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AVSI at Rimini Meeting: The creativity of a person aware of his infinite dignity

Rimini PreviewLast week, the Rimini Convention Center was filled once again with an expected 700,000 attendees for the 33rd annual Meeting for Friendship Amongst Peoples, this year titled: “By Nature, Man is Relation to the Infinite.” AVSI participated in the cultural event, which takes place August 19-25 and brings together the realms of non-profits, businesses, academics, politics, science, music and art, inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue and much more in between.

Throughout the week, AVSI will participate in presentations delving into three of the most pressing issues in international development: nutrition and food security, preventing HIV/AIDS specifically in Africa, and public-private partnerships and sustainability. Views from diifferent sectors and varying approaches engaged in each issue will be proposed and put into dialogue by panelists including Jeffrey Sachs, of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, Ertharin Cousin, director of the World Food Program (WFP), and representatives from UNAIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO), AVSI, and others.

AVSI will also have a continual presence at “the Meeting” with its large booth, where staff from AVSI’s Milan headquarters and from offices around the world will welcome visitors, who this year will also have a chance to meet a group of young Haitians from the artisan workshops (called by the French name atelier) in the Port-au-Prince area. The “atelier”, expression of the Haitians’ innate desire for beauty, also gives the young people a legal and more dignified way to earn a dignified and legal income, leading to a real chance to build their future. Meeting these young people who have been a part of the drive force for this initiative is certainly an opportunity to feed our hope and desire for the Infinite.

Below is a short preview of the debates the audience at Rimini will see first-hand, and for those of you who cannot make the trip to Italy, check online for English versions of the live broadcasts, which will be posted at


Participants: Jeffrey Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development, and Health Policy and Management at Columbia University; Alberto Piatti, Secretary-General of AVSI Foundation; Paolo Scaroni, CEO of Eni energy company. Introduced by Bernhard Scholz, President of Compagnia delle Opere.

Seeking creative ways to face growing environmental challenges, which have at the heart the relationship between human beings and nature, the panel will highlight the importance of coordination among sectors to ensure a balance among the types of profit we seek, not only public or private economic profit, but also social “profit”. Rather than remaining at the question of proper distribution or ‘splitting’ of goods, giving to each group their portion to manage as a separate entity, the panel proposes a renewed conception of all men and women as sharers in the benefits and the responsibilities of the natural resources we find on our planet, and therefore as collaborators in good use of them. With this conception, we see that man is not to be perceived in opposition with the resources of the planet, nor with his fellow creatures for the use of these, but rather all resources exist for the good of the human person, the one living thing that can claim to be made for nothing less than the Infinite.


Participants: Gregg Alton, GILEAD Sciences Executive Vice President Corporate and Medical Affairs; Paul De Lay, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme; Dr. Carlo Federico Perno, Professor of Virology at Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata; Luis Gomes Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa. Introduced by Alberto Piatti, Secretary-General of AVSI Foundation.

HIV/AIDS touches the person in every aspect of life, bringing forth the inevitable questions of life and death, affectivity, love and relationships, and concretely altering daily circumstances of work, health, family and community life. AVSI has seen in its prevention work in Africa that to fight the disease, it is necessary to invest in research and pharmaceuticals, the development of good public health policies and systems, and with involvement at an international level. All of these, however, must adapt their priorities and direction starting from the perspective of the good of the single person who is affected, along with his or her family and neighbors. This means not overlooking the need to discover a meaning which permeates all dimensions of life, including social and economic concerns.

August 24 / NOURISHING PEOPLE; FEEDING HOPE: Hunger, Waste, and Sustainable Development

(7:00 PM in Hall A3)

Participants: Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the WFP (World Food Programme); José Graziano da Silva, General Director of FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization); Staffan De Mistura, Italian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs; Giuseppe Sala, CEO of Expo 2015. Introduced by Alberto Piatti, Secretary-General of AVSI Foundation.

A lack of food, or of nutritious food in some regions, is a concern no part of the world can ignore in our age, especially as many crops typically used for food are instead being used to produce alternative energy sources, causing large fluctuations and imbalances in prices. In the discussion at Rimini, we will bet on the fact that Earth has the resources to provide nourishment for all people, but only if there is a global commitment to cultivate well, reducing waste and obeying the natural limitations defined by nature. Our major assets in facing the challenge are the rural families and the organizations of varying sizes and natures which they help to form (cooperatives, associations, value chains), and the sustained awareness of a responsibility to care for the land, remaining faithful to the alliance between humans and the environment.

Read more:

AVSI at Rimini 2011

Hunger is not everything editorial by Alberto Piatti