Culture And Media

Italy-Indonesia: New association to hold charity concert

Rome, 21 April (AKI) - Italian actress and TV personality, Marisa Laurito, is taking her love of Indonesia a step further.

The Italian celebrity, who has a home in Bali, is planning a charity concert to raise funds for the children who survived the devastating 2004 tsunami, which killed up to 170,000 people in Indonesia.

"We thought of doing something concrete," Laurito told Adnkronos International (AKI) at a media conference to officially announce the new Italy-Indonesia Friendship and Cooperation Association in Rome.

Laurito has spent every vacation in the past 25 years in Indonesia.

"Bearing in mind that the tsunami hit Indonesia, we thought that we could do something significant to help the children of Indonesia," said Laurito.

She said the concert would be organised with the help of Telefono Azzurro, an established Italian non-profit organisation with a telephone hotline for children.

Laurito is one of the first members of the executive board of the Italy-Indonesia Friendship and Cooperation Association which has been set up to promote greater political, economic, social and cultural ties between Indonesia and Italy.

Although the idea of such as association was first mooted in 2006, it became official after an agreement was signed last month between the Italian MP, Sandra Cioffi and Indonesia's ambassador to Italy, Susanto Sutoyo.

"It's a very encouraging step and we have good prospects to move forward now," Sutoyo told AKI.

"For almost three years now, we have had a trade surplus of one billion US dollars and we think it is timely to extend this to other sectors other than trade, such as education, technology, science and tourism."

Sutoyo said that Indonesian trade minister, Mari Elka Pangestu, will be travelling to Italy next month in order to meet with her counterpart in the newly elected Italian government.

He said Indonesians are familiar with Italian fashion labels as well as brands like Italian motor scooter Piaggio and it was timely for Italy to invest not only in Indonesia but also in ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"Indonesia can be a hub for distribution of Italian products to ASEAN and also to the Pacific and East Asia, " said Sutoyo.

Cioffi announced that the newly established association plans to organise an Italy-Indonesia conference, which will also look at Italy's involvement in the rest of Southeast Asia.

She said that a delegation of Italian politicians and association members will soon visit Indonesia to explore various areas of cooperation. There are also plans for entrepreneurs from both countries to conduct visits to boost cooperation.

"Indonesia is a fast growing country, which has experienced problems in the past, and Italy has also helped particularly during difficult moments like the tsunami," Cioffi told AKI.

"And now we want to continue this friendship and look forward to the future in a positive way."

"In some ways, we feel very close to Indonesia, in various aspects particularly in the way in which they love art and culture - everything which is also typical in our country," she said.

Aside from the charity concert, the association also announced plans for an Italian fashion show in Indonesia to showcase both high fashion as well as new designers.




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