On September 26, the Italian Embassy in Washington hosted the Country Assembly of Italians living abroad. For those who have never heard about the CGIE, the Consiglio Generale degli Italiani all’Estero is the body that represents nowadays the Italian communities around the globe and tries to help institutions policies related to them. The assembly was also a moment for the COM.IT.ES members, who have been elected a few months ago across the United States, to get to know each other. Four newly elected Presidents were called to oversee the smooth unfolding of the election of two regional members for the United States: Elisabetta Ghisini from San Francisco; Eleonora Granata from Los Angeles; Olga Mancuso from Washington; and Salvatore Ferrigno from Philadelphia.
The CGIE has become an important point of contact between communities, as it has been trying to promote and facilitate the advancement of the standard of living of the Italian communities abroad and of their individual members. Moreover, it focuses on strengthening the connection of these communities with the political, cultural, economic and social life of Italy, by facilitating the preservation of the cultural and linguistic integration as well as the collaboration with the local communities. We talked to Elisabetta Ghisini, who has been elected as President of the COM.IT.ES in San Francisco in May.
As underlined by Mrs Ghisini, the presence of the COM.IT.ES members was crucial in order to reflect the face of the new immigration of Italian professionals, entrepreneurs and executives. A commitment to make sure the CGIE gives a voice to all layers of Italian immigration and addresses the issues of the young, educated Italians who recently transferred to the US.
Which were the main topics of the Country Assembly held in Washington?
As the ten candidates presented their programs, it became clear that the main issue currently facing the CGIE is its own relevance, since the number of US representatives was scaled down from 5 to 2 this year. Therefore, one of the priorities articulated by the candidates was that of increasing the number of representatives again in order to better reflect the strategic importance of the US Italian contingent. The second priority deals with synthesizing meaningful proposals from various communities and channeling them to the Italian Parliament.
Which are the achievements of the Assembly over the last few years?
As one of the main goals is to promote and facilitate the advancement of the standard of living of Italians abroad, the CGIE has spent lots of energy on cultural and social aspects. It runs studies on the realities of young Italians greater emigration countries; has organized the Continental Conference of young Italians abroad; has prepared and attended the first meeting of Europeans living abroad “Europe en mouvement”, convened by the French Foreign Minister in Paris, Quai d’Orsay; has organized and held the first Conference of Italians in the world, at FAO in Rome; has organized the seminar on “the dissemination and teaching of the Italian language and culture abroad”, and participated in the Organization of the States General of Italian.
How do these two entities can collaborate in order to achieve mutual goals which are relevant for our communities?
All newly elected COM.IT.ES members can and will contribute by suggesting ideas, initiatives, projects that interpret the needs of their local constituencies. Both elected CGIE representatives (Silvana Mangione and Vincenzo Arcobelli) have committed to establish a dialogue with us to better understand our goals.
Which kind of contribution can come from the COM.IT.ES representatives elected by Italians last Spring?
I believe that the San Francisco COM.IT.ES can be taken as an example. It was fully represented at the CGIE elections and has worked hard to encourage the CGIE to address issues related to the “young” Italian immigration and make sure they take center stage during the next five years. Given the demographics the San Francisco COM.IT.ES represents, with many of our supporters being well-educated professionals with recent ties to Italy, we want to push an agenda focused on facilitating their professional integration.The San Francisco COM.IT.ES is full of ideas and projects, ranging from initiatives to improve the integration of old and new immigration, to initiatives aimed at opening the door for Italian companies wanting to establish operations on the West Coast, to pursuing a stronger link with Italian Universities. For all of this we hope we can rely on the support of the CGIE.