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Commentary: Texas and Italy — a friendship spearheading into the future

Data:

04/10/2017


Commentary: Texas and Italy — a friendship spearheading into the future

Italian ambassador to the U.S. Armando Varricchio, left, presents a gift from the city of Amatrice to Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday at the governor’s mansion in Austin. Special to the American-Statesman

 

When the president of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, visited the United States in February 2016, he decided to stop in Texas as a testament to the outstanding contribution that the Lone Star State has made and continues to make to the economic, scientific and technological success of the union. During his visit, the president underscored the key role Texas plays in advancing the boundaries of knowledge and development to the benefit of humankind.

My visit to Austin and Houston to meet local authorities and institutions is a follow-up to that significant event and is aimed at reinforcing and renewing the robust ties between Texas and Italy — bonds that are constantly strengthened by vibrant and energetic Italian and Italian-American communities and represent a strong bridge between the two sides of the Atlantic

The history of relations between Texas and Italy stretches back centuries. Italians were among the first Europeans to come to Texas. Amerigo Vespucci probably viewed the Texas coast in 1497 — and his countrymen were with Vazquez de Coronado in his epic journey across the High Plains in 1541. An Italian, Prospero Bernardi, fought alongside Texans in the war of independence at San Jacinto.

Italians are still coming to Texas. The vibrant Italian-American community, proud of its Italian heritage as well as of its Texan identity and of its contributions to both worlds, has been joined in recent years by a dynamic and qualified community of Italians who came to pursue careers in research, medicine, space or to run a business and call the Lone Star State home. Italians have been warmly welcomed and have embraced the courageous, independent and creative spirit of Texas.

And nowhere is such courage, independence and unabated desire to explore and widen the horizons of humanity more evident than in the collaboration between Italy and the U.S. at the NASA Johnson Space Center. Here, Italian scientists and astronauts — like Paolo Nespoli, currently on mission on the International Space Station — work hand in hand with their American and international colleagues to explore the depth and mysteries of space.

Such far-reaching cooperation is also happening in the economic field. The Italian entrepreneurial presence is expanding in the mechanical and petrochemical sectors, as well as in the logistics and energy fields. The Made in Italy brand is highly appreciated in many sectors, from food and wine to fashion, from luxury to interior design.

There is also a deep cultural bond between Texas and Italy reflected in the many Italian masterpieces that can be seen in museums across the state.

During my visit, I met with Gov. Greg Abbott and presented him a gift from the city of Amatrice, the central Italian town destroyed by an earthquake in August 2016, as a token of friendship and solidarity with the people of Texas so badly hit by Hurricane Harvey. This gift is also a symbol of our common resilience in the face of adversity and of the strength of the relations between our countries.

In Texas, Italian and U.S. institutions, agencies, universities and companies are promoting growth and prosperity, spearheading into the future on the basis of the shared ideals of peace, democracy, security and freedom. “Friendship” is the motto of the Lone Star State — and there are no limits to what two friends like the U.S. and Italy can achieve. As Italian ambassador to the United States, I am confident that the Italians and Italian-Americans of Texas will be at the forefront in defining the future of the relations between our two countries. It is a reason to be proud.


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