I met Fabio Porta for the first time in a bar after a conference on a book on Italian emigration and he immediately proved intrigued by the Town Ambassador Award that lives on his skin.
In fact, Fabio was born in Sicily, in the splendid Caltagirone where art is inside every person and where his mother and part of his family of origin still live. Then in 1994 Brazil arrives and changes his life. He already had experience in international cooperation, but the impact with Brazil means a new family and two beautiful girls.
Political commitment was born as a student and in 2006 he was elected for the first time for the division of South America.
“Our task as deputies elected abroad is also to build bridges between the two communities of Italian residents and Italians abroad. And this is a creative task that requires a love for our two roots, which in my case are Italian and Brazilian, and also a new involvement in local life.
We know the language of our parents or grandparents who arrived in South America in search of fortune, we know the dynamics of the first Italian communities and clubs abroad, but today we have to learn or experiment with new languages to reach the younger generations: the ex-pat or the descendants of those who left Italy.”
So, when he heard about the Town Ambassador Award for the first time, he thought that in a very simple and original way it solved a big problem that everyone who left has. People who often sent money home to Italy for family and who rarely returned. The award is recognition for the sacrifices made and also a gesture of love that reciprocates all the love that many have kept in their hearts for their country of departure.
“But that's not all: getting to know each other is the first step in establishing new relationships and in building yet another piece of the future together. And the modern Town Ambassador interviews that tell the person's story by focusing on the relationship with the country is an original way of getting to know each other".
Even before being Italian, many emigrants feel like citizens of their town of origin which they always have in their hearts. Their Italian story stopped the moment they left and the community of their town of origin does not know the successes and joys they have had in their new country of residence. And it's time to fill this void.
Many then have the problem of being able to convey these emotions to their children and grandchildren, seeking a new role for them in the Italian community.
This is why I invited Fabio to the award ceremony of the Town Ambassador network project that we did with Alessia Pieretti from the Rome Metropolitan Area and his speech touched the hearts of everyone present: "The Town Ambassador Award can be an interesting tool above all in the declination that was given to the project of the Metropolitan Area of Rome where both the Italians who left and the foreigners who chose to live in our villages were awarded.
What then surprised me in this project of the Metropolitan Area of Rome was also the new dynamics of relations between South America and Italy with the creation of new local communities and a sense of belonging that could last a lifetime.
In fact, among the winners there are three people who have chosen to come and live in small Italian villages and who did not have roots in the villages of Gavignano and Licenza”.
It is true that Marcia Jerinimo Camillo Alves later discovered that she had an Italian grandfather, from Emilia-Romagna, but she made this discovery after moving to Gavignano in Italy. While the two Chilean artists Francisco and Andres do not have Italian roots.