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Articles by: Francesca Giuliani

  • Events: Reports

    Stepping into America: In Elisa’s New Beginning “Love is Requited”

    Love is Requited” is the title of Elisa’s latest single, from the new album “Stepping on Water” released in the US on March 13, and it also represents a perfect metaphor to describe her new American adventure.

    Multiplatinum singer and a household name in Italy, Elisa Toffoli is entering the US music world with the confidence and kindness of those who are at peace with their accomplishments, and happy enough to try and embark in something so overwhelming like approaching America.

    “I did not expect at this point to have a record deal with Decca, a company I respect a lot and that manages artists like Annie Lennox, Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Andrea Bocelli,” Elisa told i-Italy, and she explained that she was really looking into other things when the opportunity of recording with Decca turned up: “To be honest, I was not prepared for this. I was getting ready to be settled in my country, I have a young daughter now.”

    But then, the Vice-President of Decca fell in love with her soundtrack songs for Roberto Faenza’s movie “Some Day This Pain Will Be Useful To You,” still to be released in the US, and then with “Ivy,” Elisa’s last album, an acoustic project whose style was as raw and natural as Decca’s music.

    “These things together made it happen. I’m very happy and grateful, and yesterday has been an amazing day,” says Elisa, referring to the jam-packed “Living Room” she enchanted with a very intimate and intense live performance, and to her first appearance on American TV on Fox 5’s “Good Morning New York” show.

    With a big smile and a stunningly powerful voice, Elisa brings all her requitable maturity and passion to the “new world,” that after all is not that “new” to her.

    The peacefulness and lightness of “Stepping on Water” is just another stage in Elisa’s musical evolution, which somehow started in Berkeley, California, where she retreated to write the songs for her first album, “Pipes & Flowers,” published in 1997 when she was only 20.

    From pop to electronic music, Elisa has written her songs in English since the very beginning, transitioning to Italian as her evolution as a singer-songwriter, and as a person, gave her the confidence to share more of her true world with the audience: “I was a teenager writing my songs in English because everybody around me did not speak English, and that allowed me to express myself but still not really do it. Growing up, I was ready to share more of what reality was. I build everything around a message. That’s the core of things.”

    The road from metaphoric lyrics and sound experimentation to the organic and natural feeling in “Stepping on Water” is an exciting journey in the life of a woman, who has expressed herself in music in all the phases of her growth. “I’m very eclectic, I like to change and I need to change all the time,” she said, and her new sound is definitely the one of an established artist, reconnecting with that nature she has always been very tied to: “I’m very drawn to nature, and when I work on acoustic projects this connection gets deeper and deeper.”

    Reaching a global audience has always been on Elisa’s wishlist, with the ambition of bringing Italian music out of Italy’s borders, something that never really happened after artists such as Domenico Modugno, Gino Paoli or Luciano Pavarotti. When she least expected it, the dream to break barriers with her music is finally being given a chance to come true.

    Honored to present her album at the Italian Cultural Institute In New York, where we met her, Elisa performed live and answered questions from the audience. New Yorkers were visibly curious to get to know her as a person and as a singer, two sides of a coin that are progressively becoming inseparable as music and life go on.

  • Life & People

    Happy 35th Birthday Scuola d’Italia!

    The 2012 annual Gala Dinner benefiting La Scuola d’Italia Guglielmo Marconi was held last Friday, March 16, in the exclusive ambiance of Cipriani Restaurant.

    The event is a must for all the notables of the Italian and Italian-American communities in New York, and it was held under the auspices of the Ambassador of Italy to the United States Claudio Bisogniero, the Consul General of Italy in New York Natalia Quintavalle, the Board of Trustees and the Headmistress of La Scuola d’Italia, Anna Fiore.

    La Scuola d’Italia Guglielmo Marconi is the only bilingual Italian and English educational institution in North America, offering its students the unique opportunity to benefit from the best of American and Italian educational systems from Preschool to High School (Liceo), providing them with a completely bilingual, multicultural and classical curriculum, rooted in the European tradition as well as in American culture.

    Founded in 1977 by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, La Scuola is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education and accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools. The school is also chartered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York.
    This year’s Gala Dinner was the occasion to celebrate 35 years of activity of the school. An institution whose importance is fundamental in the defense and fostering of Italian language and culture among the younger generations, the Scuola represents for its student the right place to fully understand the importance of their Italian heritage.

    “La Scuola is our second home, as the words of the school’s anthem say,” an8th-grade student said, very excited to attend the Gala and to perform the anthems at the beginning of the ceremony: “It’s very exciting, we look forward to this event all year. Everybody dresses fine, we celebrate the school, we sing on stage…it’s a wonderful experience,” she added.

    CNBC Anchor Maria Bartiromo was this year’s Master of Ceremonies. Greeting the guests, Bartiromo defined herself as a proud Italian-American, and she remembered the times in her life when her mother would talk fluently on the phone to her mother in Italian, then hang up and speak to her in English.

    “So many years later I really regret that. I did not have a proper teaching of the Italian language and I really do wish I had studied much more and spoke to my mother so much more in Italian,” Bartiromo said, highlighting the valuable opportunity to study both in Italian and English that the Scuola d’Italia offers its students.

    John Turturro, world famous director and actor, was Guest of Honor of this year’s Gala, and the Honorees of the night were Anthony Bourdain, host and author for Travel Channel’s popular show “No reservations,” and Michael White, chef and owner at Altamarea Group. Both Bourdain and White are proud parents of La Scuola students, and expressed their gratitude and support to the school in their thank-you speeches.

    I-Italy had the chance to interview Anthony Bourdain, who said to be glad that the school provides his daughter with an education that helps her deepening her knowledge of Italian culture, which is also imparted to her by her mother, who comes from Italy: “I’m very grateful to the school and I’m grateful that the school even exists.” When we asked Bourdain to draw from his travel show host experience to define the specificity of Italian culture he said to us that: “When you drive across Italy it feels like driving through different countries, it’s something I respect and love.”

    The newly appointed Ambassador of Italy to the United States Claudio Bisogniero is himself a parent who decided to entrust La Scuola d’Italia with the education of his son and daughter, Giampaolo and Serena, whom attended the school when Bisogniero was working in New York at the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations: “For four years, this school has been for them one of their main bonds with Italy,” he said.

    Bisogniero expressed his satisfaction with the reinstatement of Italian at the AP level in American schools, and mentioned the crucial role the Scuola d’Italia will play in the Italian government’s newly established project for making 2013 the year of Italian culture in the US: “The promotion of this extraordinary world asset we call Italian culture is in the true DNA of the Scuola,” an institution truly “Rooted into Tradition and Open to Innovation,” as its motto claims.


    La Scuola d’Italia Guglielmo Marconi is the only school in North America that provides a classical, bilingual education rooted in the Italian and European traditions. It was founded in 1977 by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet the academic needs of Italians living in the New York City area. Thanks to an ever increasing interest from American families, La Scuola has grown into a unique bilingual educational institution, from the Preschool level through Liceo (grades 9-12), reflecting the best features of the Italian and American educational systems.

  • Fatti e Storie

    Jovanotti a Williamsburg: quando l’Ombelico del Mondo è Brooklyn

    Due sere fa il rap italiano ha conquistato Brooklyn, luogo di nascita del genere, grazie al carisma di Lorenzo Jovanotti Cherubini. 

    Alla seconda tappa del suo tour statunitense iniziato il 10 marzo a Miami, Jovanotti ha ammaliato Williamsburg, il cuore pulsante della Brooklyn giovane, con un concerto di due ore alla Music Hall of Williamsburg che ha ripercorso i suoi successi storici mescolandoli alle sue ultime hits.

    Indossando un completo e un cappello in stile Michael Jackson nei colori della bandiera americana (blu la giacca, rossa la camicia, bianchi la cravatta e i pantaloni), Lorenzo ha ballato come un danzatore tribale africano e snocciolato rime dense di significato per una platea mista di italofoni e anglofoni. 

    Con il supporto di una jam band internazionale, con strumentisti provenienti dall’Italia, dal Brasile, dalla Grecia e da Salvador de Bahia, Jovanotti ha fatto scatenare il suo pubblico sin dai primi minuti di performance, iniziata con la ritmatissima “Battiti di ali di farfalla”, tratta dall’ultimo album: “Ora”. 

    “Vi dirò cosa succede stanotte…non lo so cosa succede stanotte! Non abbiamo neanche una scaletta!”, ha detto Jovanotti all’inizio del concerto, durante il quale ha fatto rap in inglese in omaggio ai Beastie Boys che “senza di loro col cavolo che ero qui a quest’ora!”, e salutato Lucio Dalla, il cantautore bolognese scomparso improvvisamente il primo marzo scorso.

    Non sono mancati i riferimenti alla tradizione musicale italiana: Jovanotti ha infatti reinterpretato Vecchio Frack di Domenico Modugno, definendola come “una delle canzoni italiane più belle di sempre”. 

    La musica di Jovanotti è intessuta di richiami alla cultura pop e alla letteratura italiana, e se anche il ritmo è sufficiente a garantire al pubblico la migliore delle serate, la possibilità di comprendere il messaggio di Lorenzo è parte integrante dell’esperienza. 

    Gli americani nel pubblico non hanno avuto particolari problemi: le difficoltà di pronuncia non li hanno fermati dal cantare le canzoni, specialmente quelle più romantiche come “Serenata rap”, “A te” o “Come musica”, quest’ultima suonata solo per la prima strofa su richiesta di una coppia italiana di novelli sposi venuti dall’Italia a sentire Lorenzo cantare.

    “A te” è stata dedicata da Jovanotti a sua moglie Francesca, presente in sala, a cui il cantante ha detto di dovere tutto, a cominciare dal coraggio per realizzare il suo sogno di venire a suonare negli Stati Uniti: “è stata lei che a un certo punto mi ha detto ‘Dai, cazzo, facciamolo!’, ed eccoci qua questa sera”.

    Dopo aver fatto ballare Brooklyn al ritmo di “Penso Positivo”, “Piove” e “L’ombelico del mondo”, ma anche di “Tanto”, di “Safari” e di “La notte dei desideri”, Lorenzo ha salutato il suo pubblico italiano di New York con un augurio sincero di felicità: “Lo so che New York è dura e ci si deve fare il mazzo, perciò vi auguro una buona vita come se foste tutti miei fratelli. Qualche volta veniteci a trovare”.

    Chi invece volesse approfittare della presenza di Lorenzo da questo lato dell’Atlantico può recarsi questa sera alla Bowery Ballroom per la sua ultima data newyorkese, o volare ad Austin, TX il 15 marzo, o a Los Angeles il 17. 

  • Events: Reports

    Jovanotti in Williamsburg: when Brooklyn becomes the Ombelico del Mondo

     For about two hours yesterday night Lorenzo Cherubini a.k.a. Jovanotti transformed the Music Hall of Williamsburg into the vibrating and pulsating “ombelico del mondo” (the center of the world, literally: “the belly button of the world,” as the title of one of his hit songs goes). 

    The Tuscan singer-songwriter and rapper, who started his career in Italy in 1988, kept Brooklyn bouncing all night with his international jam band.
    He played his newest and historical hits while combining improvisation moments with tributes to the Beastie Boys (who inspired him to start rapping), paying respect to Italian traditional music by playing Domenico Modugno’s Vecchio Frack, and saluting Lucio Dalla, one of the most influential Italian contemporary singers and songwriters who passed away on March 1.

    Italian fans living in New York or travelling from Italy to see Lorenzo perform were just about as many as the Brooklynites and New Yorkers, who often sang along in Italian and cheered for “Lorenzo” with their softer “r” sounds, but equally as loud.  

    “I’m gonna tell you what happens tonight…I don’t know, we don’t even have a set list,” said Jovanotti after coming on stage in a Michael Jackson-ish suit with the US flag colors: blue jacket, red shirt and white pants and tie, with a smooth criminal’s hat. 

    Lorenzo started with “Battiti di ali di farfalla” from his last album, “Ora,” and immediately set the mood inviting the crowd to “step into the ring,” as the song says. In the audience, hands were in the air and feet were “dancing the swing,” speaking a crossbreed language between Jovanotti’s Tuscan accented Italian with a slight hint of lisps, and his English, which he said sounds “like a New York taxi driver.” 

    Jumping around like an African tribal dancer, Jovanotti breaks rhymes in a well crafted Italian that echoes with literary quotations and cultural references, and that is definitely a part of the experience of his music, which not only is irresistible for the feet but is also rich in its messages. 

    The hits from the 1990s such as “Penso Positivo,” “Piove” or “L’Ombelico del Mondo” sounded just as actual and catchy as when they were released, and they were enriched and empowered to go beyond any linguistic barrier not only by Cherubini’s charisma, but also by the powerful contribution of the instrumentalists from Brazil, Greece, Italy and the Caribbean that Jovanotti brought to heat up the Williamsburg venue. 

    Songs from the most recent albums “Buon Sangue,” “Safari” and “Ora” were also extremely appreciated by the audience, to the Italians in which Jovanotti wished a happy life before leaving the stage: “I know that the United States is a tough place to be and you gotta work hard, so I wish you all to be happy like you were my brothers. Come back to visit us sometime,” he said.

    Jovanotti’s “Il più grande spettacolo dopo il Big Bang” (from the title of a song from “Ora,” meaning “the greatest show after the Big Bang”) will be repeated tonight and Tomorrow night at the Bowery Ballroom, across the bridge in Manhattan, and it will then move to other locations in the US such as Austin, TX on March 15 and LA on March 17. 

    Performing in America, Lorenzo said last night, has always been his dream. “I owe it to my wife, who at some point told me: Fuck, let’s just do it!”
    To her, “whom I owe everything,” he said, he dedicated one of his most romantic songs, “A te,” which the American girls in the audience sang from start to finish. 

  • Facts & Stories

    International Women’s Day: Gender Equality Takes More Than a Bunch of Mimosas

    Since the early 1900s, the International Women’s Day is observed annually on March 8. 

    The date is now an official holiday in over 25 countries around the world, from Afghanistan to China, from Eritrea to Russia, from Uganda to Vietnam. 

    The activities and unrest of labor movements in North America and Europe at the turn of the twentieth century were the propelling forces that contributed to the establishment of the International Women’s Day. 

    In 1908, 15,000 women garment workers marched through New York City demanding better working conditions such as better remunerations and shorter hours, as well as advocating for their voting rights. 

    The first National Women’s Day was celebrated in the United States on February 28, 1909, a date designated by the Socialist Party of America, which intended to raise more public awareness of women’s oppression, and to encourage women to fuel that critical debate on inequality that had pushed them to rally in the streets of New York City just a year before, campaigning for social change. 

    The anniversary became an international celebration in 1910, when the Socialist International Meeting in Copenhagen established it, although without a fixed date for its observance, to build international support to the women’s rights movement. 

    In 1911, International Women’s Day was then celebrated in Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland on March 19: women and men rallied for women’s voting and working rights, for their right to hold public office and to put an end to gender discrimination and inequality. 

    The celebration was observed just a few days before the tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City, that on March 25, 2011 killed 146 women workers, mostly immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, in just 20 minutes. 

    The impact of this event on the public awareness of the terrible working conditions of women workers in the United States drew the attention to the need for a reform of labor legislations in the country, and it deeply influenced the cornerstone ideals of the International Labor Organization, founded in 1919, as well as it made the International Women’s Day an even more relevant commemoration.

    In the United States, since 1978 the entire month of March is “Women’s History Month,” and it is dedicated to the celebration of women’s achievements and contributions to history and contemporary society. 

    During World War I, International Women’s Day offered Russian women an occasion to raise their voice for peace: on March 8, 1917 (which fell on February 23 on the Julian calendar that Russia abandoned for the Gregorian in 1918) the women of St. Petersburg rallied in the so-called “Bread and Peace” strike to protest against the dead of over 2 million Russian soldiers in war. 

    The unrest, later known as the February Revolution, extended throughout the city and merged with other riots, forcing Czar Nicholas II to abdicate and to grant voting rights for women. The February Revolution marked the end of the czarist power in Russia, and paved the way for the Communist Revolution, achieved later that year in November (October on the Julian Calendar).

    Italy observes the International Women’s Day as well, and women in the country are usually gifted mimosa flowers, symbols of the celebration since 1946, when they were first introduced by Resistance fighters Teresa Mattei, Rita Montagnana and Teresa Noce for their cheap price, their bright color and their high availability in Spring.

    While this year’s unusually cold winter in Italy reduced the availability of mimosa flowers by 30% and the Italian Farmers Association (Coldiretti) is incentivizing the use of narcissus flowers to replace them, there are more substantial matters affecting the lives of Italian women that are worth shedding a light on in this day of international celebration of women’s social importance, which needs to be strengthened and encouraged.

    Although women rights have been championed internationally for almost 100 years, being a woman in Italy is still tough, even if the Bunga Bunga craze seems to have been archived and experienced women professionals have been appointed in key governance roles by the new government, including the Ministry of Labor, Social Policies and Equal Opportunities, lead by Elsa Fornero. 

    Italy ranks 74th on 135 countries in the Global Gender Gap 2011 Report by the World Economic Forum. The ranking is determined by analyzing the equitability in the division of national resources between men and women, providing a comprehensive framework for benchmarking disparities between the sexes on a global scale.

    The report considers four fundamental categories: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. Italy ranks 90th on 135 in the Economic Participation and Opportunity category, considering wage equality for similar works (125th place) and labor force participation (88th place). 

    The percentage of employed women in Italy is 46%, whereas the average figure estimated in the EU is 65%. 

    The global financial crisis has worsened the unemployment rate of women in Italy. The Italian National Institute for Statistics (ISTAT) reports that in the last three months of 2011 it reached 9.9%, and that it has grown of +5.2% per year, whereas the male unemployment rate is stable at 7.6% and the percentage of employed man is 67.6%. 

    Wage inequality between Italian men and women represents another serious issue to tackle. The average net wages of Italian women amount in fact to €1,096 a month, whereas male employees earn €1,377 a month. In sectors such as real estate, informatics and business service providing, a woman’s stipend is 30% lower than a man’s. Female money brokers have lower stipends by 18% or 20%, and female public sector employees earn 6.7% less than their male coworkers.  

    The lack of supporting measures and financial aids for families and the lack of career opportunities for women have a significant impact on the low Italian total fertility rate,  amounting to 1.41 children per woman in 2011. One in three women in Italy quits her job when she becomes a mother.

    The Italian institutions, which will be promoting cultural initiatives such as free museum admissions, book presentations, movie screenings and special events all over Italy, are not champions of gender equality when it comes to women empowerment and women participation in the governance. 

    In the Political Empowerment category of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap 2011 Report in fact, Italy ranks 55th: it is 48th as far as the presence of women in parliament is concerned, and 46th for women in ministerial positions. 

    The emphasis on the importance of celebrating International Women’s Day in Italy is seen as excessive and worrisome by Minister Elsa Fornero, who declared this morning that “Italy is not a mature country on gender issues,”  and that “women should not be claiming their rights, and we should be at a stage where women are working, even flexibly, because that is what adults do.” According to an estimate of Italy’s central bank, Banca d’Italia, if 60% of Italian women were employed, Italy’s GDP would be 7% higher. 

    Fornero also elaborated on the issue of domestic violence, which still affects Italian women inside and outside their families. According to the Minister, “the lack of opportunities and the low growth rates” in Italy’s present times represent a trigger to violence. 

    The Italian volunteer association Telefono Rosa, providing counseling and assistance to women victims, reports that on in the first 67 days of 2012, 31 women were killed in Italy. 

    “We have no reason to celebrate,” is Telefono Rosa’s motto for today, and the association’s volunteers will be meeting Italian students in the City Hall of Rome, to raise awareness on the problem among the younger generations. 

  • Events: Reports

    New York Wine Expo 2012: A Toast to Italian Wine-Making

    Last weekend the place to go for drinks in Manhattan was the Jacob Javits Convention Center. From March 2 to March 4, the 5th annual New York Wine Expo brought together more than 3,000 New Yorkers who love wine, free tastings and fun. 

    With over 150 international wine producers offering samples of their best bottles, and a program of wine-tasting seminars to get to know your bubbles on a more educated level, the New York Wine Expo was a great success, and Italy’s presence to the event was significant. The Italian Trade Commission (ITC) brought to the Expo a number of Italian wine, oil and cheese producers and importers in an “Italian Pavilion” that was one of the most visited areas of the Expo.

    Aniello Musella, Italian Trade Commissioner, visited the “Italian Pavilion” on March 2, and he told i-Italy that the New York Wine Expo “is a very important event as it is consumer-oriented. Many of the wines represented in the Italian Pavilion are already available in restaurants and liquor stores in the US, and the choice of proposing wine and cheese combinations incentivizes the consumers to try new products.” 

    Reaching out directly to the consumers, according to Musella, “is extremely important for the Italian companies on the American market,” and the Italian Trade Commission’s support to the Italian companies consists in helping them do so into other very important Expos in the country: the Saratoga Wine & Food Fest and the Newport Wine and Food Festival. 

    The presence of American importers of Italian fine foods and wines is also very relevant, and strategic for the promotion of Made in Italy products on the US market. It’s the case of De Medici ImportsAtalanta Corporation, a New Jersey based corporation founded in 1945, the Food Division of which pays great attention to researching the finest Italian cheeses, olive oils and gourmet specialty products with a knowledge of Italian local specialty foods that surprised the Italian guests of the Expo, i-Italy included. 

    American consumers appreciate Italian wines, said the representatives of Wine World Wide to i-Italy: “They are number one! The best sellers are Prosecco – light, crisp, easy to drink – and Pinot Grigio. The reds are also very popular.”

    In appreciation of Italian reds, the Chianti reds and the other wines from the Arezzo province were dedicated an entire corridor, where the Strada Del Vino – Terre di Arezzo Information Center promoted its local products, its traditions and its tourism. 

    Notwithstanding the global financial crisis, 2011 has been extremely positive for Italy’s wine exportations: “America alone imported Italian wines for a total cash-flow of $1.5 billion,” Musella stated, and aggregating the figures of wines and foods imports, the cash-flow reaches $4 billion. “Italy has been leading the wine market since 2006,” he added.

    Italy is also leading the olive oil market, and the tradition of oil making is combined with innovation and creativity at the New York Wine Expo, where the Maruca cousins from Calabria, owners of Tre Olive LLC, brought their idea for a gift to Made in Italy lovers:  the adoption of an olive tree for a year, that can be visited in Calabria at the Tre Olive establishment, and from which the sponsor will receive oil. 

  • Events: Reports

    Arts & Tannery 2012: Italian Leather is Trendy for All Seasons

    Spring is coming, and Italian leather goods never go out of season.

    The Spring/Summer edition of Arts & Tannery, the biannual boutique-expo held by the Italian Leather System Consortium in partnership with the Italian Trade Commission, closed on February 23 after two busy days of activity at the Midtown Loft and Terrace venue on 29th and 5th in Manhattan.

    The eleven participating exhibitors, Italian leather manufacturers producing exclusively in Italy and members of the Italian Leather System Consortium, presented their exclusive collections for the upcoming Spring/Summer to the American buyers and fashion designers. 

    “Buyers really enjoy the direct relationship with producers they can have at Arts&Tannery, and being able to see materials is extremely important for them,” says Sally Fischer, PR manager for the event.

    The exhibitors were extremely satisfied too. Sandra Busoni of Conceria M2 told i-Italy that: “Arts&Tannery is a great opportunity to gain visibility in the American market. We didn’t use to work in it before joining the Consortium 7 years ago. Over the years the Italian presence in New York has grown increasingly and the perception of the Consortium among the clients is very positive.”

    David Bilancieri, representing the Consortium, stressed the importance of the New York market for Made in Italy leather goods: “This is the 14th edition of Arts&Tannery and we really believe in this market, despite the difficult times we are living. We are always working on upgrading the quality of our presentation and we are very proud to be here.”

    Augusta Smargiassi, Senior Deputy Trade Commissioner, attended the event for the third consecutive year and stated that Italy confirmed its leadership in the sector of leather goods, with a 22% market share, followed by Brazil, Mexico and Canada. “What’s Italy secret?,” Smargiassi asked and replied: “Quality, innovative designs and know-how.”

    Vice-Consul of Italy Dino Sorrentino was also present at the event. “It’s extremely important to promote Made in Italy products in New York,” he said, and added “numbers never lie and Italian style is always winning in this market, and that’s very positive for us.”

    The guests could also participate in the presentation of the new trends and styles in the tannery industry held by Gianluca Gori, cool-hunter and researcher of the Consortium. 

    Navy flairs and watercolor shades, but also chains, studs and uniform-inspired lines will inspire a “cruise mood” in fashion that will be big in the upcoming Spring/Summer. The glossy materials and the architectural structures that characterize the works of contemporary artists such as Anish Kapoor are a source of inspiration just as much as pop-culture products such as dark fantasy books and icons like Lady Gaga.
    Another summery trend is inspired by the extravagant and exaggerated world of gypsies and nomads from all continents: from the Hispanic-Moorish to the Turkish, from the Native Americans to Central Europe, drapes, patterns and embroidery in bright colors are the must-wears of the warmer months to come.

    Gori tells i-Italy that this year the Consortium really invested in analyzing the links between the world of fashion, art and music: “Fashion is a collaborative field, and much of the success of contemporary pop stars and artists depends on being able to develop a variegated way of expressing oneself.”

    Fashion, in fact: “Is a sincere phenomenon that answers market demands that are the esthetic and poetic demands of the people who buy. We have to analyze all that happens in different worlds to understand what people like: we need to know what cuisine is the trendiest, which furniture styles are popular, which music is being listened to, what art is being made.”

    Blogs, Gori says, “are extremely helpful. Not only do they focus on fashion, but they are extremely useful to understand the general mood that frames fashion when they also include movie reviews or relevant news. Bloggers are definitely dictating fashion today.”

  • Fatti e Storie

    Elsa Fornero e Angelique Kidjo all'ONU contro le FGM (Mutilazioni genitali femminili)

    “C’è molto da fare anche nel nostro paese”. Così il Ministro Elsa Fornero ha commentato sul tema del rafforzamento della posizione sociale delle donne al termine di una conferenza stampa tenutasi oggi alle Nazioni Unite. “Sul tema  della conciliazione io mi impegnerò”, Fornero ha detto al microfono di i-Italy.

    L’incontro del Ministro Fornero con i giornalisti nell’Auditorium della Biblioteca Dag Hammarskjöld, nel quartier generale dell’ONU, è stato l’occasione per presentare l’iniziativa “Raise Your Voice To End Female Genital Mutilation”, un concerto sponsorizzato dalla Rappresentanza Permanente d’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite per sensibilizzare l’opinione pubblica sul tema delle mutilazioni genitali femminili. 

    A salire sul palco dell’Assemblea Generale questa sera, per cantare anziché per parlare, sarà la cantante africana Angelique Kidjo, ambasciatrice di buona volontà UNICEF e attivista per i diritti delle donne, presente anche lei alla conferenza stampa. 

    “Preferisco le azioni alle parole, e questo concerto non sarà solo finalizzato a ballare e divertirsi ma servirà a richiamare l’attenzione su questo grave problema, e dopo che avremo fatto ciò occorrerà metterci tutti intorno a un tavolo per risolverlo”, ha dichiarato la cantante, riferendosi all’approvazione di una risoluzione da parte dell’Assemblea Generale per la condanna delle mutilazioni genitali femminili come violazione dei diritti umani, per giungere alla quale l’Italia si è sempre battuta, e che il Ministro Fornero ha auspicato di vedere siglata entro il 2012. A pochi giorni dall’8 marzo, Giornata Internazionale della Donna, Fornero si dice arricchita a livello personale dall’aver partecipato all’incontro annuale della Commissione sullo Status delle Donne delle Nazioni Unite, che ha definito un’esperienza positiva per “La facilità di dialogo con persone che provengono da parti del mondo diverse”, con le quali “ci si intende senza barriere e senza fratture formali”.

    Gli sforzi del governo italiano per la difesa dei diritti umani sono costanti nonostante le misure di austerità che l’Italia sta attuando per favorire il risanamento dei conti pubblici riducano le risorse disponibili allo scopo, il Ministro ha spiegato ai giornalisti. 

    Fornero ha affermato che il governo Monti condivide l’obiettivo di lungo periodo di combattere il fenomeno delle mutilazioni genitali femminili dal punto di vista culturale ed educativo: “Non si risolve un problema del genere con uno schiocco di dita, ci vuole del tempo. Si può proibire qualcosa per legge, ma non si otterranno risultati se non si raggiungono le persone con messaggi convincenti”. 

    Il sostegno dei governi occidentali a questa causa, e a tutte le altre cause per l’eradicazione dei gravi problemi sociali che affliggono l’Africa, non deve però tradursi in imposizioni e prevaricazioni. 

    Da donna africana, Kidjo si è detta convinta che “Solo e soltanto noi africani conosciamo le soluzioni per questi problemi. Nel ventunesimo secolo è ora di dimostrare coraggio, leadership e cervello per affrontarli con l’aiuto di tutti i governi, ma secondo la nostra agenda”.
    Fornero ha dichiarato che l’Italia sostiene la presa di coscienza africana ed è vicina all’Africa, “senza sostituirsi ad essa, ma con il compito di supportarli: è loro dovere essere in prima linea”.

  • Facts & Stories

    Italy's Commitment to Women Empowerment Testified by Fornero's Visit to the UN

    “It’s easier for women to overcome barriers, to avoid formalities, to speak about problems and of the possibility of solving them together.” This is what Italy’s Labor, Social Policies 
    and Gender Equality Minister  Elsa Fornero Fornero told Italian journalists in New York today at a press conference held in the office of the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations.

    Fornero, visiting the US to attend the annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, spent the morning in bilateral meetings with the appointed representatives to the Commission of China, Brasil and Burkina Faso, and with US State Department’s Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, appointed in 2009 by President Obama.

    “These meetings took me to very different geographical realities, but we never felt any barriers between us,” the Minister added.

    Speaking about the issue of female genital mutilation, and about Italy’s commitment to having the UN General Assembly adopt a resolution to condemn it, Fornero stated: “I am convinced that Italy is working very well on this subject, respecting other countries’ internal affairs on which it’s impossible to intervene. However, I do believe that a gentle pressure might lead to positive results, and it’s what I expect.”

    The Minister wishes that the resolution will be adopted within 2012, and assured Italy’s utmost commitment to the goal.

    To raise awareness on the issue of female genital mutilation, a violation of human rights perpetrated on children and teenagers up to 15 years of age for non-medical reasons like religious beliefs and social conventions, and affecting over 92 million African girls ages 10 and up, Minister Fornero will participate tomorrow evening in a concert sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations.

    The concert, which will be held at the UN Headquarters, will feature the performance of beninoise singer and Grammy award winner Angelique Kidjo, who is also a goodwill ambassador for the UN. 

    Elaborating on the strategies to fight the occurrence of female genital mutilation among the population of immigrants living in Italy, Fornero stated that “in Italy this practice is illegal but it is secretly committed, which makes it harder to fight. It is extremely important to have people understand that this is a barbaric custom and that in no way should the beliefs of parents impose the sacrifice of daughters, whom are left with unbearable long-term psychological consequences.”

    Education is also fundamental for the eradication of another social issue affecting women in Italy: domestic violence. The role of the media is under scrutiny: “If women are presented as objects rather than as autonomous subjects, they will be more exposed to such risk,” Fornero argued, and added that her Ministry has commissioned the Italian National Institute for Statistics (ISTAT) to research the phenomenon in order to quantify its incidence.

    “Knowledge is key to tackling the issue with effective policies,” Fornero said. 

  • Fatti e Storie

    Elsa Fornero a New York: "Tra donne è più facile superare le barriere"

    “Tra donne è più facile superare le barriere, non perdersi in convenevoli, parlare di problemi e delle possibilità di risolverli insieme”. È quanto dichiarato dal Ministro del Lavoro e delle Pari Opportunità Elsa Fornero durante un incontro con i rappresentanti della stampa italiana a New York presso la sede della Rappresentanza Permanente d’Italia all’ONU. 

    Il Ministro Fornero, in visita negli Stati Uniti per partecipare all’incontro della Commissione Annuale sullo Status delle Donne delle Nazioni Unite, ha speso la mattinata in incontri bilaterali con le rappresentanti della Cina, del Brasile, del Burkina Faso e con Melanne Verveer, ambasciatrice americana per le tematiche femminili globali nominata da Barack Obama nel 2009.

    “Gli incontri mi hanno portata in ambiti geografici molto diversi, ma non abbiamo sentito barriere tra di noi”, il Ministro ha detto ai giornalisti. 

    Riguardo al tema delle mutilazioni genitali femminili, che vede l’Italia particolarmente attiva in sede ONU per l’approvazione da parte dell’Assemblea Generale di una risoluzione che le condanni, Fornero ha dichiarato: “Sono convinta che l’Italia stia facendo un ottimo lavoro su questo, anche rispettando gli affari interni di altri paesi sui quali non si può intervenire in modo brutale, ma credo che una gentile pressione possa avere risultati positivi ed è questo che io mi aspetto”. 

    Il Ministro auspica che la risoluzione sia siglata entro l’anno e ha garantito che l’impegno italiano su questo fronte sarà massimo.

    Per sensibilizzare l’opinione pubblica sul tema delle mutilazioni genitali femminili, una violazione dei diritti umani perpetrata su bambine e adolescenti fino ai 15 anni per motivi religiosi o convenzionali, e che oggi colpisce circa 92 milioni di ragazze africane al di sopra dei 10 anni, il Ministro Fornero parteciperà domani sera ad un concerto sponsorizzato dalla Rappresentanza Permanente d’Italia all’ONU. 

    Il concerto, che si terrà al Palazzo di Vetro delle Nazioni Unite, vedrà esibirsi Angelique Kidjo, cantante proveniente dallo stato africano del Benin, vincitrice di un Grammy Award e ambasciatrice di buona volontà dell’ONU. 

    Rispondendo ad una domanda riguardante le strategie per combattere il fenomeno delle mutilazioni genitali femminili tra la popolazione immigrata in Italia, Fornero ha dichiarato che “In Italia la pratica è illegale e punita, ma avviene in modo occulto, il che ne rende più difficile il contrasto. L’importante è riuscire a far capire che si tratta di una pratica barbara, e che nessuna convinzione dei genitori può portare al sacrificio delle proprie figlie, che vivono gravissime conseguenze psicologiche di lungo periodo.”

    L’educazione è anche alla base dell’eradicazione in Italia di un altro diffuso problema sociale che affligge la popolazione femminile, quello delle violenze domestiche. Un’educazione che deve anche coinvolgere i media, che propongono un’immagine della donna come oggetto: “Se le donne non appaiono nei media come soggetti autonomi ma come oggetti è più facile che le si consideri cose proprie”.  

    Fornero ha inoltre dichiarato che ad una ricerca ISTAT finanziata dal Ministero è affidato il compito di quantificare il fenomeno: “Conoscere è importante come base per l’attuazione di politiche di contrasto”.