Who is Nuccio Ordine, the Italian philosopher who has just won the Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities?

Who is Nuccio Ordine, the Italian philosopher who has just won the Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities?

Marina Garcia

The Italian philosopher Nuccio Ordine.

The Italian professor and philosopher Nuccio Ordine.Getty


  • Recognized for his “commitment to education and values ​​rooted in the most universal European thought”


  • Born in the late 50s in southern Italy, he has always been focused on exploring the field of education and knowledge


  • Its objective has always been to try to instill passion in the academic trajectory of students

The Italian Nuccio Ordine (Diamante, 1958) has just been named the Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, a recognition that awards him among a total of 45 candidacies from 16 different nationalities. The jury appreciates his “cultivation and improvement of the sciences and disciplines considered as humanistic activities and everything related to the media of social communication in all its expressions”. A defender of free education in line with “the search for knowledge and the best of each person, without subscribing to an economic interest”, he always sought with his academic work to offer light on an educational system that managed to get out of the laws of consumerism and return to the origin of the person before the learning and culture. She told an interview with NIUS two years ago: “I think that the only way to teach is with face-to-face teaching, because the transmission of knowledge is something that is done in the community”. He is a professor of Italian Literature at the University of Calabria and a visiting professor at major international universities such as the Sorbonne in Paris, Yale or the IEA in Paris.

Born in southern Italy, in the Calabria region, He acknowledged in an interview, years ago, with the newspaper Repubblica that he had always been raised with a passion and deep curiosity while learning to read with a famous program of that time on RAI that helped Italians to become literate -with Professor Manzi in ‘ Non è mai troppo tardi’ (It’s never too late) in those years in Italy a million people got primary school. That allowed him to approach the newspapers that his grandfather bought. At that time in his small fishing village, Diamante, there was no school, those who could went to study at the teacher’s house. She precisely recognizes in those years the access, albeit humble, to knowledge as a way of rescuing from an inhospitable place to the chair of a university professor that she occupies today. Now, at the age of 65, he continues to live in the province of Cosenza in a country house where he keeps 22,000 books as if they were his most precious treasure, which he has once called his homeland.

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The jury has highlighted his ability to establish “a dialogue with contemporary society to transmit especially to the youngest, that the importance of knowledge is found in the learning process itself.” An idea that he always defended where, for him, as happened with his own history, meeting a teacher and a book can change a student’s life. He has defended with effort through his work an educational system where free, non-conformist citizens are trained. In his numerous essays, many of them published in Spain by the Acantilado publishing house, such as “Clásicos para la vida” in 2017 or “Tres coronas para un rey” and “Los hombres no son islas” in 2022, he tries to face his own themes. on the philosophy of education, in addition, as the jury says, it does so with “the values ​​rooted in the most universal European thought”. It was with the publication of “The Usefulness of the Useless” that Nuccio Ordine became an internationally known thinker.

His thinking has been developed in recent decades through the idea that the true value of learning, at school and at the university, lies in the teacher, in human relations, in the sincere desire to learn. “The role of the teacher should be to change the lives of the students, not so that they win the Nobel, but so that they understand that one does not study to obtain a degree, but to try to be better”, he said in 2019 in an interview with a Spanish newspaper. He also criticized the fact that the use of mobile phones, computers and tablets was considered the modern school, that the human aspect was abandoned. Through his anti-capitalist idea, he criticized on numerous occasions that the academic journey of young people in Italy, but also in other parts of the world, it was oriented to the market and not to train supportive, fair and environmentally concerned citizens. He also criticized that the new generations had to choose a career based on their financial opportunities and not guided by their passions. He called that “general corruption of society.”

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Another aspect that the jury has highlighted is “his academic work, focused on relevant figures of the Renaissance, highlights the need to recover the richness of humanism for the new generations”. Precisely about the school of the future, the academic has criticized on numerous occasions the future of teaching today with few human resources and too eclipsed by technology. He has recently spoken out against the exaltation made by the Italian Government led by Giorgia Meloni of merit in the world of schools as the only path to success. “The school-company: behind the valuations and the merit hides the neoliberal school, which wants to train passive consumers, soldiers who only think about money and success,” he told a specialized Italian media. He also criticized the fact that the Recovery Fund funds were used to computerize teaching in the transalpine country and not to improve teacher training and quality.

In his first words after the award has thanked the confidence and the honor of receiving a recognition that other great Italians of thought such as Umberto Eco. In addition, he thanks “those who every day -in an African hut or a poor town in Calabria or Latin America- perform a great miracle: allow poor students to take that social and cultural leap that makes our society more just and egalitarian”.

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