My name is Vanessa Lovisa and I’m Director of the 20-Somethings youth group at Famee Furlane Toronto. It is an honour and privilege to have been given the opportunity to speak to you today about my experience here in Friuli, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of our Fogolâr Federation of Canada and I’d like to begin by thanking the Federation, our Fogolârs and Ente Friuli Nel Mondo who made this Congresso such a tremendous success.
For me, this has been a very emotional and surreal experience, one that has forever changed me. My desire to attend the Congresso came from a deep feeling within myself to want to further connect to my roots and to my family’s heritage. This curiosity was ignited when I began my research as a Masters and now Doctoral Candidate studying about the history of Friulian migration to Canada. Although I learned about the history of Friuli through my research, this knowledge was immediately brought to life upon my arrival in Friuli. After having travelled to other beautiful places throughout Italy before arriving in Udine, nothing could have prepared me for the feeling I felt when we arrived in Friuli. I immediately felt at home, comfortable and at ease, like I belonged here.
Throughout this Congresso, I have come to further appreciate the land my grandparents and ancestors came from and have come to feel the same desire they had in wanting to preserve and maintain Friulian traditions, values, and culture in Canada after they immigrated. Everywhere we visited in these past few days is a piece of who we are, a part of our history and I feel immense pride to be of Friulian descent. This Congresso allowed me to strengthen the connection I have felt for my heritage and has taught me invaluable knowledge about Friulian music, food, culture, history and language. The incredible bond that was established this week with many of the youth present here is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I was very touched to see such an overwhelming desire from our youth to want to speak and learn Furlan. Being connected to people who share the same Furlan pride, who want to maintain their heritage, makes me hopeful that we will continue to bring forward this culture to our future generations. It takes this sense of passion to sustain our heritage.
Although we were strangers, we were brought together for a purpose: to celebrate our furlanitât. This deep sense of furlanitât has made us connect as a family and our friendship and bond is now lifelong. Our call to be here is special in itself and tells me that our heritage is alive within us. Let’s keep this passion alive for years to come. Sono orgogliosa di aver avuto un’opportunità così speciale e unica e aspetterò con piacere il Congresso 2016! Non vedo l’ora di reunire con voi.
Grazie e Mandi!