Italian Consulate organizes weeklong cultural event

Italian Consul General Simone Petroni, with the guests of honor Nabil A. Baashan and Saudi journalist Sadiya Muhandis at the “Pinocchio a matita” exhibition at the Italian Cultural Center.

Italian Consul General Simone Petroni, with the guests of honor Nabil A. Baashan and Saudi journalist Sadiya Muhandis at the “Pinocchio a matita” exhibition at the Italian Cultural Center.

The Italian Consulate in Jeddah launched a week-long cultural event on Sunday to celebrate the 14th week of “Italian Language in the World” followed by an evening dedicated to Expo Milan 2015, comprising an opera concert and a beautiful exhibition of the literary locations in Milan.

Italian Consul General Simone Petroni welcomed the guests of honor Nabil A. Baashan and Sheikh Khaled Bagedo, other guests and the Italian community to the event organized at the Italian Cultural Center.

He explained that the Italian Language Week has been celebrated by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2001.

“This remarkable initiative is part of the overall effort undertaken by the Italian government to promote the study of the Italian language and the knowledge of the Italian culture abroad,” he said.

He added that in Saudi Arabia, the Italian Embassy and the Consulate General of Italy are strongly committed to forging ties with local universities and cultural institutions, with a view to strengthen the cultural cooperation between the two countries and “to help the Saudi public to appreciate the huge cultural heritage of our country.”

Elaborating on the celebrations, he said that every year a particular subject or theme is selected from current global events and the theme for this year’s edition is: “Writing the New Europe: Italian Publishers, Authors and Readers in the Digital Era.”

“The idea is to enhance the role of the book in its many forms, in the development of the concept of Europe as a tool for the dissemination of culture and civilization,” he said, adding that they had decided this year to combine the Italian Language week with the commemoration of the Centenary of the First World War, by screening the movie “Torneranno i prati” by Ermanno Olmi, to coincide with the national preview of the movie on Nov. 4 in Rome.

Students of the Italian School in Jeddah presented an act from one of the celebrated Italian books ever “The adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Lorenzini. Known as Collodi, the children’s classic has spawned hundreds of editions, stage plays and movies.

The novel has been translated into more than 240 languages worldwide, which makes it the most translated Italian book and eventually the most read non-religious book of all time.

It is certainly a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character, but is also much more complex than a simple fairy tale-like story of the rewards of goodness and obedience. Moreover, there are countless themes addressed in the story, other than the very recognizable one of voyage as initiation into maturity, the overcoming of hardships and the search for a mother’s love.

“The book highlights, in particular, a dualism between individualism and freedom, conformity and obedience, that can also be explained in the context of the period of Italian history in which Collodi lived, when there was a great push toward nation building, and the formation of Italian citizens with shared values became a crucial issue. So in order to make “the Italian people Italian” the need for shaping individuals into citizens was strongly felt,” he said.

The exhibition “Pinocchio a matita” by the Francesca Perrotta, a series of beautiful drawings about Pinocchio, was on display and the awesome movie “Le avventure di Pinocchio” by Luigi Comencini was also showcased during the event.

“Week of the Italian Language in the World” has been organized by the Consulate General of Italy in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Center, the Italian School and the Italian Business Group of Jeddah.


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