Tue 25-10-2022 12:40 PM
By Guendalina Dainelli
ABU DHABI, 25th October, 2022 (WAM) — The choice of Italy as the guest of honour at the Sharjah International Book Fair this year is an eloquent reflection of the interest the UAE people have in Italian culture, a top Italian diplomat told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
In an exclusive interview, Lorenzo Fanara, the new Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, said that the cultural cooperation with the UAE is of utmost importance.
“Italy is a cultural superpower. We are aware of our soft power’s strength and the great demand for Italian culture in the UAE. We have a very active Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi. It is the first in the Gulf region, which organises new events and activities every week,” he elaborated, stressing that cultural dialogue will be at the top of his agenda in the UAE.
Cultural cooperation against extremism
The Ambassador said that culture was the best sphere for mutual understanding and cooperation in the fight against extremism. “Together, we will prevail over the forces that want to divide us with their divisive agendas and ignorance,” he added.
Describing the UAE as a ‘friendly and indispensable partner for Italy, the Ambassador pointed out that the recent handing over of the keys of Florence to H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), and the “Mother of the Nation”, was a grand testimony to the profound ties between the two countries.
“We want to give a new impetus to our longstanding partnership with a new approach, based on the determination of the new Italian government to bolster the ties even further, taking into account also the strategic and constructive role in the international arena,” he pointed out.
UAE – first market for Italian exports in MENA
“The trade relations between our two countries are excellent. The UAE is the first market for Italian exports in the MENA region, with an impressive growth rate. We have also exported to the UAE the Italian way of life: everywhere in the UAE, you can see Italian restaurants, cars, fashion, jewellery, and furniture. These are some of the traditional and successful sectors of Italian exports, but there is increasingly more than that. Other growing sectors are machinery, technology, energy, Agri-tech, and aerospace,” he explained.
Speaking on his personal impressions of being assigned to the UAE, the Ambassador said that he considered it an honour to represent Italy in the UAE. “I come from Sicily, an island with strong, rooted and evident Arab influences. My town is called Fawar, a clear Arabic name, which means source of hot water. I see many similarities between my family’s values and the ones of the Emirati people. That’s why I’ve felt immediately at home here,” he pointed out.
15,000 Italians feel at home in UAE
Fanara, who previously was the Italian Ambassador to Tunisia, added about his personal impressions of the UAE that the innovative way of life and the future-oriented vision of the country have left an imprint in his mind.
“The UAE’s vision is based on its historical roots of wisdom. This wisdom, I believe, is the reason why the UAE has become a remarkable success story and a model for the whole region, built on the pillars of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and mutual respect. The wise approach to religious pluralism and tolerance is what marks this country out,” he stressed.
He concluded by saying that these qualities made 15,000 Italian citizens choose the UAE as their country of residence and many Italian tourists to come every year to enjoy the country’s beauty and way of life. “We feel at home here!” he concluded.

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