Mercoledì, 19 Settembre 2018
ROME

Italy gets first black minister Cecile Kyenge

English
© ANSA

(By Kate Carlisle) Rome, April 29 - Cecile Kyenge, a
doctor who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has
become Italy's first black minister after being named in Premier
Enrico Letta's new cabinet on Saturday.
Kyenge, a 48-year-old MP for Letta's centre-left
Democratic Party (PD), was sworn in as integration minister on
Sunday.
The newly tapped minister and ophthalmologist was born in
Kambove in the Congo's Haut-Katanga district and moved to Italy
in 1983.
After graduating from Rome's Sacred Heart Medical
University, she specialized in ophthalmology at the University
of Modena and now lives in the northern town of Castelfranco
dell'Emilia.
Kyenge was elected to the Modena city council in 2004 for
the Democratic Left (DS), the PD's predecessor, party and later
became the provincial councillor for the International
Cooperation Forum for Immigration.
In 2010, Kyenge accepted the post as the national
spokesperson for the association Primo Marzo promoting immigrant
and human rights and has long worked with the national authority
responsible for drug regulation in Italy, AIFA, to promote
pharmaceutical regulation in the Republic of Congo.
She became the only black member of parliament for the PD
when elected last February.
Italy's national soccer team coach Cesare Prandelli
applauded Kyenge's appointment, saying that Letta's choice
represented "the future" of the country.
"In my opinion, this is an opportunity to understand a
different way of seeing things. It will help open minds and
encourage people to listen," Prandelli said.
Prandelli has been vocal in the fight against racism in
the world of soccer and has stepped up to defend players like
Italian-Ghanaian striker Mario Balotelli who has been subjected
to racist abuse on and off the field.
Kyenge, along with Moroccan-born PD MP Khalid Chaouki,
PD MP Roberto Speranza and ex-PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani, have
proposed a change to the country's current citizenship law which
dictates that only the children of Italian citizens can
automatically become citizens themselves, while those born on
Italian soil to non-Italian parents become eligible on their
18th birthday.
A famous example is Balotelli, one of Italy's biggest
soccer stars and a forward on the national team, who was born in
Italy to parents from Ghana.
"The appointment of Cecile Kyenge is a huge step forward
towards a more civil Italian society, more responsible and aware
of the need for better and definitive integration," Balotelli
said on Saturday after Kyenge's swearing in.
The new law was part of Bersani's eight-point program
proposed as the basis for a PD-led government that he tried, but
failed, to form.
It calls for Italian citizenship to children born in Italy
of foreign parents.
Kyenge has herself been a victim of racist abuse by
anti-immigrant Northern League members who posted insults on
Facebook and also in daily life, including an incident when she
was shooed out of a shop being called 'blackie'.
"We must treasure the desire for new Italians and the
nomination of Kyenge is a concept that turns barriers into hope.
A community based on integration is built in the halls of
schools and universities," Premier Letta said at her swearing-in
on Saturday.

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