Sunday, October 17, 2010

The other Italy

I just received this message from our friend Charles Versaggi that I thought would be interesting to share. It gives a good prospective on how second/third generation Italian-Americans are perceiving what's happening in Italy. It follows a pretty interesting debate raised a few days ago during the BAIA event "Transplanting start-ups in Silicon Valley: does it work?"

Buongiorno Marco,

As I work more closely with the Mind the Bridge Foundation and the Italian business sector, I'm learning more and more about the "other Italy."Underneath the romanticism of Tuscan villas and La Dolce Vita, lies another Italy I'm only now beginning to comprehend and understand. Starting with the enigma of Berlusconi and the 'sclerotic gerontocracy' he oversees, to the mass exodus of its educated youth, I can't help but conclude Italy is undergoing a socio-economic crisis that threatens its future stature as a 21st Century world player — and I'm not talking about the World Cup.

I appreciated the thoughtful comments you and the other panelists provided at last Thursday's BAIA event. Sensing you and others were only scratching the surface of an ongoing dilemma, I dug deeper and read your recent blog and the string of TIME links that gave me an eyeopening overview of Italy's growing dilemma.

I agree with your three points recommending a global view. Indeed, we are all citizens of the world and participants in a global economy. But as an Italian-American who was conceived in Italy and born in the U.S., like a salmon that moves relentlessly upstream to its spawning grounds, I still have an instinctive yearning for my homeland. The dilemma of this first-generation Italian-American is that sometimes I'm not sure where home is. For today's bright Italian youth attempting to embrace a world view, I suspect the conundrum is all the more frustrating.

All the best,

1 comment:

Chaz said...

"Think like an immigrant" was one of the themes I touched upon in the MtB Boot Camp I conducted last month. Omid Kordestani, Google’s 12th employee whose net worth is reportedly over $1 billion, echoed this sentiment in the commencement speech he gave at San Jose State University in 2007:

“To keep an edge, I must think and act like an immigrant. There is a special optimism and drive that I benefited from and continue to rely on that I want all of you to find. Immigrants are inherently dreamers and fighters.”

A poignant message to consider.
Charles Versaggi