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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2015 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS Back in 1977, when he started in Rome, even "the fax machine w a s a n o v e l t y , " h e w r i t e s answering my question on how much journalism has changed since then. " W h e n I w a s a s s i g n e d t o Romania in 1989 to cover the democratic revolution that top- pled the Communist Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, there was only one hotel in Bucharest for the foreign press and we literally had to fight for the very few international phone lines. Once we had written our stories we had to read them on the phone to o u r h e a d q u a r t e r s , " R a m p i n i writes. Funny scenery thinking of the year 2000 when he was sent to San Francisco as a correspondent t o I t a l i a n n e w s p a p e r " L a Repubblica" to follow closely the New Economy, or "the first Internet revolution, when the access to the web was becoming universal," as he specifies during our email interview. E v e r s i n c e t h a t m o v e , Rampini has made space for stars and stripes in his tricolored heart. Currently based in New York City, he is writing about the next presidential elections, and the latest television debates among t h e c a n d i d a t e s . T h e F e d e r a l Reserve and the next move on interest rates, writes Rampini. "At the end of November I will follow Obama again, for climate change summit in Paris." Paris. Full stop. Answering my last question on what changes he wishes to see b o t h i n I t a l y a n d t h e U n i t e d States, Rampini leaves me with the following words: "right now, t h e m a i n w i s h e s f o r m y t w o beloved countries are very simi- lar. To defeat terrorism. And to build a new model of economic growth, with less inequalities and a fair access to opportunities for all," Lavinia Pisani: In what way d o y o u b e l i e v e t h e I t a l i a n - A m e r i c a n c o m m u n i t y h a s changed in the last decade? Federico Rampini: Always for the better: smarter, wealthier, more successful, more influential and powerful community. Right now in New York City we have an Italian mayor and in New York State we have an Italian governor. All over the nation I see new generations of Italian- American entrepreneurs, scien- tists, artists. There would be no A m e r i c a n c i n e m a w i t h o u t Francis and Sophia Coppola, Bob De Niro and Al Pacino, Turturro and so many others. My favorite ones are the Italian- A m e r i c a n s c i e n t i s t s w h o a r e working on genetic research to d e f e a t b r a i n d i s e a s e s , l i k e Alzheimer and Parkinson. I also notice that there is a deeper inter- a c t i o n b e t w e e n I t a l i a n - Americans and Italian nationals, who work here. The landscape of New York City is being changed for the better by the work of the greatest architect in the world, Renzo Piano, who designed the New York Times building, the M o r g a n L i b r a r y , t h e n e w Whitney Museum, and is now c r e a t i n g t h e n e w C o l u m b i a University campus. L.P: Having always lived in international and multicultural e n v i r o n m e n t s , w h y d o y o u think Italy struggles so much to accept immigrants, when it has been a country of migrants for centuries? F.R: As a matter of fact, Italy today is much more diverse and multi-ethnic than when I left 15 years ago. Whenever I go back to Italy I see Chinese, or Filipino, immigrant children who speak perfect Italian, sometimes even regional dialects. The Italian public school system is doing a great job to integrate them. Yes, there are worries and resistance, because mass foreign immigra- tion is a more recent phenome- non in Italy. Also, tragic events like the terrorist attack in Paris amplify the fear linked to Islamic extremism that may take roots in the immigrant communities of Muslim faith. It's a complex problem. These communities, as President Obama said in Turkey, must lead the fight to insulate and defeat the extremists. They h a v e n ' t d o n e e n o u g h u n t i l now. L.P: You watch Italy from New York daily. What do you believe are Italians not seeing? F.R: Italians are seeing… too much of New York. I mean, the average Italian grew up watching US-made movies, listening to American music, following as a teen-ager a mostly American dress code, buying iPhones and iPads, and so on. US-made mass culture has had an enormous i n f l u e n c e o n t h e r e s t o f t h e world, Italy included. So there is a tendency to have an idealized vision, full of stereotypes, both good and bad. Many Italians t o u r i s t s c o m e t o N e w Y o r k believing it is the center of the world – which is probably true – b u t t h e y a l s o t e n d t o s e e i t through the lenses of all the com- monplaces they have accumulat- ed back at home. L.P: In what way do you still feel connected, and proud, of being Italian? And in what way you don't? Continued on page 3 Continued from page 1 A Conversation with Federico Rampini

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