Italian Embassy Opens Business Development Center
By Claudio Mendonca
Ties among Italy, the US and Latin America are strengthening with creation of an Italian-Latin American Studies Center in Coral Gables.
The Italian embassy is launching the center to attract companies to the Latin American business community by means of promoting cultural and educational events.
"This is an initiative for mature companies in Italy, in the US and in Latin America to broaden their marketplace," said Arthur Furia, attorney and representative for the Italian consulate. "We want to bring together linkages of culture and commerce under the same umbrella."
Launched by Italy’s ambassador in the US in a recent visit to Miami, Florida was chosen as headquarters for Centro Studi Italo Latino Americano because Italy is the state’s largest European trading partner.
The center does not have a permanent physical location but is being housed temporarily in the Italian consulate, 4000 Ponce De Leon Dr.
"We want to have Italian companies getting involved with Latin American countries which have a common interest, especially those with a high number of Italian immigrants such as Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela," said Mr. Furia, regional vice president for the national Italian-American Foundation.
Mr. Vento said there a number of areas present opportunities for expanded trade among Italy, the US and Latin America including the health-care, pharmaceuticals, technology and tourism industries.
"Investment must be encouraged by the business community. This is a win-win situation," he said.
Mr. Vento led a delegation of prominent Italians for the inauguration of the study center. The center’s mission is to have a business-cultural venture seeking to stimulate business activity and support the arts.
Mr. Vento called upon the Miami business community to increase cultural ties with Italy by bringing more Italian events and artistic programs to South Florida.
Mr. Vento was appointed ambassador of Italy to the US in May 2003.
The center does not have a relationship with any local universities. Mr. Furia, however, does encourage collaboration from other academic institutions.
"The Italian Latin American Center for Studies was a dream project," said Giovanni Turturiello, Italy’s deputy consul general. "It became a reality thanks to the vice minister of foreign affairs, Mario Baccini; the honorable Italian ambassador; the consul general of Italy in Miami, Gianfranco Colognato; and the director, Mr. Domenico Porpiglia."