Dear Panathlete friends around the world,
we are experiencing here in Rapallo a commemoration full of emotions and memories.
The former Presidents and the General Secretary have described the objectives and activities of Panathlon International and some memories of the past have been skilfully presented.
I would like to highlight with you the present, which I have been living for almost 6 years, as well as the vision of what could be the future of our International Movement.
Panathlon International was born in Italy in 1951. It became formally international in 1960, after that two non-Italian clubs were created, Lugano in 1954 and Lausanne in 1956.
The international character was accentuated thanks to the recognition of our Movement by the IOC in 1982, under the 'reign' of Antonio Samaranch.
As we know, since its creation, Panathlon has had the vocation to expand outside Italy. The former Presidents, who are present today, have all contributed to accentuate this multinational character.
It must be stressed that the dynamics of Panathlon International owes much to the Italian Clubs. However, it has always ensured that other cultures, other countries, make their voices heard. Today, thanks to the agreements with important international organisations, we tend towards a better balance, more in tune with the international character of our Movement.
Panathlon International has a strong Latin character. In fact, it is present in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and the Italian-speaking and French-speaking parts of Switzerland. The movement is very developed in Latin American countries: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Equator, Mexico. Promising contacts have been made with Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Paraguay.
There are also strong and representative German-speaking components in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and, in Belgium, the Flemish language. This is welcome and brings an original note within the concert of international organisations dominated by the Anglo-Saxon world and English language. The incorporation of countries from the Anglo-Saxon world remains a short-term goal.
In recent years, we have provided Panathlon International with active and dynamic representations to European institutions and, of course, to the world's leading sports organisations, with the Olympic family and the IOC at the forefront.
This is the goal, partly already achieved and functional, of Panathlon International's representations in Brussels and Lausanne.
A good balance in our Movement will be achieved when, also thanks to the work of expansion and promotion of our ideals carried out here in Rapallo, as well as in our Representations and in America, more Clubs and Countries will have joined Panathlon.
This is the task on which our executive bodies, our districts and our clubs are working.
It is with joy and emotion that we commemorate in Rapallo, Italy, the home of Panathlon and Movement without Borders, the 70th anniversary of our magnificent Association.
I particularly want to thank all the Secretariat of Panathlon International for the perfect organization of this memorable event. I mention: Simona Callo, General Secretary, Monica Rossi, administrative manager, substitute General Secretary, Nicoletta Bena, travel and event manager, Simona Giannoni, Club relations and membership fee management, Emanuela Chiappe, Communication Office, Editorial Secretary, Website, Barbara Aste, translations, library, social network. Thank you all. And I would not like to forget, Melody Exhenry, Secretary of the Representation of Panathlon International in Lausanne, for the excellent work she does in the Olympic capital.
Long life to Panathlon International