An internationally renowned expert in communications issues, Roberto Savio has founded numerous news and information projects, always with an emphasis on the developing world: Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, the pioneering Technological Information Pilot System (TIPS), the network of national information systems for Latin America and the Caribbean (ASIN), the Latin American features service ALASEI and the Women’s Feature Service. He is now IPS President Emeritus.
Born in Rome, Savio is an Italian/Argentine citizen. He studied Economics at the University of Parma, and post-graduate courses in Development Economics with Gunnar Myrdal, as well as History of Art and International Law in Rome.
He started his professional career as a research assistant in International Law at the University of Parma.
Active as an international officer with Italy’s National Students Association and with the Young Christian Democrats, Savio was responsible for the Christian Democratic Party’s relations with developing countries before becoming international press chief for Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. His career in the news media began with Italy’s daily Il Popolo and he went on to become Director for News Services for Latin America with RAI, Italy’s national broadcaster. After the 1973 coup d’etat in Chile, Savio left Italian politics to pursue journalism. He received a number of awards for TV documentaries, including the national Italian journalism award, the St. Vincent award. He has also produced five films, two of which were presented at the Venice and Cannes film festivals, and published several books, the latest of which is Verbo America, dealing with the cultural identity of Latin America.
In 1964, he established Inter Press Service (IPS) , a non-profit cooperative of journalists and experts specialising in global communications for development. IPS grew to become the world’s fifth-largest news agency, providing daily balanced, in-depth and analytical coverage of the development process. It also offers communication services to improve South-South and South-North exchange and executes projects with international partners to open up communication channels to all social sectors. IPS has been recognised by the United Nations, holding NGO consultative status (category I) with ECOSOC. With the strengthening of the process of globalisation, IPS has dedicated itself to the global issues, and has become the press agency of the global civil society: it has more than 30,000 NGOs that subscribe to its services, and several million readers of its online services.
Since 1973, Savio has been a consultant on information and communication issues for many developing countries, designing the National Information Systems Network (ASIN) for Latin America and the Caribbean and the UNESCO-supported Latin American Features Service (ALASEI). He is the founder and managing director of the Technological Information Pilot System (TIPS) , a major U.N. project to implement and foster technological and economic cooperation between developing countries. He was also instrumental in setting up the Women’s Feature Service (WFS), initially an IPS service, now an independent NGO with headquarters in New Delhi. He has also been actively involved in promoting exchanges between regional information services, such as between ALASEI and the Organisation of Asian News Agencies (OANA) and between the Pan-African News Agency (PANA) and the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA). Savio has been actively involved at the technical level with international communication issues, introducing the Development Press Bulletin Service Tariff in UNESCO’s International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems (the MacBride Commission).
He has also worked closely in the field of information and communication with a variety of international organisations, such as UNDP, UNEP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNITAR. After several years of being a member of the governing council of the Society for International Development (SID), the oldest international organisation of the civil society on development, he has been elected Secretary General for three terms, and is now the Secretary General Emeritus, with Enrique Iglesias as Chair..
Since October 1999 he has served as Senior Adviser for Strategies and Communication to the Director General of the International Labour Organisation. Also since that date he has been on the Board of Training Centre for Regional Integration of Latin America
In 2000, he worked as Consultant for Internal Communications Strategy to Ms. Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of World Food Programme for a year.
He is President of Indoamerica, an Argentine NGO that promotes education in areas suffering social breakdown, in poor areas of Argentina.
He has been part of the International Committee of the World Social Forum since it was established in 2001, and elected as Coordinator of the "Media, Culture and Counter-Hegemony" thematic area at the WSF 2003.
He is co-founder of Media Watch International, based in Paris, of which he is Secretary General, and founded the Internet service, Othernews, which distributes daily analysis on international issues, particularly the themes of global governance and multilateralism, to several thousand of policy-makers, and leaders of civil society.
He is also Chairman of the Board of the Alliance for a New Humanity, an international foundation established in Puerto Rico, that since 2001 is promoting the culture of Peace. Its board has among others, the thinker Deepak Chopra, the Spanish judge Balthazar Garzon, the Nobel Prizes Oscar Arias and Betty Williams and the philanthropists Ray Chambers and Solomon Levis.