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Belloni: «Goodbye, colleague and friend. We are proud of you» (Corriere della Sera)

The Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Luca Attanasio, and Carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci have fallen victim to a level of violence that we can neither understand nor accept. A diplomat and a Carabiniere died together, in a distant country where they were working at the service of Italy.

Yesterday, I did not express the deep sorrow of the Foreign Ministry and our most heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims because we thought that it was a time to be left alone with our emotions, in silence. Today, instead, I wish to put pen to paper to praise Luca’s example, which, so I sincerely hope, will not fade away in the years to come and may, instead, inspire young people who have made the same professional choice. He was a good and affectionate person, with the wonderful family that he loved above all else and who had accompanied him to Africa, despite the tender age of his three girls. But he was also a true diplomat, who looked on his “Career” with the enthusiasm of those who are conscious that we must all learn and seek to make our experiences without cutting any corners and by facing the challenges that a life in the diplomatic service pose at every step of the way in our professional and personal life.

Luca Attanasio joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2003 coming from Lombardy, where his parents live and where he had graduated in Economics from Bocconi University. His choice was dictated by his desire to get involved and to get to know the world, while remaining firmly anchored to his country and proud to represent it to the best of his ability.

At the Foreign Ministry he started by working in the Africa Office of the Development Cooperation Department, followed by active service abroad in many African countries, serving as Consul General in Morocco, in Casablanca, where he met Zakia, his wife. Then, he was appointed Deputy Ambassador in Abuja, Nigeria. And finally, since 2017, Ambassador in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Luca lived his profession based on the belief that he could actually help in building a better world, where loyalty and merit are placed at the service of non-negotiable values and principles, first and foremost the dignity of all human beings. He believed that Italy – acting with the European Union and the United Nations – had an important role to play in promoting development and peace. And to this he dedicated himself wholeheartedly, with humility but also with absolute commitment and preparation, working silently and composedly.

Luca was a generous person, who wanted to do good. Today, on the Embassy’s website, I saw again the video with which Ambassador Attanasio addressed the Italian community in Congo, on 2 June 2020, Italy’s Republic Day. A beautiful, simple video, in which he told his fellow citizens that “your Embassy” was at their disposal in this difficult pandemic. It was with this generous spirit, with this sense of pride in the State and the community that acknowledges in the Republic its guiding light, that yesterday Luca began his day’s work, embarking on his last trip to a distant region of Congo.

Many people are expressing their thoughts on the social media of the Foreign Ministry and many others have personally expressed their closeness and affection to me. They are all messages for Luca and represent the most beautiful testimony of what Luca has bequeathed to his family and to the Foreign Ministry. We are so proud of him.

Goodbye Luca, colleague, friend and Ambassador of Italy

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