Buddy’s Blog – 03/20/14
It was sometime in 2012 that the Italian Government contacted our offices and announced the year of 2013 would be dedicated, in the United States, as the Year of Italian Culture. One could only imagine the excitement the many programs, exhibitors, concert performances, television activities and more would generate here in America. After all, Italy has so much to offer in so many areas of history and culture. The Italian culture has a tremendous impact on Americans and the American economy, with consumers spending almost $30 billion on Italian products yearly, with over $4 billion in tourism itself.
At that time I met with Italian officials in Washington, D.C. at the Italian Embassy to discuss the role the Italian Tribune would play and what we could do to assist in this yearlong celebration. Without boring you with details, I left that meeting knowing that this effort was doomed to fail. There was no organization and no plan. The government of Italy would embarrass itself, I thought, as I drove back to my office. How could they trumpet such a celebration for 2013 and have no idea how to achieve success?
The Italian Tribune, which is dedicated to the positive promotion of Italy and Italian Americans on a weekly basis, would further these efforts with a special monthly insert saluting the Year of Italian Culture and the Italy of yesterday and today. Except for a senseless and useless random cocktail party at which an official of the Italian government would attend, what did the government of Italy do to distinguish itself in 2013 in the United States? The Year of Italian Culture, as sponsored and represented by the Italian government, was a joke and an embarrassment. Not an ad on television featuring their many UNESCO sites, or many historical or religious destinations. Not a mention or follow up article appeared in any major publication.
I mention this total failure because I am not one to give a free pass and overlook stupidity. There may come a claim that there did not exist the required resources to make this effort a success and to that I say, “How can you succeed when you do not know how?”
If I sound a little irritated by the Italian government’s behavior I am. They made a great announcement about what 2013 would bring and it brought nothing. The sixth largest world economy should act like it, rather than give the impression that position worldwide was achieved by accident.