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Sequi: `Export and culture boom. Our Italy in the world” (Corriere della Sera)

ROME – Today and tomorrow, the XIV Conference of Italian Ambassadors is scheduled at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, with over 130 of our Heads of Missions throughout the world. The event will be opened by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and closed by the Italian President of the Council of Ministers, Mario Draghi.

Ambassador Ettore Sequi, the title chosen this year is ” Ripartire Insieme (Starting over together)”. What are the objectives?

«The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is a complex administration in its organisational structure. It is therefore essential that we all meet for a few days in one place to take stock of the results achieved and to outline priorities and courses of action for the near future. We will discuss Italy’s interests and place in today’s world, the role of women in diplomacy and effective multilateralism. The works of the Conference will be divided into sessions inspired by the three thematic pillars of the Italian G20 Presidency that has just ended: People, Planet, Prosperity. But we have added a fourth word that also begins with a “P”: Peace».

Secretary-General, COVID 19 is a tragedy for the whole world: what contribution can Italy make?

«Two facts. In 2020, emergency interventions favouring Italians abroad, coordinated by our Crisis Unit, more than tripled compared to 2019, exceeding 150,000. Moreover, bridging the gap in vaccines with low-income countries certainly responds to a moral imperative but should also be considered an action in the interest of Italians. From the very beginning, Italy has supported multilateral initiatives such as the Act Accelerator and the Covax Facility with almost 400 million euros and committed to donating over 45 million doses by 2021».

Italy is committed to a major campaign to promote the country system abroad: what are the challenges for 2022?

«Today, we can talk about a real boom in Italian exports. In absolute values, exports in the first ten months of 2021 – equal to about 423 billion euros – exceeded the 356 billion of the same period, in 2020, and the 402 billion reached in the first ten months of 2019, the golden year of Italian exports. Italy is polycentric, resilient, and full of talent. Therefore, these are the guidelines of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ programming for 2022, the year in which the new Directorate-General for Public and Cultural Diplomacy will be created. We will present, with original formats produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, production chains, technological and scientific centres, and stories of sustainability and inclusiveness».

The year 2021 was also marked by the tragic stories of two young Italian diplomats: Ambassador Luca Attanasio, killed in Congo. And Tommaso Claudi, consul in Afghanistan, the protagonist in the confusing days of the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul.

«I thank you for remembering the two colleagues. Luca dedicated a large part of his career to serving Italy in difficult places and situations. I hope his memory will be an inspiration to many young colleagues. Tommaso’s work in Afghanistan was also guided by a spirit of service, courage, and preparation. Therefore, to the recruits interested in this career, I extend the invitation to consider it a profession putting Italy at the centre of its mission. I borrow, and fully share, a concept very close to Minister Di Maio’s heart: “There is nothing higher than putting oneself at the service of one’s own country».