Ambassador and Mrs. Sergio Mercuri of Italy in Seoul hosted a reception at their residence in Hannam-dong, Seoul on the evening of June 2, 2014 in celebration of the National Day of Italy and the 130th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Italy.
It had rained on and off during the day and the host and guests had been worried that it might ruin the most auspicious occasion for the two countries.
However, obviously the host and guests had the blessings of God as the intermittent fine drizzle was so light that it only added to the comfort and pleasant ambience of the party both inside the building and on the garden outside as it only drove away the summer heat.
It was one of the best-attended National Day functions in recent months with Korean and international guests from various segments of Korean society and the international community?as well as the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.
Among the Korean guests were Vice Minister Cho Tae-young of Foreign Affairs, Chief Presidential Secretary Mo Chul-min on Education and Culture, Chairman Rep. Shin Kinam of Korean-Italian Parliamentary Friendship Association, Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post and Vice Mayor Cho Dong-Young of the Busan Metropolitan City.
From the SDC came many mission chiefs, including Ambassadors Konstanin Vnukov of Russia, Hakan Okcal of Turkey, Nikoloz Apkhazava of Georgia, Jose Luis Bernal of Mexico, Hocine Sahraoui of Algeria, Natallia Jhylevich of Belarus, Hernan Brantes Glavic of Chile, Tito Saul Pinilla of Colombia, Manuel Lopez Trigo of Costa Rica, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Jaroslav Olsa, jr. of Czech Republic, Peter Lysholt Hansen of Denmark, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Tomasz Kozlowski of the Europan Union, Gustavo Adolfo Lopez Calderon of Guatemala, Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla of Holy See, Dulat Bakisher of Kazakhstan, Ngovi Kitau of Kenya, Duishonkul Chotonov of Kyrgyzstan, Mohammed Chraibi of Morocco, Desmond Akawor of Nigeria, Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Ceferino Adrian Valdez Peralta of Paraguay, Krzysztof Majka of Poland, Antonio Quintero Nobre of Portugal, Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia and Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine.
There was a special guest on that day from Italy, namely Undersecretary of State Senator Della Vedova, who introduced Expo Milano 2014 and asked Korean business and other representatives to take part.
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Mercuri said in part: “Our usual logo symbolizing the tight and intertwined relations between our two societies promoted in this beautiful country is enriched this time by the written marks of this important threshold: 130 years of reciprocal acquaintance and mutual friendship. The motto here on display?referring to our two cultures as cornerstone of this relationship?completes and significantly qualifies this special relation: Korea and Italy: 130 Years of Bilateral Relations.” (See excerpts from the speech toward the end of this Article.)
Then came the remarks by Undersecretary of State Senator Della Vedova, which were perhaps more important in view of the continuously growing tis of cooperation and exchange in the economic field between the two countries. He extensively introduced Expo Milano 2015.
He said: “In 2015 Italy will have the honor to hose the 2015 World Expo in Milan under the main theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.” Then he stated that Expo Milan 2015 will represent a major global event, acting as a comprehensive platform for discussion and as a showcase for industrial innovation, showing prospects for the future on a wide range of key issues for the progress of civilization, including food security and global and sustainable access to nutrition.” (See further details at the end of this Article.).
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Mercuri:Vice Minister Cho Tae Young, Undersecretary of State Senator Della Vedova, Honorable Members of the National Assembly, Excellencies, Distinguished guests, I’m very grateful for your precious presence here today. In your company it is an even bigger honor and pleasure to celebrate with you the Italian National Day for this 2014.
This year the 2nd of June, traditional day of commemoration for the adoption of the Italian Republican Constitution, is falling under the 130th Anniversary of the opening of Diplomatic Relations between Korea and Italy (1884-2014)
Our usual logo symbolizing the tight and intertwined relations between our two societies promoted in this beautiful country is enriched this time by the written marks of this important threshold: 130 years of reciprocal acquaintance and mutual friendship. The motto here on display ? referring to our two cultures as cornerstone of this relationship ? completes and significantly qualifies this special relation: Korea and Italy: 130 Years of Bilateral Relations.
Our two Cultures ? in the more comprehensive meaning of this word ? and our passion for always new achievements in this area, have already produced during the first half of 2014 ? here in Korea as well as in Italy ? several outcomes: Exhibitions, Opera and Music concerts, cultural and scientific Symposia without neglecting economic and trade initiatives.
The next event to be realized is the Business Forum to be held in Milan June two years after a similar initiative in December 2011 in Seoul ? Thursday the 5th of June, with the participation of H.E. Trade and Industry Minister Yoon Sang-jik together with and important Korean Companies Delegation.
But the highest moment in this celebratory year will be reached in October when Madame President Park Geun-hye will carry out an official visit to Italy under the invitation of the President of the Italian republic Giorgio Napolitano and in coincidence with the ASEM Summit in Milan. We all look forward to make of this visit another landmark in our bilateral history.
In the common path Korea and Italy share on the world scene, both as responsible actors of the international relations, you may find several similarities. Among them a specific kind of initiative is marking in both countries this attitude in a very meaningful way.
Two years ago the entire world has taken part with huge interest to the Yeosu International EXPO in 2012 and Italy to has been an active partner in that event here perfectly organized under the theme “ The Living Ocean and Coast”.
Next year in 2015 a new gathering in the framework of the Bureau International Des Expositions ‘activities is expected from May 1st to October 31 in Milan. A new Universal EXPO is going to open on the theme “Feeding the planet energy for life”.
Milan will build on the legacy of the Yeosu Declaration through advocating for best practices, respect of biodiversity as a foundation for human survival and in general supporting sustainable development.
Today symbols, videos and other illustrative material will help you focusing on that event and considering your participation.
Excerpts from Proposta Di Intervento of Undersecretary Vedova:
On the special occasion offered by the celebration of the Italian National Day, I would like to focus on the most important event that is about to take place in Italy, and in the whole Europe, for many years ahead.
In 2015 Italy will have the honour to host the 2015 World Expo in Milan, under the main theme “Feeding the planet. Energy for Life”.
Expo Milan 2015 will represent a major global event, acting as a comprehensive platform for discussion and as a showcase for industrial innovation, showing prospects for the future on a wide range of key issues for the progress of civilization, including food security and global and sustainable access to nutrition.
In this framework, through the Milan World Expo and its theme, the Italian Government is going to contribute to the global debate on nutrition, as well as on the UN Millennium Development Goals ? which will reach their deadline in 2015 ? and their successors, the Sustainable Development Goals, presently under discussion.
The response from the international community has been very satisfactory: 147 Countries and International Organizations have so far confirmed they will join us in Milan for this extraordinary event. The number reached so far largely exceeds the goal set by the Italian Government towards the Bureau International des Expositions, when a presence of 130 International Participants was defined as the target.
In the current global economic context, Italy is investing on a sustainable and innovative concept of Expo. We conceive it not only as a national endeavour, but also as a European event through which Italy and Europe will promote a virtuous cooperation with emerging regions, encouraging a process of profound innovation in the food production and distribution chain.
In our perspective, Expo 2015 will be a success if we are able to change our attitude on the use of land and water; if we can give concrete answers to the fight against malnutrition as well as on bad and over nutrition; if we are able to agree on strategies aiming at the reduction of food waste and losses.
These concepts are very much in line with the priorities of the United Nations, as it was highlighted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month in Rome, where he reiterated the importance of the Milan World Expo as a means to reach and influence the world public on such global challenges.
The universal character of the theme Expo Milan not only requires a large membership of participants, but also their active contribution: this is why we adopted an inclusive and cooperative approach from the beginning of the participation campaign. We offer the highest quality container, but the content will be the result of a team work of Governments, international organizations, businesses and private citizens.
Korea represents a key partner for Italy. This year, as you know, we celebrate the 130th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between our two countries. In this framework, I will be very glad to attend the Business Forum Korea-Italy that the Embassy of Korea in Rome is organizing in Milan on June 5th, with the participation of hundreds of Korean and Italian companies.
The choice of Milan to host the event is to me also a confirmation of Korean authorities’ serious interest in the participation in EXPO 2015. Such interest has translated into a remarkable political and financial commitment (testified by the figures of the exposition space, among the biggest in the event), that we appreciate considerably.
We therefore look forward to welcoming Korea, a strategic partner of Italy, in the EXPO. We are counting on your contribution for the success of the event. EXPO shall be also taken as an opportunity to further enhance our bilateral relations.
I want to express sincere and deep appreciation for the support provided by Samsung, global partner of the organizing Company Expo Milano 2015, whose contribution is of paramount value in the complex management of the Event organization.
Furthermore, I would like to express gratitude to all representatives of EXPO 2015 partner companies.
I would like to take advantage of this occasion to thank the Korean Government, through its representatives here, for the commitment, and express the appreciation of the Italian Government for the enthusiasm you demonstrated in joining us in this challenge.