The Strange Case of Citizenship in Modern Italy, a Documentary by Fred Kuwornu on Nov. 21

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November 19, 2014 by Italians in Chicago

iusSoliby Valeria Fanelli –

There are presently 1,000,000 young people who were born in Italy, speak Italian fluently, have studied in Italian schools and have lived  in Italy all their lives, yet, they are not entitled to Italian citizenship.

The Italian Cultural Institute will bring attention to this controversial topic by showing a documentary on Nov. 21 at 6 pm, about ethnicity, national identity, and multiculturalism in contemporary Italy by Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker Fred Kudjo Kuwornu

18 Ius Soli is a 2012 award-winning documentary about the issue of the citizenship for more than 1,000,000 youths born in Italy. It has received the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Premio Ilaria Alpi, and the Mutti Prize.

The documentary examines the law that denies citizenship to young people born in Italy to immigrant parents. It follows the stories of 18 girls and boys born and raised in Italy whose parents are originally from African, Asian, and South American countries and who moved to and have lived in different areas of Italy for many years. They are children of immigrants: they go to school in Italy, speak the language and dialects, have never even been to the countries that their parents are from, nor do they speak their parents’ language. Yet they are not recognized as Italian citizens.

In order to obtain Italian citizenship, they have to go through a lengthy and complicated application process and can only do so after they’ve turned 18 years old – a process that doesn’t always end positively for the applicant, resulting in serious and unavoidable problems of social inclusion and identity.

Ius Soli refers to the Latin term for birthright citizenship. It’s the right to citizenship determined by the place of one’s birth (such as in  the US). In contrast there is the Ius Sanguinis (the right of blood), applied in Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe, which grants citizenship only to those that can prove that at least one parent or grand-parent is/was a citizen of that nation.

Italian director and producer Fred Kuwornu will attend the screening and lead a conversation afterwards.

This event is free and open to the public.  A reception will follow. For more information and to RSVP, please click here.


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