A friend of the United World Project who lives in Lucca, Italy, informed us about an initiative that has been promoted by her Municipality since 2013, on the occasion of the World Day for the Rights of Children and Adolescents: the recognition of a symbolic citizenship conferred to minors who were born in Italy from foreign parents and residing in the Municipality of Lucca. We report about it through an interview with the mayor of Lucca, Alessandro Tambellini.

Lucca 1"For us, this recognition is the symbol of the reception by a community. It is making these people feel citizens like the ones who are receiving them, because they are citizens in full capacity," says Alessandro Tambellini, Lucca’s first citizen. Since 2013, the Lucca municipal administration has recognized symbolic citizenship to minors who were born in Italy from foreign parents and reside in the Municipality of Lucca, but they are not in possession of Italian citizenship, as well as to those minors who, although not born in Italy, have been living in the Municipality of Lucca for at least two years, and are enrolled on an educational, scholastic, or training path.

This year, 38 of them have been recognized symbolic citizenship. Among them, children from all continents: Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe: "In fact, among the new citizens there are also children of Romanian and English origin,” explains the mayor.

The ceremony takes place every year in the main hall of the City Council, at Palazzo Santini, on the occasion of the World Day for the Rights of Children and Adolescents.

«The sign is simple: I give them a tricolor rosette and a parchment. It is the mayor, representing the whole community, who welcomes them in the name of inclusion. It is like saying: from now on, you must consider yourself Lucca’s citizens and Italians».

This initiative of the Municipality of Lucca was promoted by former councilor Alessandro Bertolucci, and later on it received the approval by the Municipal Council of a specific implementing regulation for the conferment of symbolic Italian citizenship.Lucca 2

"Alessandro Bertolucci, who unfortunately left us, was a person of high principles who had a prophetic historical vision, and he dreamed of a future characterized by integration. His hope was that this symbolic act of inclusion would also be an incentive for our National Parliament," recalls the mayor.

An "incentive" for the Italian Parliament to reform the current law on citizenship (n° 91/1992), based on ius sanguinis (a Latin wording, meaning "conferral of rights by descent"), so that those who grow up and are educated in the Bel Paese (‘beautiful country’, the way Italians call their own homeland) are no longer considered "foreigners in Italy."

"We hope that next year there will no longer be any need to confer symbolic Italian citizenship," concludes the mayor, "but that we meet again to confer a real citizenship! Meanwhile, let us continue our path that is also education-oriented: an action inspired by reflection and collective reasoning, because the ability to accept others is not innate. Welcoming the other persons is something we must learn, with the aim to become a shared community, a community which includes everyone.”

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