'La carica dei 115". The Manifesto of the Palermo Seminary
The Palermo Seminary, which was organized by the General Council for Italians Abroad (CGIE), brought together 115 young Italians living all over the world in order to create a Network of Young Italians Abroad. It was characterized by four intense days of excitement, warmth, love, unity, and exchange for all the participants, including institutions, organizers, and especially the young delegates that were chosen to participate.
They were finally given the opportunity to express their thoughts regarding their identity, the status of Italians and Italy abroad, and propose ideas on how to change things in the future. The core of their reflexions is expressed in the Manifesto of the Palermo Seminary, a document they produced collectively and which was presented by Michela Di Marco, President of the Toronto Com.It.Es. (Committee of Italians Abroad) during the final encounter, which took place in the prestigious Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri.
It reads as follows:
The Manifesto of the Palermo Seminary
We are young Italians living outside of Italy, each of us belongs to associations and communities, to which we will return and recount the experience of the Palermo Seminary. We will say that Italians really are everywhere, that we laughed and reflected about how certain traits are intrinsically ours, at any latitude: we are what we eat, we are recognized for how we dress, but also for our desire to get things done, with creativity and hard work. We are those who ask ourselves whether the world, starting with our country’s institutions, could function better, we don’t shy away from mixing energy with anger to fuel the hope of changing not just something, but everything.
Many of us have lived in various countries and cities, our parents and our grandparents come from different regions of Italy and of the world, and, even if we try, we can’t see this diversity as a problem, because for us it has always been a resource. Perhaps one difficult to manage at times: to the eyes of others we are “Other” even when we live in the same place and share the same passport. But now we know that we can inhabit this “other” space together, fill it with projects, in order to answer to our need for culture, work, and a profound and ideal closeness with Italy.
We can open up this space to a new way of thinking, in which mobility doesn’t become synonymous with superficiality and globalization with indifference towards the place we inhabit, but rather lead to new ways for us to be and act as citizens of the world, while recognizing and promoting the many cultural, associative, and professional assets of Italians.
We can fill it with relationships because during these days we experienced the “Network of Young Italians Abroad” with passion and intensity. We are different from when we got here. From now on, we will forever be a part of each other’s lives and each other’s communities.
We can make it a concrete and unified space. The “Network of Young Italians Abroad,” which includes people with unique experiences, can give an important contribution not only to the countries we live in but to the Sistema Italia as well. We want to commit to shortening the distance between Italians abroad and Italian institutions, with concrete actions, of which all young people will be the protagonists.
Maria Chiara Prodi, President of the VII Commission of the CGIE ‘New Migrations and New Generations,’ stated that “These have been days of rare intensity” and announced that the next encounter will take place on April 15, 2020, in occasion of the next Italian Research Day in the World.
The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, sent a message through CGIE representatives, in which he expressed his “appreciation for this initiative, whose objective is to involve young people from communities abroad in a process of learning and of mutual collaboration between our nation and the various realities they inhabit, gathering their expectations from Italy.”
Several institutional representatives were present at the event and shared their take on the development of the seminary. Raffaele Fantetti, who spoke on behalf of the President of the Senate Casellati, declared that “Italian migration is not a thing of the past, but of the present. Emigration rates have kept on rising throughout the past ten years.”
“It’s fair that this phenomenon should be represented within institutions, at all levels,” he continued. “No other country has such a structured system of representation, operating on three levels: the Com.It.Es, which are a democratic achievement; the CGIE, which made this event possible; and finally parliamentary representation, which is just as fundamental. The experience you have had here in Palermo is important and what you will do is even more important. You represent the Sistema Italia,” he concluded.
“Italy does not have one single culture, but various cultures,” stated Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo and a great supporter of this initiative from the start, “I learned an extraordinary fact from your reports: you strongly feel the need to communicate with two instruments that seem distant but are in syntony [...] You choose to cultivate both roots and wings.”
“Your energy and your passion can contribute to the reclaiming of the country”, comments the General Secretary of the CGIE Michele Schiavone, “Young people are fervent [...] We’re just left with the arduous task of creating within the system the network you are building, facilitating exchanges, knowledge, formation, and work.”
“With the rudimentary means at our disposal,” he concluded “the CGIE [...] has started offering portals for the newly arrived. We need a unified digital portal for young Italians abroad, through which to manage this network that we have contributed to create in the past days.”
The young delegates worked in groups and came up with a variety of proposals, some of which were presented during the event. Amongst them, for example, is the possibility of creating a website to connect all the participants. Topics such as arts and culture were also discussed, particularly the idea of creating a multimedia network that would allow artists to organize festivals, travel to other countries to bring their skills, possibly launching local and international open calls to apply to.
It’s important for young people to be part of the Com.It.Es in order for there to be a generational changeover of representation, so that they can express and propose their own ideas and needs, in a language of their own, that is innovative and competitive.
“We have to be proud of our country and form a network” said Ruggero Romano, a Vancouver transplant pursuing a career in film production, on behalf of his colleagues, “because love is what’s most important in life and the love for your country of origin is a strong testimony to that.”
All the final documents produced by the young delegates will be put up on the site www.seminariodipalermo.it.