Originally from Argentina, Santiago Castelo has lived in Spain since 2013. Sponsored by the consulting firm Ideograma, where he still works, he came here to do a Master’s degree at the University of Navarra. He started as an intern and today he has management responsibilities. Under the guidance of his mentor, Antoni Gutiérrez-Rubí, Santiago Castelo works on strategic communication and electoral campaigns in Spain and Latin America. Last February, he gained his doctoral thesis on the use of biography in political communication from Pompeu Fabra University. He has lived in various other cities, including Buenos Aires, Paris and Pamplona.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
I came to Barcelona to do the internship associated with the Master’s degree and the scholarship I had won. The internship lasted three months and, once it was over, I joined the Ideograma team. I fell in love with the city and I have now lived here for eight years.
What would you consider to be the city’s strengths?
I was attracted by the city’s location between the mountains and the sea, its size, and the climate here, which enables you to enjoy the city fully throughout the year, a great plus. The city is really easy to get around on foot, but there is also a wide range of transport. I also really appreciate the city’s architectural heritage, urban landscape, cosmopolitanism, and, of course, the people, who make newcomers feel very welcome here.
Where is there room for improvement? How would you change things?
The Barcelona 2042 program gave us the chance to discuss many of the challenges facing city businesses. The speakers generally agreed on the need to increase public-private collaboration and to deal with the challenges associated with environmental and social sustainability. Synergies, talent and appropriate policies are needed to turn Barcelona into a benchmark in these areas.
What do you think will help Barcelona to get over the Covid crisis?
Barcelona attracts a large number of tourists and is also a great place for living and doing business. I believe that the technology ecosystem will play a key role in the coming years because of its ability to generate knowledge and attract talent in a hyper-globalized world. Barcelona is in a strong position to attract startups and foster innovation.
What challenges do you think the city will face once the crisis is over?
The most obvious challenges are related to the recovery of the economy, the return of tourism, and the creation of a stronger healthcare system. Other challenges that are just as important but perhaps go unnoticed, are the reinforcement of mental healthcare, dealing with the digital divide, and a return to use of public transport.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
As the song goes, “Barcelona is strong.” I believe Barcelona has always been strong and I am confident that the city will overcome these and other challenges and continue to be one of the best cities to live and work in. This city has the chance to become a hub for different sectors and a benchmark for other cities around the world.
Where do you feel most at home? What do you miss most?
Although this answer may upset my mother (who lives in Buenos Aires), I feel—we feel, because my partner is also a Barcelonian by choice—that Barcelona is where we want to stay. You always miss things, but Barcelona has gained a hold over us; it earned our affection long ago. We feel connected to Barcelona and the Barcelona way of life.
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