We are proud to announce that New Europeans board member Maria Laura Franciosi, has been made a Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy.
The ceremony took place at the Italian Embassy in Brussels, in Rue Emile Claus and the presentation was made by Ambassador Elena Basile.
Following the award, Maria Laura Franciosi spoke about her work as a journalist deeply interested in stories of migration, especially of Italians, to help keep their memory and enhance their rights.
"I dedicated part of my working life as a journalist to them to make their stories known.
The reason that led me to write these stories collected in the book "... for a sack of coal" was the failure to recognize the work of an Italian miner in Belgium with 25 years underground. His name was Vittorio Dal Gal, from Veneto. He died a few months ago in Marcinelle. He was denied a merit award for his work. "It is not believed that the activity carried out by the person indicated is worthy of such recognition." was the answer given to those who had sought a recognition for his arduous efforts for a quarter of a century. It was when Vittorio recounted this "personal" episode to me that I decided to publish it together with those of the other 150 miners I interviewed so that Italy would know.
The honour of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy that is conferred on me today gives me great pleasure because it means that Italy no longer wants to ignore this chapter of its history. And not even Belgium. The transformation into a museum of what was once the Marcinelle mine is tangible proof.
I dedicate therefore this honour - as well as to my husband and my children who have always accompanied me in these paths of documenting the stories of others - to the miner Nino Dal Gal who was denied the medal because he was a miner. And to all those whose hard work here in Belgium - which contributed substantially to the recovery of the post-war Italian economy - was not recognized.
Thanks also on behalf of all of them!"