73th Celebration of the Italian National Day in Qatar
20 June 2019
The ceremony, introduced by the Editor in Chief of “Grazia Qatar” Bianca Brigitte Bonomi, included the live performance of Italian and Qatari musicians who sang their own national anthems, the speech of the Ambassador of Italy Pasquale Salzano and the traditional cake-cutting with Qatari Authorities. After the ceremony the guests enjoyed the Italian buffet created by chef Giorgio Schifferegger from “San Clemente” Kempinski Hotel in Venezia.
The National Day was also the occasion to promote - a few days before the final vote of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to be held on June 24th in Lausanne - the “Milano Cortina 2026” candidature to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, as recalled by Ambassador Salzano also through a video of the Italian Olympic Committee, in the presence of the Secretary General of the Olympic Committee of the State of Qatar.
The speech of the Ambassador Pasquale Salzano:
Your Excellency, Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, State Minister of the State of Qatar;
Your Excellency, Dr. Issa bin Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice of the State of Qatar and Minister of State for the Council of Minister Affairs;
Your Excellency Dr. Ali bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry of the State of Qatar;
Your Excellency Ambassador Ibrahim Fakro, Director of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar;
Your Excellency Ali Ibrahìm Ahmed, Ambassador of the State of Eritrea to the State of Qatar and Dean of the Diplomatic corps;
Distinguished guests and friends,
a warm welcome to the Italian National Day in Doha!
Un caloroso benvenuto a tutta la comunità italiana di Doha, è sempre una grande emozione ritrovarci qui riuniti per la Festa della nostra Repubblica!
Nella giornata in cui celebriamo i valori della Repubblica italiana e della Costituzione, siamo orgogliosi della rappesentanza delle nostre Forze Armate, che operano in prima linea per la tutela della pace e della sicurezza, in Italia e ovunque nel mondo. La loro storia ha accompagnato la storia del nostro Paese e mi congratulo in particolare con la nostra Marina Militare e con l’Arma dei Carabinieri, che nelle scorse settimane hanno celebrato rispettivamente il 151mo e 205mo anniversario.
This evening I wish to open our celebrations with the moving and inspiring memory of the Italian Frecce Tricolori and Qatari aerobatic teams flying together in the sky of Doha.
Images speak louder than words and this image deeply embodies the values of national unity and pride of a nation. This image captures the deep bonds of friendship between Italy and Qatar and offers to all of us a motivating example of excellent teamwork.
Behind the breathtaking airshow of Frecce Tricolori there is the enthusiastic dedication of many professionals. Moreover, their unique ability and stunts are made possible by the deep mutual trust built among all the team members.
Mutual trust and teamwork are indeed key ingredients of every successful partnership just like in the partnership between Italy and Qatar.
The two Governments place high confidence in our bilateral cooperation and have a continuous high-level political dialogue, enabling a truly strategic partnership across all sectors: institutional cooperation, business, defense, education and culture, sport and wellbeing.
On multilateral level we share concern for regional crisis as well as efforts to facilitate peaceful solutions through dialogue in the framework of international organizations and international law.
Cooperation between Italy and Qatar is also benefiting from a closer teamwork among Italian institutions and private sector.
I am very thankful for the great cooperation that the Embassy receives from Italian companies in Doha. They are not simple sponsors but true partners and supporters of a common mission that goes beyond single interests and aims to bring benefits to the whole Italian system.
The new venue of the Embassy, inaugurated by the Italian Prime Minister, embodies these efforts. Designed to be a warm “Casa Italia” in the heart of West Bay, with a customized Italian fit-out, the new office is the unique product of several companies
- some of them even competitors with each other’s - who joined hands to reach a common goal.
With the same approach, I would like to thank our media partners and all the editors, reporters, bloggers and influencers who are celebrating with us tonight. Also thank to you, we have been able to bring Italy closer to a larger public on media and social media, communicating what Italy and Qatar are doing together and collecting inputs and feedback from different groups.
Diplomacy has highly transformed over the last decades and we believe that nowadays diplomats have the social responsibility to bridge people across different sectors in order to help building inclusive and sustainable growth for the benefit of our communities.
Looking closer at the cooperation between Italy and Qatar, our economic ties are very positive. Bilateral trade reached 2.6 billion Euros in 2018, with a 21% increase from the previous year.
Italian companies are well positioned in the Qatari market and involved in major projects for the World Cup 2022 such as the Doha Metro and Al Bayt stadium.
We also find that Italian entrepreneurs are more eager to explore opportunities in Qatar thanks to the major reforms successfully adopted to make the local business environment more friendly and dynamic for foreign investors. Indeed, Qatar has made remarkable steps in this regard, especially reforming the labour market as part of its fruitful cooperation with the International Labour Organization. The Italian Government acknowledges these significant achievements and encourages to continue working in this direction.
Together with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the State of Qatar we are now preparing the Fifth Joint Economic Commission between Italy and Qatar to be held later this year in order to take forward our economic cooperation, towards more ambitious goals.
In the context of our bilateral programs in the defense sector, hundreds of personnel from the Qatari Airforce and Navy are being trained in Italy. As highlighted by the Italian Minister of Defense Elisabetta Trenta in her meeting with the Minister of Defense of the State of Qatar, His Excellency Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, Italy is committed not only to foster technology transfer, but also to the development of human resources. In this regard, we are delighted that in the coming weeks the first four Qatari female pilots will graduate in Milan.
Looking at the future, we are excited about the great opportunities that we see ahead in art and culture, education and research, health and sport. The exchange of views that I had with many of you working in local universities, research centers, museums, hospitals and sport institutions confirm that there is still a huge untapped potential to develop together.
So far our joint initiatives have often involved artists from all the countries in the region, reaffirming the vision that art and culture belong to all humankind, they have no boundaries and political division should not restrain them.
We plan to continue on this path and to increase and diversify our projects working closely with Qatari institutions and involving new actors, such the Italian cultural association “Dante Alighieri”, which recently started its activities also in Doha.
Italy has a broader vision of culture, which includes sport, healthy lifestyle and wellbeing of individuals. In this regard, we are pleased that Qatar is highly investing in social and community development, encouraging sport practice and hosting major sport events, such as the upcoming World Athletics Championships at the end of September.
I am excited to announce that, during the championships, the Italian Federation of Athletics will open “Casa Atletica”, a special area dedicated to Italian sport traditions, design, food and culture with an engaging program of activities.
Since our National Day falls in the hot summer season – especially here in Doha – I am happy to share a very “refreshing” image of winter sport in Milano and Cortina d’Ampezzo, a gem of the Dolomites and one of the many UNESCO world heritage sites in Italy.
I am proud to highlight that Milano and Cortina are candidates to host together the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026 with a very innovative proposal for highly sustainable games. Italy is in the final stage of the competition and we look forward to the Host City Election on June 24th!
I would like to conclude by recalling the words of His Excellency the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella to an audience of young students on the occasion of a recent contest named “Knowing, Understanding and Loving the duties of our Constitution”.
These words are about the Italian Republic and Constitution but their powerful inner message is broader and I believe apply to all of us as individuals and nations:
"The values of our Constitution shall be lived, for them not to be only a show, a guideline, a painting to be admired. They are values which live in our daily life, in our daily behaviours. You have to feel them yours: they must be preserved, further developed and strengthened".
Having this in mind, we will keep working at our best here in Qatar to keep up to that common goal.
Viva l’Italia! Viva la Repubblica italiana!