On the 4th and 5th of October, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation travelled to Alicante to attend the “1st Congreso Internacional Alicante Futura”. At this conference, experts in technological development, entrepreneurs, and urban economy, gathered in the Mediterranean city to discuss some of the most important topics affecting both Alicante and other up-and-coming cities across Spain and the Mediterranean.
Luis Barcala, Mayor of Alicante and key-note speaker at the congress, inaugurated the beginning of the two-day event, by contextualising it and reminding us of the important position that Alicante and Spain are taking in the Mediterranean region. Indeed, one great example of this is FNF’s upcoming Mediterranean Tech Women Network Conference, which was announced on Tuesday by Mr. Barcala, and which will take place in Alicante from the 14th to the 16th of December. The conference will gather more than 150 women in the fields of science and technology from all over the Mediterranean region, including experts and pioneers which will share their knowledge and experiences with students and other women seeking to conquer the industry. Evidently, conferences of this calibre are aiding to consolidate Alicante as one of the Mediterranean capitals in digital entrepreneurship.
At the congress, which was held at the Auditorium of the Provincial Council of Alicante (ADDA), we were able to hear panels and debates from speakers such as Isabel Aguilera, strategy consultant, associate professor at ESADE, and former CEO of Google and GE, Spain and Portugal, who opened the talks on “Technological Challenges and Opportunities for Governments”. Later that afternoon, the conversation shifted to economics, as the speakers began debating on “Smart, Sustainable and Technology-Driven Businesses.” To conclude the first day of the congress, David Henneberger, Head of FNF Madrid, discussed “Tomorrow’s Social Economy and the Third Sector,” reminding the audience of the importance of foundations such as FNF with liberal values, especially during tough times in economic terms. On the second day, experts in gov-tech, such as GOBE CEO Idoia Ortiz de Antiñano and OECD Head of Digital Division Carlos Santiso, expressed their views and knowledge on “The Citizens of Tomorrow”, and gave us a prediction of what they believe our future looks like within the environment of digitalised cities.
Carmen de España, Councillor for Employment and Development of the Alicante City Council, closed the conference with an inspiring speech, in which she encouraged us to start tomorrow, today. With this, the congress, which was the first of its kind in Alicante, ended and set an important precedent for the coastal city, which can call itself a leader in innovation, ready for the changes and challenges of the future.