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The Apulian community of New York had the opportunity to meet for the first time the new governor of their region, Nichi Vendola, and it did it with a tangible interest and enthusiasm, filling the hall of St .Anthony's Society of Brooklyn. Introduced by the President of the Circolo Culturale di Mola, Leonardo Campanile, to an audience that included dozens of representatives of various associations, members of the Federation of Apulian Associations of the tri-state area, Vendola spoke of his trip in the U.S., which had proven to be "very fruitful for (my) Region: international high-level relations, learning information on the best practices which are put into action in other parts of the world, study what they do in California on sustainable mobility, on hydrogen-powered cars, to learn what they do in other parts of the world to help the planet not to choke and make a better world for future generations. " The governor then stated that he lived the previous days' very intensely, especially because he represented Apulia and Italy in front of very important players in the world "and that he was the only Italian at the summit convened in California by Governor Schwarzenegger to lead the world economy towards the goal of environmental sustainability. The political sensitivity of this man, shown in its stances on the environment, has been proven by his speech, addressed to the crowd of emigrants who had turned up to celebrate his visit and express their joy, but also to ask questions about their regions.


From the left, the author Tiziano Thomas Dossena, Hon. Nichi Vendola and Leonardo Campanile.

Vendola spoke of the Apulia region as of an almost 'legendary' place, listing its cities and praising them for their unique and unforgettable beauty, offering a sort of collage of images and descriptions that fully reflected his poetic vein. The Chairman of the Environment and Freedom Party took advantage of the occasion to praise the role of immigrants: "Apulia is the people who fostered all over the world progress, talent, affluence, who have worked hard, who have carried in their heart the image of their homeland.” Vendola then felt it necessary to specify that, referring to the love of the emigrant for his homeland, "for the one who lives from far the place of his family, its history, its cradle and its roots, he retains a clear memory of it, he cultivates it, and he always brings it with him. Love cannot simply mean to describe the beauty of your place. Love means to locate your place and give pride to that place, which is not parochialism; pride is the ability to keep the good things we have and make it available to others. " With an audience clearly captivated by his magic words, Vendola completed the discussion on migration, stating that the names of the cities he had heard in the hall were the names of his life and his feelings, and that "the beautiful Apulia is also peasant laborers, and the pride and great struggles that have brought great comfort ", but that in the south of Italy there is a curse: "To travel is not a recognized verb, only to emigrate is known." The friendly bard of Italian politics has therefore expressed his wish that “his grandchildren could travel without this meaning to emigrate, because to emigrate is painful and not acceptable. " The governor Vendola then concluded his speech by declaring: "I love the words of President Obama because they show us the need to build a better culture in a new era. You know, I'm a man of the left and I became one also because of my love for America. I've always associated the word 'left' also to the love for New York, for all the wonderful things that this city has built. We must never forget that many of the builders of the wonders of New York were Italian." The warm and prolonged applause given by the participants at the event confirmed that his words had hit the mark and that his countrymen had appreciated his availability. After his extraordinary speech, Leonardo Campanile, who is also vice-chairman of the Federation and managing director of the quarterly L’Idea, introduced Tiziano Thomas Dossena, Editorial Director of that magazine and Marketing Director of Idea Publications, who donated to the governor three books recently published by his publishing house. In his brief speech, Dossena indicated that the executives of "Idea Publications had strong and undeniable ties to Apulia: Leonardo and Domenic Campanile by birth, Silvana Mangione by heritage and I am Apulian by adoption." Regarding Dr. Silvana Mangione, editorial director of the publishing house, Dossena said that it was she who affirmed: "A new publishing house was founded because there is a lack of thought that needs to be filled. It arises because a wide range of people want to be known, to make their voice heard, to affirm their capacity to contribute to the cultural heritage of their country of origin or residence. Idea Publications was created for all those reasons. In our view, the Italian culture is composed of three equally important elements: the culture produced in Italy by people who were born and living there; the one produced by the Italians and descendants of Italians abroad, wherever they are, and that produced by foreign people living in Italy. In creating this publishing house, we decided that our voice would be that the "culture of return": that is, go to our native land, bringing the richness of the culture produced by us and still carrying the fragrance of Italy." The Milanese writer added: "Together, we proposed to the Apulia Region to help us publish the Italian translation of a collection of short stories of an author from Apulia, Fred Gardaphè. The project started in 2008 and the book, entitled Imported from Italy, was published in 2009, the first volume of the ‘Writers Italians Abroad’ series. This book was followed by Puer Centum Annorum, the biography of Don Bruno, the beloved pastor of Mola di Bari and by Doña Flor, An Opera By van Westerhout, both Apulian books in all senses. We therefore donate these three books, in the hope that ours is the right path to continue so that the culture of Apulia in the world actually becomes a culture of return. " The important event then concluded with the gifting from the President of the Federation of Apulian Associations John Mustaro of a crystal apple, a symbol of the Big Apple that Vendola declared to love so much.

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