, and became programme director in 2010, providing support to Green Cross national organizations, and communities, in countries throughout Europe, South-East Asia and as well in northern Iraq.

Maria also spent eight years as the coordinator, consultant and professional instructor in Intercultural Communication for Police Corps and the police school in Ticino, at the University of Lugano and at the Center for Training of Local Government Staff, Ticino. She also was consultant for the Administration of Palermo and for the Center Padre Nostro, in Palermo, Italy and for different foundations active in the Mediterranean basin and Middle East.

Maria’s post-graduate training has focussed on the needs of people affected by immigration, social exclusion and conflict, as well as early childhood learning, in Italy and Switzerland.

During her vocational career, Maria worked at the Pestalozzi Children Foundation in Trogen Switzerland (1971-2001), as well as in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. She worked a primary and secondary teacher of Italian, French teacher at an international school, and social worker. She also was the project manager and coordinator for youth and peace projects involving people from Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Lebanon, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Sahrawi, Georgia, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Italy.

From 1996-2001, she worked at the Children Village Foundation (Trogen, Switzerland) as programme manager of Europe and South Eastern Europe and accomplished projects including initiating and promoting educational youth exchanges and managing educational and vocational projects in Palermo, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and in the Chernobyl area. Maria also led projects, school camps, international youth exchanges and exchange projects with cross-cultural character. She helped organise Peace Camps for youth affected by conflicts, including in Palestinian, Israelis, Russian and Polish, Bosnia and Montenegro children.

Maria’s tireless, successful work has been recognized with several awards, including the “8” National Award for Education and Teaching Pescara (1997) and the“In memory of Fabio Polito” award by the Italian city of Palermo (1998) for work on social justice and integration of disadvantaged people.

Maria speaks Italian, German, French Spanish and English.