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					          GENERAL COUNCIL OF ITALIANS ABROAD
SECOND MEETING FOR THE REPRESENTATIVES OF YOUTH THEMES
     IN MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
                MEXICO CITY, June 22ND , 2008

Representative for Mexico: Barbara Origlio
Representative for Costa Rica: Giorgio Bolzoni
Representative for Guatemala: Giovanni Gandolfo

The following were also present:
Marina pazzi, area conselor for CGIE
Dr. Guido De Marco in charge of the consular chancellery of the Italian Embassy in
Mexico
Elvis De Biasi area representative in the meetings held in Rome in 2006 and 2007
Giancarlo Mortola, young Italian descendant coming from Guadalajara (Mexico)
Marco De Maria, young Italian descendant resident in Mexico City

The representative for the Dominican Republic, not signaled by the local Comites,
was absent.

                                FINAL DOCUMENT

The present document summarizes the contents of the meeting which took place in
Mexico City between the representatives of the countries of the area attended.
These contents want to represent a development of the themes presented during last
January’s meeting which are found in that final document, drafted in that occasion.
The current document represents a further step forward toward a full and broad
collaboration among Young Italians and young Italian descendants in the world and
in Italy.
All the people present contributed to the discussions, respecting the autonomy that
was given to them.
The document is presented in three parts:
I.       Current Situation of the Countries of this Area
II.      Issues
III.     Proposals

I.     Current Situation of the Countries of This Area

A step forward, in comparison to the previous meeting, was taken in the sense that,
finally, a serious debate, regarding topics tied to young people and tied to new Italian
generations in the world, went on, discussing various points of views.
What appeared from the discussion was that there is still a certain difficulty in uniting
young people and new generations.
The reasons for this disaffection must be specifically analyzed in order to be
understood; however, there seems to be a certain distance between young people and
the traditional feeling of association, because these young people do not seem able to
convey their requests or needs.
Thus making it difficult to elaborate proposals that intend to meet the needs of these
young people and of new generations of Italians in our areas.

       - Guatemala
       Compared to the situation that was reported last January, an improvement on
       the unification level has generated, and therefore there is an improvement of
       reciprocal knowledge of young people, especially with the help of sport and
       social activities.
       There has been movement outside of traditional associations due to a certain
       difficulty in being accepted as an autonomous subject carrier of specific
       interests by existing institutions.
       The organization of a football tournament, where various representatives of
       various countries were involved, offered a group of young people the
       possibility to get involved and to form an Italian team. This event stood out
       thanks to the collaboration of Italian language magazines and, for that
       moment, the event became a point of referral for young people.
       Up until today, a group of about fifteen young people, united by a common
       interest: sports, has formed. Our goal remains that of uniting them with other
       objectives as well with a particular interest towards the participation of young
       people in forming the new local Comites that, for the first time, can be elected
       instead of nominated.
       There appears to be the general need of Italian language, which is difficult to
       satisfy in loco for, both, lack of educational offer and a tendency, on the
       parents’ part, to lose the use of the Italian language because, once they are in
       this country, they speak Spanish also at home.
       To help solve this situation, the Italian Culture Institute and the local Dante
       Alighieri committee, on Comites’s request, offer scholarships to young
       Italians who are interested in studying our language.

       - Costa Rica
       In Costa Rica, the entrance flow of Italians seems to continue. However, these
       Italians do not usually look for a contact or, even less, involvement in
       community life. Therefore, it is difficult to identify and unite young Italians
       and young Italian descendants.
       Here, there is also a scarce use of Italian language among young Italian
       descendants, with a scarce offer of Italian language courses.

       - Mexico
       Mexico is characterized by a strong presence of young Italians who have
       recently migrated here. This group of immigrants is characterized mainly by
       entrepreneurs and cultural operators. There are also many descendants of
       second or third generation, like other historical communities, who are heirs of
       the first Italian immigrants. In Mexico, like the other countries of the area,
       there are the same problems of unification. Therefore, there is the same
       impossibility to express a specific analysis regarding new generations of
       young people and to formulate proposals that meet their needs.
       In Mexico it is difficult to reach the various communities spread throughout
       the countries both physically and throughout informative channels on hand,
       due to the country’s dimensions.
       Also, we must underline that the official figures of Italians who effectively
       reside in Mexico seem to be far from the real estimates because AIRE
       registrations and contacts with Italians institutions are still not a common
       practice. This fundamental deficiency of information, regarding the presence
       of Italians in the country, obviously makes the circulation of information and
       getting people involved in activities of the community, which step out of the
       classic circuits of unification (Italian schools, especially Comites), more
       complicated.
       Initiatives on the entrepreneurial and cultural field have been registered on
       behalf of institutions and traditional associations and also on behalf of new
       subjects born in loco.
       Among the descendants a loss of the Italian language has been registered. The
       offer of Italian courses is abundant in the capital city and in other major cities;
       the presence of mother tongue teachers is remarkable but there is the need of
       an adequate teacher training.
       Outside the major urban centres the offer of Italian courses drastically
       decreases.
       During the months following the first meeting, we have tried to expand the
       network among young people as much as possible, especially with the help of
       technological channels (bulletins, information diffused with mailing lists etc.),
       news papers and magazines. Moreover, we have tried to get as many young
       people as possible involved in creating a specific commission within the local
       Comites.

II.     Issues
The general debate led to the identification of some main issues regarding some
topics taken into consideration.

       - Language/ Identity
       The loss of the Italian language is far from being a problem that concerns only
       Italian descendants; it is an issue that should also worry Italians who have
       recently migrated to these countries. The need to integrate oneself quickly in
       the society that is hosting them entails a high risk, even for people born in
       Italy, of weakening their mother tongue, at least from a fluent form that does
       not contain interferences.
       Children born abroad are the first “victims” who are not aware of this
       situation because they can also lose all the cultural richness that language
       transmits. Therefore, language should be considered a channel of cultural
       identity, to take in and produce a new culture, in a dynamic dimension which
       is not only passive or tied to keeping customs that are often no longer in use in
       Italy.
- Young people and forming associations
Traditional associations in general do not seem able to attract young people
and get them involved. They have not been able, up until today, to offer these
people a valid and decisive space where they can express themselves.
The world of associations may need to be reconsidered so it can coexist with
new forms of unification that will be able to meet the needs of a rapidly
evolving community of immigrants and descendants.

- Institutions
There seems to be a lack of awareness, on behalf of young people, regarding
institutions that represent them as Italians abroad. The perception they have is
that of organizations they can turn to, solely when they must request a
passport or when they can take advantage of their condition of Italian
descendants.
The existence of institutions such as CGIE or Comites, their functions and
their prerogatives are almost completely disregarded.
Even on this topic, the debate focused on the role of current institutions and
their relationship with their community, underlining the constant turmoil that
result in the creation of new forms of community questioning the values and
functions of these institutions and, at the same time, creating alternative
spaces, and other forms of dialogues between citizens and other institutions
that concentrate more on an active participation directed to solving problems
and needs “from the inside.”

- Multiculturalism
 The second principle is reconfirmed, according to which, away from all
stereotypes, everyone has the right to show their Italian identity, respecting
the differences that derive from their various migrating experiences.
The countries that host us exercise a remarkable cultural influence on us that
is also carried out by salvaging our characteristics and this activity can create
a “new culture” that, like the one produced in Italy, can claim its dignity and
compete with the general progress of the peninsula.

- Diffusion
Expanding the diffusion of information and initiatives, entering and leaving
our countries, to and from Italy, is necessary, knocking down boundaries of
mentality that keep young Italians who live in Italy well away from their
compatriots who live abroad.
The problem of the distance does not concern only the descendants, but also
Italians of recent immigration who risk being excluded from cultural
“updates”. We spoke about strengthening already existing media and the
possibility if creating new ones. New technologies, evidently, represent the
most efficient means to reach as many people as possible in the least time
possible, but the printed press should not be penalized for this reason,
especially in those areas where not everyone has easy access to these forms of
technology.
       A greater spread of news and information may be able to give us the necessary
       occasions to meet, that are often limited to celebrations that are more or less
       official.

IV.    Proposals
The proposals we expressed here are directed to giving solutions to some of the
problems that appeared during the debate.

       -   Due to the almost non-existent knowledge of the world of young people
           and of the new generations in our countries, we consider an explorative
           investigation on these topics necessary. This investigation should follow
           scientific criteria and its results should be handled by competent staff. An
           analysis of the situation and concrete proposals can be formed only with a
           clear picture of our realities. Good results of this investigation require
           synergy of various the competences of the Italian communities in the area
           in order to extend the initiative as much as possible.
       -   The problem of the loss of the Italian language should be faced calculating
           interventions, that should already start, also within the family getting the
           parents involved in socializing their children guaranteeing, both parents
           and children, a constant and open dialogue with their identity.
       -   In order not to multiply existing media, we have decided to incorporate the
           “Window Inform- Young People” in the blog for the Guatemala youth
           Group that is in the process of construction. This to enhance an already
           existing media.
       -   For the same reason, the use of facebook page of the Guatemalan
           representative, Giovanni Gandolofo, will be extended. The objective here
           is to create a means of information and of diffusion of initiatives tied to
           the world of young Italians in our area and abroad. This page should also
           be considered a virtual place where one can share realities and
           experiences; a “modeled’ place by the users who will be able to add any
           type of contribution, audio, video, written, on this page.
       -   In anticipation of the Conference of Young Italians in the World, it seems
           opportune to suggest that CGIE organize a national meeting to be held in
           the various countries by October, at the latest, in order to give visibility to
           the initiative we are bringing forth, along with CGIE, and to stimulate
           more involvement on behalf of other young people in other communal
           activities that may occur in the future. A more intense national meeting
           may give the base for the creation of a more open and transparent dynamic
           of participation, throughout which we hope to establish democratic
           methods of delegates’ nominations that will perform more representative
           functions in the future. Said meeting (or similar decentralized meetings)
           should occur whether the Conference takes place or not because there is a
           need to create ties among young people that now do not exist.
       -   These meetings are especially important to focus on common themes of
           Italian descendants of first, second ect generation and those of recently
           immigrated Italians.
-   Due to the large number of compatriots who, once they are abroad,
    dedicate themselves to a profession for which they have not been
    professionally trained, there is the need to provide the possibility to
    promote, in loco, (the management should also be in loco) coursed
    addressed to professional re-qualification. These courses will also,
    obviously, be to the advantage of Italian descendants.
-   There seems to be the need of other unification forms that are alternative
    to traditional ones, even in the communication field, like in sports and in
    schools, which are important considering the age, but that are on the
    outside of conventional schemes that transmit Italian culture. The
    importance of means of communication to diffuse Italian identity among
    compatriots, and not only, pushes us to consider the possibility of creating
    an Italian radio station (or programmes in Italian in existing radio stations)
    with the help of specific funding to identify among public and private
    institutions.

				
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