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Creating a Global Network of Young Italians

Roberta Cutillo (April 16, 2019)
A seminary organized by the CGIE, the General Council of Italians Abroad, was inaugurated today in Palermo’s Teatro Massimo. There, 115 young men and women of Italian origin but living across the globe gathered to kick-off a series of encounters that, in the coming days, will lead to the establishment of a global network of young Italians abroad.

These 115 young Italians, selected by the Com.It.Es, the Committee of Italians Abroad, and by the regional committees for emigration, will take part in a series of encounters aimed at establishing a global network that they will then go on to activate and develop across the world. The goal is to mobilize all communities of Italians abroad and to reinforce the existing institutional networks worldwide.

Palermo was chosen to host this event for having been the Youth Capital in 2017 and the Capital of Culture in 2018 and local institutions such as the Municipality of Palermo and the Region of Sicily fully endorsed the project.

The Regional Minister for Education and Formation of Sicily, Roberto Lagalla, declared “The Government of the Region of Sicily has gladly welcomed this seminary, ours is a land that is always ready to share and favor exchanges between various communities.”

The Mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, who is also the President of the Teatro Massimo Foundation, shared in this sentiment, stating “Creating a network of young immigrants starting from Palermo is a way to confirm that our city has adopted the international community as its own flag [...] There are no migrants here. Everyone is a Palermitan citizen. And that’s the message that these young people have to spread into the world.”

Representatives from national institutions were also present to express their support for the initiative. The Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Riccardo Merlo, addressed the young delegates, stating “You will be the leading class of the future. That’s why I want to give you some advice: push the cause of Italians abroad. Occupy the positions of power and the institutions that can be the instruments to access them, bringing change. You should synthesize this encounter united and organized.”

The Director General of Italians abroad and migration policies, Luigi Maria Vignali thanked all the participants who came from all over the world and believed in this project. “We have several objectives to achieve, including dialog, and the need for awareness in order to become proactive and give young people the chance to build their own future. As Pier Paolo Borsellino said: true love consists of what we do not like in order to change it. Even from abroad, help us to change Italy for the better.”

The Secretary General of the CGIE, Michele Schiavone, also pointed out the relevance of choosing Palermo, which has always been a crossroads where different cultures met and exchanged ideas, beliefs, knowledge, while also being the perfect place for these young Italians living abroad to reconnect with the richness of the Italian culture and history.

“The current historical period renders their need to inherit and acquire the testimony of their fathers even more urgent and necessary to point to the direction in which to proceed in order to give a new sense to what it means to be Italian abroad,” he stated.

“For years we have been talking about young Italians abroad without ever hearing those directly concerned,” remarked Maria Chiara Prodi, the President of the VII Commission of the CGIE ‘New Migrations and New Generations’, stressing how this event provides the opportunity to change the perception of the issue.

“All the delegates attending the Seminary will have the chance to meet and exchange information. It will require careful and demanding work that over the coming six months will produce a research document for young Italians abroad,” she concluded.

Tomorrow, the young delegates will meet again, this time in the Royal Theatre of Santa Cecilia, focusing on using Open Space methodology to determine the reasons and the ways in which to begin building the network.

Their work can be followed on the Seminary’s website: https://www.seminariodipalermo.it/

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