The first “Young Italians in the World” Conference will be taking place from 10 to 12 December 2008 at the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome. The conference, convened in July by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, will be chaired by Minister Frattini or by the Secretary of State with delegated responsibility for Italians Abroad, Alfredo Mantica. The opening session will be hosted by the Chamber of Deputies and will be opened by the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.
The need to convene a conference of young Italians and young people of Italian origin has been expressed with great determination in recent years by our communities abroad and their representative bodies. Its aim is to identify useful instruments to define a policy line to make the most of the resource represented by our younger generations and help strengthen their relationship with Italy.
Over the last two years in particular, the General Council of Italians Abroad (CGIE) has promoted a series of meetings for young people in each country with a significant Italian presence. During these meetings, “Young Italians – Country” papers were drawn up; these were then used as preparatory documents for the Conference.
Young people in the Italian community abroad
The Italian community abroad amounts to 3,870,000 individuals, according to consular data up-dated to 31 December 2007. The total can be broken down by geographical area as follows (based on the areas used for the CGIE):
- Europe + North Africa 55.4 %
- Latin America 31.4 %
- English-speaking countries 11.8 %
Young people in the 18-35 age group are 929,249 in number, or 24% of the total. The break-down by geographical area is very similar to that of the community as a whole:
- Europa + Nord Africa 501.659 = 53,9 %
- America Latina 308.212 = 33,1 %
- Paesi Anglofoni 94.000 = 10,1 %
Totale 903.871 = 97,1 %
- (altri) 25.378 = 2,9 %
Number of delegates from each country
The number of delegates was decided on the basis of the financial resources provided by the Government: 1.4 million euros. This enabled the Conference secretariat to over the full travel and accommodation costs for over 420 young participants.
The number of delegates allocated to each country was proportionate to the numbers of young Italians living there, as shown above. The percentages were slightly adjusted in favour of non-EU countries to allow a more significant presence from these countries than would have resulted from a straight mathematical calculation. To date, 416 delegates have registered to attend. Some delegates have had to drop out since it was impossible for them to leave their jobs or studies for a full week.
Most of the delegates are of Italian descent and are themselves Italian citizens. Others were chosen from first generation and/or “new” emigrants” (researchers, professionals, entrepreneurs, artists and other workers). 52% of the delegates are female and 48% male. Their average age is 27.
The following table shows all the countries in which at least one Committee of Italians Abroad (Comites) operates (i.e. countries with over 3000 people of Italian extraction). 124 Comites in 39 countries were considered.
|France (+Monaco Princ)||334.180||65.461||7,0||28|
|United Kingdom (+Ireland)||175.796||46.737||5,0||19|
|Mexico/Guate/Costa Rica/Dom. Republic||29.440||6.808||9|
|Rep. South Africa||30.648||7.027||0,7||7|
|pm Total other countries|
200 young people living in Italy also taking part
In addition to the delegates from abroad, an additional 200 young people living in Italy have also been invited. They include students, professionals, entrepreneurs, employees and members of the art, culture and sports communities. The political parties, trade unions, Confindustria (the employers’ association), Regions, the Ministers for Young People and for Education, and the National Emigration Committee were involved in selecting the guests.
Issues of priority interest
The issues of priority interest for young people were identified through the “Young Italians – Country” meetings organised in 22 countries by the CGIE and respective Comites. The include national identity and multiculturalism; Italian language and culture; information and communication; world of work and work in the world; and representation and participation. The conference will be structured around these five topics, with each section moderated by personalities selected by the Dante Alighieri from the academic and journalism communities. They include Paolo Peluffo, Nicola Piepoli, Pierluigi Vercesi, Mario Morcellini, Francesco Delzio, Renzo Prencipe and Graziano Tassello. The papers produced by the five thematic working groups will be presented in the Plenary session for discussion and approval. The moderators have already started a blog where the young delegates who have expressed their preference for one or other of the thematic groups are registered.
The Conference itself will be preceded on 8 and 9 December by a continent-based Pre-Conference that will give an overview of the situation of young Italians in each geographical area.
The Organising Committee
The Organising Committee is composed of 30 members and includes the Mayor of Rome, members of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, representatives of the Ministries involved (Education, Cultural Assets, Young People, Regional Affairs), members of the CGIE, and experts in youth issues. Five representatives of Regions that have shown a particular interest in issues concerning the new generations of Italians abroad (perhaps originating from these same regions) will also be taking part.
The Organising Committee was tasked with deciding on the initiatives required to organise the Conference. It decided on the topics for debate, the criteria used to select the guests, and the Conference regulations. The Committee also appointed five of its own members to make up the Executive Committee, which has been meeting under the lead of Secretary of State Mantica to follow up on the decisions of the Organising Committee.
Italians in the world: https://www.esteri.it/MAE/IT/Italiani_nel_Mondo/