Mission Member Profile: Procurement-Expert, Simone Gariglio

Simone Gariglio is an Italian citizen and works in the Procurement Unit of EUBAM Libya. He joined the mission in May 2021. Previously he worked as an Army commissioned officer & engineer in the central procurement services of the Italian Ministry of Defence. He also served with EUCAP Somalia, from September 2017 until taking his current post with EUBAM Libya.

1.Why did you apply to the Mission?

I share the EU values and my aspiration has always been to work in multicultural and challenging environments, such as crisis management missions. Public procurement is also my passion. I thus immediately applied when I read about the opportunity to work with an EU foreign policy instrument in a procurement capacity.

2. What is your role within the Mission?

I am the Head of Procurement Unit. In practice, I am responsible for the planning and acquisition of the external resources required by the Mission to function and fulfill its mandate, in line with the applicable EU regulations and rules. Those resources span from specialized services (e.g. private security and business services), to a variety of supplies, as well as constructional works; altogether, they represent about 50% of the Mission budget. To provide some numbers, from May 2021 when I took my post, I have managed the signature of some 100 contracts for an overall value of about 100 Million Euros.

3. Who do you work closely with?

Beside my procurement team, I closely work with the Mission project managers, who are responsible for the elaboration of requirements and for the management of procurement contracts, as well as with Mission financial actors. I also develop and maintain relationships with the Mission senior management team and the relevant commissions’ services on procurement policy and other important matters, such as sustainability and anti-fraud.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Certainly, the multiculturalism and the challenges posed by the specific working environment. I also enjoy the opportunity to constantly explore outside of my comfort zone, while living in countries and contexts that many would find unusual, which allows me to expand my views. 

5. How do you like living in Libya and especially in Palm City?

It is not the first time I live in a compound. Previously, I served in Afghanistan and in Somalia, respectively with NATO and with another EU mission. Particularly, I find Palm City rather comfortable compared to my previous experiences in compounds, though one never gets really used to deprivation of freedom of movement – as most of us have experienced during the pandemic, even your own home can feel like a cage when you cannot leave.

6. What do you like to do in your leisure time?

Given my origins, it should not surprise that I like cooking, for myself but also for others. I like playing the piano – in fact, I brought a keyboard all the way from Europe to maintain this hobby of mine. I like going to the sea, or into the sea, having good conversations with friends and colleagues, reading, watching movies, working out.

7. How would you describe your Libyan colleagues?

My experience with the Libyan colleagues is overall very positive. Their professionalism and eagerness to support exceeded by far my expectations. Despite some cultural differences, it is clear to me that they are moved by very similar aspirations of ours, including desire for freedom, stability, a sustainable future. I truly hope that Libya will soon overcome the deep crisis it has been facing for years and that peace will be achieved, for the sake of all Libyans.

8. What is your dream holiday destination?

I have several, from countries in Africa and South America, to countries in Europe I have not visited yet, especially in the east and north. However, since traveling is part of my routine, one day I would simply like to establish in a place I consider home and reduce the traveling around.

9. Which are your favorite books?

I enjoy reading historical books that project the reader in times where valiant leaders shaped with their action the world as we know it. It is the case of the Great Alexander (Alexandros) trilogy by Valerio Massimo Manfredi. I also like adventurous books that dive deep in the human psyche and behaviours, such as Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Another book that has impacted my perspective on the value of freedom is Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi; it is based on a true story of a female professor of literature during the times of the Iranian revolution of 1979, when censorship impressed a dramatic change on society that we still see.

10. From your previous experience, what advice would you give your colleagues and friends about mission life?

I would like to offer few pieces of advice: do manage expectations, because at times it can be frustrating not to see progress in the work we do, for reasons that are beyond our control, such as political/diplomatic; be flexible and adaptable, because it is mainly about the perspective one adopts that makes the difference between enjoying what you do, and being negatively affected by unavoidable setbacks; be kind to people, because we all experience difficult times and may react very differently, based on personal traits and culture, whereas a smile can be make the world of a difference for anyone far from her/his home country and family.