Italian Business & Culture Gets a Helping Hand | 助推中意商业和文化交流
Written by (作者): Vincent R. Vinci 魏文深
Photos by (图片来源): UISEC-East China
This past December, Laowaitan’s Lee House paid host to wonderful artworks, snacks from local Italian restaurant Ferrara Lounge, and the Italian expat community as it welcomed the inauguration of the Italian Union for Economic and Cultural Development in East China (UISEC-East China).
The new organization, spearheaded by the Italian expat community with help from the Ningbo Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and the Jiangbei Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the development of cooperation between East China and Italy at an economic, cultural and social level.
To learn more about the new organization, we sat down with UISEC-East China president and long-time Ningbo resident Michele Vanacore on a cold afternoon in early December. He explained that the idea to form the organization came a number of months ago when he coincidentally met Mr. Huang Yanting, a Chinese who had lived and worked in Italy for some time and was working in the Lee House with the Laowaitan International Talents Community. Huang expressed interest in forming a group or a body that could better represent Italian economic and business interests in Ningbo, and after Michele sat down with a few other expats, they decided to establish UISEC in the city.
The main role of UISEC-East China, Michele tells me, is economic, in that they will help arrange meetings between Italian and Chinese businesses to cooperate mainly in the Yangtze River Delta Region. As the UISEC is a non-profit organization, they will not see any benefit per se, with most of the benefit going to the businesses involved in their cooperation, but it will nonetheless be a means of furthering their mission in the region.
Even though it’s a secondary aspect, the role of arts and culture awareness is of the utmost importance to Michele. “Many Chinese people don’t know very much about Italian culture. Just ask anyone you know and they probably don’t know very much!” he exclaims. Having traveled around the world, Michele tells me that many people know about Italian cuisine, football, and maybe a little about fashion and the arts, but they don’t realize how deep the history is, how Italy was a global power during the Renaissance and that Italian culture helped shape the world for centuries.
Thus, in regards to arts and culture, the organization plans to conduct regular events throughout the year to promote Italian culture in China. Each year the events will have a theme, which in 2017 will be fashion. The reason for this focus is twofold, one reason being to help promote Italy’s iconic fashion industry and brands to Ningbo, but also to promote local brands and help the local government on its path to becoming a hub for international and regional fashion in China.
Michele aims for the events not to boil down to just going to an Italian restaurant once a month, eating food and talking, but to have more depth to them and inform people about Italian culture and art and how it has developed, to see how it can adapt to their lives in Ningbo.
UISEC-East China is a very beneficial new addition to Ningbo’s community, not only for Italian expats and businesses but also for people who want to learn more about Italian culture, art and history. Michele is proud of this, and with a smile he tells me that although there is yet a lot to be done in terms of getting details sorted – they are undergoing the process of becoming a fully legal non-profit organization in both China and Italy – that in itself is already a great success and more success will follow as UISEC-East China integrates into Ningbo life.