"There is a man who walks straight and precise towards the future, but often turns his head backwards. And when they ask him 'Why do you turn your head back?', he replies: 'If I don't know where I'm coming from, I don't know where I am going to". Tonino Guerra, one of the greatest Italian poets of the twentieth century, thus underlines the importance of looking to the past, to the place where we come from, while building our future.
These words best summarize the meaning of the journey that Italy and the United States have made together in our 160 years of diplomatic relations.
A future built daily by looking at the history that bonds us, and that has always seen us close, even in the most difficult moments. A common path in which the new generations have always played a fundamental role, starting with the thousands of young Americans who lost their lives in the European battlefields to free us from authoritarian regimes, up to those who today, together with ours, are side by side in areas of crisis as bearers of peace and stability.
Today more than ever before it is still the young people who make relations between Italy and the United States alive. The fertile union between "the American dream and the Italy dreamt of" continues to unite the young generations of our two countries in a symbiotic process.
With the largest historical and archaeological heritage in the world and with the highest number of Unesco sites, with world-class university centers, with its excellence in fashion, agro-food and in scientific and technological research, Italy is a growing pole of attraction for young Americans also in terms of professional and entrepreneurial perspective.
The constant growth of Italian language teaching in the United States is indicative of the strong bond that the new generations of Americans have with Italy. Among American schools and universities, there are over 250,000 Italian-speaking students and almost 40,000 who choose Italy as a study destination every year.
Likewise, the United States continues to attract thousands of Italian researchers, doctors, professionals and students. For example, over 15,000 Italian researchers work in some of the most important and prestigious American research centers; and thousands of Italian students attend American universities or high schools every year.
There are also numerous young entrepreneurs who invest in the country, while retaining the main center of their interests in Italy. The Bay Area and Silicon Valley, but also other areas with a high innovation rate, represent a real pole of attraction for many Italian start-uppers who find in that context a fertile ground for the development of their projects.
The extraordinary bilateral relationship that ties the United States and Italy draws its lifeblood from this complex maze of interactions between young generations, which finds meaningful expression in the words of President Mattarella: "Today, more and more people, and among them many young people, consider the United States and Italy as a home in which to live and move in both directions, contributing, with passion and determination, to propel our countries into the future".