Italian President Giorgio Napolitano commented the death of President Barberini with these words: “with his death we have lost a central representative of the Italian cooperative movement, one who struggled passionately for social civil progress and for peace”.

He was born in Modena in 1939. He cultivated his passion for the cooperative movement even before becoming an important voice in economic, social, and management research. He was director of Coop Modena and President of Coop Italia. From 1978 to 1996 he was President of Coop - National Cooperative Association of Consumers; from 1990 to 1996 President of Eurocoop, the European Confederation of Consumers Cooperatives.

From 1996 to 2002, Barberini was president of the National Association of Cooperatives and Mutuals. As of 2001 he was President of the International Cooperative Alliance. Since 2003 he presided over the Institute of International Researches Archives on Disarm. Founded in 1982, this research centre is dedicated to disarm, peace and international security issues. His career and his great commitment reflect the passion that Barberini had for the cooperative movement. His friend Rita Levi Montalcini, a senator and famous scientist, wrote in a comment to one of Barberini's latest publications that the cooperative represents theenterprise which is most able to manage the problems of our times, acting as a propulsive force based on two main social principles: solidarity and development.