Articles by: Chiara Morucci

  • Facts & Stories

    “Does Italy Still Matter to the World?”

    On Valentine’s day, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò hosted an interesting panel about the current situation in Italy titled: “Does Italy still matter to the world?”

    The panel was attended by many Italian and American distinguished speakers. Among them were Former U.S. Ambassador to Italy Ronald Spogli, President and CEO of Italian Business and Innovation Initiative Fernando Napolitano, Italian journalist Maurizio Molinari and Gianluca Galletto, Co-Founder of PINYC - Professionisti Italiani a New York (Italian Professionals in New York). Stefano Albertini, Director of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, moderated the discussion.

    The speakers acknowledged the economic decline of Italy in these years in the larger frame of the global financial crisis, but at the same time underlined that there are currently signs of recovery for the Italian economy, especially after Monti’s visit to the US.

    According to Gianluca Galletto, Italy has now a stronger international credibility and America believes in its potential. Galletto believes that Italy is a country with many brilliant young professionals that need to be supported and encouraged, and said about PINYC: “It is a gift of love to our country that is backing in its feet, to promote our culture and promote professional achievements of Italians studying or working in New York, whom are here thanks to what they learnt in our country.”

    Napolitano argued that the first step to strengthen the Italian cooperation with the United States is to promote the learning of English among the population: “Communication is fundamental nowadays. Italy unfortunately is isolated, we do not speak English well enough. Business meetings in Italy are in Italian and happen just among Italians. In Italy everything is extremely local.”

    Napolitano highlighted the influence of the state’s role in recovering the sorts of Italy:“No problem can be solved in a democracy without a responsive government,” he said and added about the fundamental importance of the Monti government, raising hope about the Italian growth and an benefiting the general credibility of Italy in the US. “Monti’s economic initiatives are opening an opportunity unique to Italy in the next few years,” Napolitano said.

    Spogli said he has always believed in the great potential of Italy: “Italy has all it takes to be successful, and is full of young talented students in many different fields.” In Spogli’s opinion, Italy’s weakness lies in the lack of connections between those who generate ideas and those who can translate these ideas into business results.

    During his mandate as ambassador to Italy, in 2005 Spogli created “Partnership for Growth,” an initiative fostering educational exchanges between Italy and US. The Partnership allows selected Italian students in engineering, science and medicine to spend months working in the US, then return to Italy.

    Spogli agreed with Napolitano that Italians have to learn English, as communication issues are very important. “America loves Italy and we are great allies, but we need to build stronger economic links. We need to invest and trade. This path is starting little by little,” he said.

    The panel was an extremely interesting occasion for the guests to get an in-depth historical and economic picture of Italy, and to have a clearer idea of Italy’s international image.

    Notwithstanding the crisis, Italy is still respected for its heritage, culture and potential. Italy definitely still matters to the world, and it matters particularly to America. The US in fact have never abandoned it, constantly supporting the country and its younger citizens with scholarships, partnerships and other initiatives. The links between Italy and the US promise to grow even stronger now that the new government is infusing the markets with a renewed confidence in Italy’s recovery and development.   

  • Events: Reports

    Must-Reads: The Italian Brothers

     On February 15 at John D. Calandra Italian/American Institute, Italian journalist Paolo Mastrolilli presented his last work, “The Italian Brothers,” a novel translated from Italian and published by Robert L. Miller.

    Introduced by Dean of Calandra Institute Anthony Tamburri, Miller told the audience about his deep passion for Italy and Italian culture, and said that translating to English Mastrolilli’s historical novel has been a very exciting experience.

    Mastrolilli’s novel revolves around the story of two Italian brothers that joined the Italian Army during World War II, the one as a member of the Marine Corps, the other in the Bersaglieri assault troops, and of their miraculous reunion after the end of the conflict.

    One of the two brothers could not readjust to a new civilian life in Italy, and his struggle with a reshaped world leaves room for psychological introspection and historical analysis in the story.

    “The Italian Brothers” has its factual foundation on unpublished documents studied by Mastrolilli, and it’s based on a real story. 

    The novel is in fact inspired by the lives of the author’s father and uncle. During the war, Mastrolilli's uncle joined the Italian Marine Corps while his father enrolled in the Bersaglieri and fought in Libya and Egypt. He was then deported in a POW Camp in Northern India for five devastating years.

    Mastrolilli's uncle, whom had lived the terrible war years in Italy, was more conscious than his brother of the atrocities and crimes of the Nazi-Fascist dictatorships, and he decided to join the Secret Services to fight against the regime, while living in hiding in Rome.

    Mastrolilli's father instead, being far from Italy, remained anchored to the nationalistic ideals of the fascist rhetoric to maintain a link with his homeland and to stay faithful to it, therefore he refused to surrender to the British troops in India even after the armistice.

    Mastrolilli’s novel powerfully tells the story of a generation of Italians, and it accurately describes the years of  War World II, the Italian Fascist regime, the Italian Civil War after the armistice, and the difficult conditions of Italy right after the war.

    “The Italian Brothers” is a great occasion to further understand what being Italian means and how distance can reshape the sense of belonging. It is definitely a must read for Italian lovers and Italian heritage bearers.

  • Facts & Stories

    Italian Prime Minister Monti Visits the Financial Times and Wall Street

    After his successful meeting in Washington with President Obama, President Monti arrived yesterday in New York City full of positive perspectives.

    Monti’s visit to New York City started in the morning at the Financial Times, then early in the afternoon he spent two hours with top investors in Wall Street and was interviewed by the financial channel CNBC.

    After his meetings, Monti said that the American opinion of Italy is very positive.

    He declared that “the markets, as well as other governments, have a positive opinion of the serious path Italy is taking to solve its problems,” and added: “there is a great interest in Italy and the Italian market in the US, once our economy consolidates its recovery, but even today.”

    In his speeches, Monti addressed the Greek situation. “I do not believe that Greece will have a default or will be excluded from the euro zone,” he told RaiNews24. He also underlined the inexistent connection between the Greek situation and the Italian, defining a “thrilling fiction” the hypothesis of an Italian default or of an Italian exit from the Euro zone.

    In his interview with CNBC, the Italian Prime Minister also underlined that Italian banks are less affected than other countries’ banks by the effects of the crisis.

    Talking about the liberalizations and simplification measures his government is adopting in Italy, Monti said: “The measures applied in Italy will bring the Italian budget in balance within 2013, two years earlier than many other EU nations. We will obtain our results despite the pessimistic outlook of rates and growth.”

    The Italian Prime Minister underlined the importance of keeping Italy on the path his government has put it on at the end of his mandate, with the fundamental help of an active Parliament, ready to take quick decisions. Monti said: “we started this economic path not for the market but for the Italians. However, the market gains as well.”

    The reform of the job market is the next measure in the government’s agenda. It will be “more flexible, modern and less discriminatory toward young people and those who live abroad”.

    At the end of his meeting in Wall Street, Monti visited the United Nation Headquarters to meet with Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and President of the General Assembly Al-Nasser. He then visited the Consulate General of Italy and met representatives of fellow Italian Institutions.