The National Day of the Republic of Italy was marked on Monday, May 27thin Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH’s) capital Sarajevo.
“This day is always important for us, but this year it is especially relevant for three reasons. The first one is that this last year we have marked a crucial anniversary: the opening of the first Consulate General of Italy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 155 years ago. At that time Italy had been unified since barely two years, but it immediately felt the need to follow more closely the developments in the Balkans and to better understand Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Italian Ambassador to BiH Nicola Minasi said during the address.
“The third thing we celebrate today is the friendship between our countries. This lives thanks to people who, for many reasons, both good and sometimes bad, are connected to this land. I think of the peace workers and soldiers who lost their lives during the war, but especially of all those who, in silence, have never stopped helping the citizens of BiH. I think especially of the hundreds of Italian families, individuals and institutions who have welcome people from BiH and opened relations of sincere friendship, which are still thriving,” Minasi added.
So, a new engagement and adventure started, that has been rich, deep and sometimes difficult.
“We have retrieved the first documents from the Consulate in Rome and they contain many important information about BiH during the Ottoman period. I have been absolutely surprised to find that already then Italian groups and citizens were present in the country.
The second anniversary we celebrate is the birth of Leonardo Da Vinci, who was born 500 years ago. He is the symbol of humanism, Renaissance and European culture,” Minasi added.
Minasi added that Leonardo loved research and human progress and always worked for the growth of humanity rather than for his own personal interest, developing new ideas and projects even when in his time nobody had the means to realize them.
Expanding the horizons of imagination and cooperation, following in the footsteps of Leonardo, has been the idea behind the Day of Italian Research that was held in Tuzla last month and is the key to technological cooperation we want to establish with Trieste, which will be the European City of Science in 2020. This is also the basis of all we do in the cultural sector, like the founding of the Youth Orchestra of BiH, the coproduction of the “Barber of Seville” with the Sarajevo National Theatre, the cooperation with the War Childhood Museum during the EMYA awards last week.
As a sign of recognition and in the name of the President of the Republic of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, Minasi expressed special thanks to two people: Zlatko Dizdarević and Srečko Latal, who are made Commander and Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity.
Zlatko Dizdarević, journalist, writer and diplomat, director of “Oslobodjenje” during the war, has created deep and fruitful relations with the entire Italian society, including politicians and journalists, giving a fundamental contribution to the dialogue between BiH and Italy.
Srečko Latal, one of the best analysts in the country, former researcher with the International Crisis Group, journalist and regional coordinator for BIRN, has extended crucial help to Italy and our better understanding of events in the country. Beyond that, he is the perfect example of the presence of Italians in BiH, since he is an Italian citizen and descendant of Italians who came to the country between the two World Wars.
“This all is a concrete sign of what we have done, what we can and what will do. The destination is clear: reaching the european family, to which bih belongs. As the results of the latest eu parliament elections show, democracy is alive and kicking in the continent. It can take the most diverse forms, but one thing is clear: people want to participate and politics need to interpret the real needs of the citizens. This applies also to bih and politicians are called to create a better environment for constructive dialogue and to win the trust of the young, which is necessary for success in any country. We are ready to work with you all to make this happen. It takes good will from both sides and we must strive to be up to the challenge. For our part, we have been striving to do this for the last 155 years and be sure we will continue to do it in the future,” Minasi concluded.