martedì 2 settembre 2014

Expo looks to Rimini on how to marshal 10,000 volunteers

5 million tickets sold, 1 million in China

(ANSA) - Rimini, September 1 - Milan Expo 2015 is looking to a 34-year-old Catholic conference in Rimini as a model for organizing the army of volunteers required by the food-themed world fair taking place May to October in Milan next year. The Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, organized by the Catholic group Communione e Liberazione (CL), marshals roughly 3,000 volunteers for its conference in late August each year.

"We need 10,000 volunteers (for Expo), because shifting volunteers every 15 days means about 450 per day," Expo Commissioner Giuseppe Sala said at the Rimini event last week. "Nine months from opening, we have received 7,700 applications from 85 countries" by "young" volunteers who "speak 25 languages", Sala added. Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni said the northern Italian region hosting Expo aims to ensure future employment to the volunteers "even after Expo". Sala called the question of volunteers for Expo "a very delicate, but also interesting subject", a comment that garnered the appreciation of Piero Fassino, Turin mayor and president of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI).

Sala said he came to the Rimini conference "first of all to learn, starting from the organization of the volunteers in this event, which constitutes a best practice, but also for its organizational and promotion capacity". Meanwhile, the event's promotion is going well - so far five million Expo tickets have been sold to tour operators, and of these about a million have been sold in China alone. Expo speakers at Rimini also broadcast that with 20 million visits expected over six months, Expo will be a great event for promoting Italy throughout the world, especially in emerging countries, but that the collective effort of Italy is needed, and can not be overshadowed by judicial investigations. Sala assured that within 15 days a solution would be found for the Tree of Life, a 35-metre tall wood and steel sculpture planned for the Italy pavillion inspired by a 16th century drawing by Michelangelo for Rome's Capitoline Hill.

Sala called for "clarity" as soon as possible on the presence - or absence - of the Riace Bronzes in Milan. Otherwise, it "is better to focus on other" things, he said, expressing appreciation for the work of Anti-Corruption Commissioner Raffaele Cantone.

Fassino said the Expo construction corruption probe should not overshadow the extraordinary nature of the event. "We can not have criminal investigations as the only interpretation of Expo. It is a great event and we must ensure that it is appreciated and not demeaned by judicial inquiries," thundered Fassino, who also hoped for significant returns from the world fair for his city of Turin. 

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