This year, the regular Spring Luncheon of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce in New York was also an opportunity to officially launch the celebrations of the 125 years of activity of the oldest chamber of commerce in the United States.
The company, which has gone through alternate phases of our economic history, has always been and still is an important reference point due to its ever-growing networking capacity at the highest levels.
Many members of the chamber, as well as representatives of the main Italian institutions and associations and media, attended the event at the New York Palace Hotel.
The director of the Chamber of Commerce, Claudio Bozzo, introduced Carlo Barel di Sant'Albano, Chairman for the Board of Directors of Cushman & Wakefield, Inc,. who received the 2012 Business & Culture Award. Barel is responsible for the strategic oversight and stewardship of the firm on a global basis.
This yearly award, whose story moves along the Chamber's, is extremely prestigious as it embodies the contribution Italian and American men and women give to our country.
“Finding the right person to award is complicated” Bozzo said “this is not just an award, this is a message. We wanted to celebrate technology, but business has a human side too. We were looking for those values that for us at the Chamber are more important than money. I am talking of those values that bring together the best of Italy and of America. We were looking for someone with strong family values, someone who believes in friendship. (…) The first time we talked I was so impressed by him. He definitely is the right person!”
Barel started his speech declaring how lucky he is and quoting Jefferson “I ﬁnd that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
Carlo Barel was born in Turin and lived in Latin America, Scotland and the USA. The USA have been essential in his formative professional path. He said that it is here in New York that he has learned to appreciate more what he has achieved with great effort.
He remembered his parents, especially his father who taught him the importance of a good education and he received the best available. “Nowadays education has a difficult role,” Barel said, “Molding young leaders to fit in a global system is an extremely important task.” “Human Capital” must be used but it is a low resource at the moment. But most of all, we need, in a system based on technological innovations and globalization, exceptional leaders.
The leaders of today and of tomorrow must continuously face geo-political changes (Brazil, Russia, China, India) that, when combined with technological innovations, create a dramatic new phase in the process of globalization. Barel thinks the upcoming years will be a great challenge.
When talking about Italy, Barel reminds us that just a few months ago it seemed to be in a terrible crisis that would have kicked the country out of the Euro. “Now,” he reminded us, “with Prime Minister Mario Monti, the situation is changing. Italy regained credibility with foreign investors and it has a crucial role in the summits held at the ECB and in Germany.
The luncheon ended with a speech by Consul Lucia Pasqualini. The diplomat, after having congratulated the Chamber for its work, for having chosen Barel and the great speeches, said she thinks being in New York is a real privilege. A privilege that teaches you a lot. “New York represents the best of Italy,” she said “and the anniversary of the Chamber of Commerce must be seen as motivation to always do better. And it must be done especially in 2013, the year that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs baptized as the year of Italian culture. We will organize numerous events in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce, the ITC, The Italian Cultural Institute and ENIT.”