Corriere, Forlani: The “I” becomes “We”

August 2021

Today in Corriere della Sera you can read the interview with the director of the Meeting Foundation for friendship between peoples, Emmanuele Forlani. You can find it in the Good News insert, dedicated to the third sector. We propose the full text.

Interview with Emmanuele Forlani The Rimini Meeting: The "I" becomes "We""
"The challenge of the Meeting to build a We"


The Meeting returns to presence after the 2020 edition conditioned by the pandemic. Is it a sign of restart?«It is an important step. We have been working on it - confirms Emmanuele Forlani, director of the Meeting Foundation - since last autumn, confident that this summer we would return to normal, at the Rimini Fair, in our home, among our people. And we moved in time predicting everything that was possible for safety. For example, we thought about the QR code and the green pass when it was not yet on the government agenda. And now we are ready to start again».

Is there expectation? « The signals we have received so far are very enthusiastic. Starting from the response that came to us with the adhesion, in record time, of over 2 thousand volunteers. Never as this time could be an opportunity, given the concerns for health, to take a sabbatical. And instead, the response was enthusiastic».

This year's edition offers an extraordinary parterre of guests. The President of the Republic will open, then there will be 11 ministers, the European Commissioner Gentiloni and parties’ leaders. «We are in line with our tradition. Perhaps it seems more relevant because after the lockdown the Meeting is the first public event of this size. We have always aimed at dialogue and confrontation with the institutions. The presence of so many personalities is the sign of a desire for dialogue that also helps us to explain the meaning of the title we have chosen for this edition».

 "The courage to say I" what does it mean?" It is a quote from the Diary of the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard. The message has nothing narcissistic or muscular about it. You simply mean that each one, by putting himself and his responsibility at stake, can help build a We. In the last year and a half, we have seen it well if we think of the many, from health workers to teachers, who have put themselves at stake for the common good. So many people who had the courage to say “I “not to put themselves in the shop window but to guarantee to the community their contribution. It was clear that the recovery would start from this assumption of responsibility».

And in your opinion, has the country risen or is it rising? «We have intercepted a number of positive signals. Above all, there is great hope. The many invited interlocutors give us back this feeling. Ours wants to be, therefore, a small contribution to show that we are already in the midst of the restart. And we are going also to demonstrate it with some concrete examples».

What are you referring to? «I am talking in particular about two exhibitions. One is entitled "Builders of the future. When work embraces fragility" and compares 5-6 non-profit realities that have created experiences of accompaniment to the work of weak subjects. And the other, "Alliance school work. It's never too late" will show us how it is possible to invest in training and education».

Last year the Meeting hosted Mario Draghi. His speech was almost a government program. You had seen far away. «We have no merit except to keep faith with the spirit of those who always have their eyes open and try to intercept testimonies useful for the growth of the community. We invited President Draghi in the fall of 2019, well before the pandemic broke out. But having already had him as a guest, we knew what it means to work for the common good».

You have very topical issues on the bill. «We will try to decline the title of the Meeting in the different thematic areas: from education to work, environmental sustainability to science, from ecological transition to health».

The appointments are many. Which one intrigues you the most? 
«They are all very interesting. But I think that, as usual, we will be amazed by testimonies that will reach levels of great depth that will come from seemingly secondary encounters. One more reason to discover the beauty of the Meeting».

Finally, what do you expect from the presence of so many politicians? «I think that today more than ever our format has a strong value because there is a need for a real dialogue. It's not a show or a party festival. Here there is the possibility of a discussion without a net, to try to identify opportunities for common construction. Party leaders and many presidents of the Region will come. We expect important ideas and reflections».