(ANSA) - ROME, SEP 10 - Culture is an essential tool for the restart after the coronavirus and the Dubai Expo in 2021, the first global event after the pandemic broke out, will be the ideal occasion to reconstruct relations between countries and for Italy to re-launch itself on a multilateral platform.
This was the message that emerged during an ANSA Forum dedicated to cultural diplomacy that Italy's Commissioner for Expo Dubai Paolo Glisenti and the Culture Undersecretary with the portfolio for Expo Lorenza Bonaccorsi took part in.
Ida Zilio Grandi, the director of the Italian Culture Institute in Abu Dhabi, took part via video link as did cinema association ANICA President and former culture minister Francesco Rutelli from Venice.
"Italy will be a major player of the culture that will take shape at Expo Dubai," said Glisenti during the debate moderated by ANSA Deputy Editor-in-Chief Stefano Polli.
The over 150 events that Italy will take to the Emirates include a show by ballet star Roberto Bolle and international dancers, the orchestra of the Accademia della Scala, the Piazza Vittorio orchestra and Giovanni Sollima's 100 Cellos.
The double postponement caused by COVID-19 means that the Dubai Expo and the Venice Biennale will be running for the same time for almost two months, with lots of potential interactions.
"Today Italy needs to make more international products, so being in Dubai to present cinema craftsmanship, audiovisual innovation and Italy's great traditions will be an extraordinary way to promote cultural diplomacy and Italian interests in a global, multilateral context," said Rutelli.
Bonaccorsi explained that "we have a great asset that gets us recognised and makes us in demand all over the world.
"2019 was the year in which incoming foreign tourists overtook domestic ones, with 50.3% of the market, and tourism accounted for 13% of our country's GDP.
Bonaccorsi stressed that "cultural diplomacy has a fundamental role in reviving tourism in Italy.
"Tourism has suffered, it is suffering and it will suffer further.
"It is no coincidence that Expo is called 'Connecting Minds': putting relations back into circulation is a fundamental issue for the global recovery and the recovery of tourism".
The director of the Italian Culture Institute in Abu Dhabi explained that "the expectations of Italian culture are extremely high.
"Italian culture is well liked and much is expected in terms of elegance and style, but also in terms of innovation".
In a video-message, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said that culture "aids dialogue, reciprocal knowledge. It helps to overcome diversity".
United Arab Emirates Culture Minister Noura Mohammed Al Kaabi sent a video message in which she hailed relations between the countries. “The Emirates and Italy enjoy strong collaboration in the culture sector,” she said.
“Italy has been crucial in supporting our vision of openness, tolerance, creativity and social change.
“Ten years have passed since the Emirates first took part in the (Venice) Biennale.
“In that time our young nation has presented expositions that represent our rich contemporary art and our architecture.
“Our mission continues to be the promotion of tolerance and social cohesion via dynamic projects such as our pavilion in Venice and via the Italy pavilion at the Dubai Expo”.
Cultural diplomacy is also crucial for traditional diplomacy.
"Today intercultural dialogue is an essential element to reformulate and reinforce classic diplomatic relationships," Glisenti said regarding the role of the Dubai Expo in the process that led to the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. According to the Culture Undersecretary, "Expo gave a key push to the reconstruction of relations between the two countries, above all in recent months, when dialogue was difficult".