At Avola a good was “born” to protect and safeguard

A Permanent Workshop for Civil Economy is Born in Ancient Avola

by Antonella Ferrucci

120127-28_Avola_09_Steni_ZamThe goal of this first Workshop for Civil Economy in Avola was ambitious and perhaps a bit crazy: to lay the foundations to create new, sustainable civil regulations to manage the common goods of the territory: regulations that would reconcile in a new way the market and politics. But how? Starting from the contribution of all those who attended, from business owners to other professionals, from educators to housewives, each one personally called to bear witness of best practices from which to draw out effective and, above all, sustainable laws. “This is above all a workshop,” they told us upon our arrival “so the first half, with talks given by speakers, is not the most important but will be of service for the fundamental moment this afternoon in which we will work together, divided into three groups, each one giving their own contribution.”

Steni Di Piazza, who is at once the director of the Branch Office of the Banca Etica di Palermo and member of the Commission for the Economy of Communion of Sicily, Calabria and Malta, is the one who delicately wove the long journey together that has brought us to this point: a journey made of building relationships, of conferences held in recent years, the last of which, in 2010, dealt with the daring topic of: “Ethics and Legality.” Also the venue where everything took place was very significant and undoubtedly has its own “genius loci.” Certainly when months ago Steni decided to have the workshop here, in the magnificent co Hermitage of our Lady of Graces of Ancient Avola, wonderfully renovated and put to use by the Cooperative “Bioturismo” which managed the logistical organization of the event, I could not imagined that the protest of the “pichforks” would have started right in Avola… But certain things don’t happen by chance. And so, as Steni states: “From Avola the protest was launched and from Avola the proposed solution arrived.”  The number of requests to attend was impressive: many more than the venue allowed for, so we had to turn many down – a sign that the time is ripe for projects that are very interactive, such as this one – while news of this event were transmitted in all the blogs of the island.

Much has already been written about this workshop, so what more could I add? I would like to share the sensation of great positivity that filled those hours spent in Avola: what I was able to personally observe was a positive Sicilian civil society, full of vitality, that works hard and concretely, and that has already given many mature examples, many best practices to share and take as a model: people who know the difficult reality and are ready to face it, perhaps with the help of a  suitcase of Malox, as humorously put the Mayor of  Castelbuono, Mario Cicero.  Beautiful people who literally conquered my heart. We were almost 50 in our working group: time was limited and everyone had to had some space. Well, everyone managed to share with great seriousness, without deviating, without discussions, with extreme respect for the time limit and much concreteness.  And we did not even know each other! At the end, it was not simple, with so much wealth, to summarize everything to present in the plenary session but, at the same time, thinking of everyone, we did make it.

In all of this, what role did the Economy of Communion play? More specific moments to present the project had been planned in the plenary, but due to a series of “seasonal” circumstances (speakers who got sick) this was not possible. So we can say that we did not speak on the EOC. Even so, there were a number of us within the different groups, from the local EOC commission, the Sicilian and Calabrian companies, and I had the impression that our role was to highlight all the positive that was emerging.  I feel that I can say that in this circumstance the EOC was the “backdrop,” the “leaven”: I thank Steni because through his commitment, his creativity and his steadfast courage, he managed to set off a very positive process of which this past workshop constitutes only the initial phase. “See you again” to Naples, Bologna and Turin for the next phases of this journey still ahead in 2012 and once again in Avola, in the spring of 2013 for an appointment that will become regular in time.

In his conclusions, Professor Stefano Zamagni, in front of the undeniable difficulties that this journey has ahead of it, reassured us when he said that we have to remain certain that “the good in infinite” while “evil is finite.”  The problem, continued Zamagni, is that evil is “robust” while the good is “fragile”: now this beautiful “good” that we built in Avola, composed of positive relationships, of dialogue and projects, is in our hands to “protect,” “safeguard,” and “develop.”

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