By Giorgia Chillè
John Cabot University on September 9 opened and exhibition and panel discussion dedicated to the emigration of Italians from Trieste, Venezia Giulia, Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia.
Called “So As Not To Forget. So As To Understand. So As To Build,” the event was organized in collaboration with Fabio Ziberna, director of the Associazione Giuliani nel Mondo di Trieste, Roberto Sancin, president of the Associazione Triestini e Goriziani in Roma and with the patronage of the Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia.It underlined the importance of cultural dialogue, ethnic cohabitation and respect for minority rights.
Ziberna, Sancin and Senator Carlo Giovanardi spoke openly about the past and the present. They pointed out how the massive waves of migration from and to the North East regions of Italy carried a political and discriminatory connotation that were caused by WWI and WWII.
JCU Professors VandaWilcox and Steven Colatrella and American University of Professor Bjorn Thomassen provided a thorough explanation of historical background of the Istrian, Giulian and Dalmatian regions.
They said that the present is built on the understanding of the past. The experience of thousands emigrants, the death of people during both World Wars and the Foibe killings during and shortly after WWII, cannot be forgotten.
“The exhibition is about stories within stories,” said Professor Thomassen. He added that these stories show that we have to think about peoples’ experiences in order to abandon the habit of labeling and assigning ethnic based stereotypes. The historical tension and insecurity that surrounded Trieste, Fiume, Zara, Istria and Dalmatia has to be overcome by social and cultural curiosity, he said.