Bringing Italian issues to Italy

ComItEs Representing Italians abroad. Ubaldo Aglianà², President of ComItEs Victoria and Tasmania, speaks with Segmento to explain the specific role of this important organization for Italians.

Cover photo from left: Roberto Rizzo (Italian Embassy), Marinella Marmo (SA), Ubaldo Aglianಠ(Vic & Tas), Maria Maruca (Anfe QLD), Francesca Ranazzi (CAS NSW)

What exactly is ComItEs?

ComItEs, or Comites as it is sometimes referred to, translates as Committees of Italians Abroad. It was established by Italian law in 1985 as a representative body for all Italians living abroad. ComItEs operates in every consular district where at least 3,000 Italian citizens reside. This means that there is a vast network of ComItEs in many countries, each of which works with consular authorities, governments, and associations to ensure that responses to Italians abroad are informed and impactful in areas such as welfare, sociocultural initiatives, education, recreation, sport, and leisure. Each of the ComItEs representatives are directly elected by Italians in the areas they represent.

Further, each ComItEs undertakes research and initiatives that aim to identify the social, cultural, and civic needs of its represented community. Current themes of interest include the engagement of young people in various activities, equal opportunities, social and educational assistance, and professional training.

ComItEs representatives take on a role enshrined in law when they are elected. This ensures that ComItES has a specific and lawful role as a pivotal advisory body for the Italian Government and Parliament on major issues affecting communities abroad. ComItES  operates under the umbrella of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Italy.

Country Assembly 2022

Tell us about the recent Australian Assembly. 

The first 2022 session of Intercomites (represented by all the ComItES presidents) and Assemblea Paese (Australian Assembly of Committee Members and Italian associations delegates) took place in early April at the Italian Embassy in Canberra. With the pandemic disrupting the usual plans, it was valuable to get the opportunity to come together in person. 

The presidents of each of the Australian areas are Franco Barilaro (ComItES Canberra), Marinella Marmo (ComItES South Australia), Ubaldo Aglianಠ(ComItES Victoria and Tasmania), Luigi Di Martino (ComItES New South Wales), Simone Trentino (ComItES Queensland and Northern Territory), Francesco Abbonizio (ComItES Western Australia), and Franco Papandrea (General Council of Italians Abroad Councillor). 

The presidents discussed many issues, among which were the promotion of the Italian language and heritage tourism, that is, tourism undertaken by people of Italian background to rediscover and connect with their Italian roots. We explored synergies in each of our strategic visions and noted some possible collaborations which we will progress at our bimonthly online meetings. It is an exciting time for ComItEs in Australia. 

There was a lot of energy when we gathered as the entire Australian Assembly on Saturday 9 April. This meeting included close to 100 delegates, including members of ComItEs and representatives of various Italian associations. We were also joined by the Hon. Nicola Carà¨, Member of the Italian Parliament. The main task was to elect the representative of the General Council of Italians Abroad. Professor Franco Papandrea was reconfirmed as representative at the CGIE. I would like to acknowledge Franco Panucci and Mariangela Stagnitti, who stood for election. We have a very strong Australian representation - this is a very healthy and important consideration as we now move forward.  

I am certain that the collaborative relationships already built over recent years will continue with the same constancy and dedication to provide the constituents with impressive representation.

Ubaldo Aglianà²

So, who is Ubaldo Aglianà²? 

I was born and raised in Catania. My study specializations are in law and I also have a Master in Business and General Management. I have worked as a lawyer in Italy for almost 20 years and for a multinational company in the area of human resources management. Since arriving in Australia, I have been committed to working for the Italian community, namely the promotion of Italian culture and traditions. Specifically, I have been closely involved with the Gippsland Italian-Australian Coordination Committee and as a consular correspondent. I am an active volunteer with numerous Italian clubs and associations in Melbourne. Currently, I am the human resources manager and legal adviser for various Victorian companies.

I was elected for the first time in 2015 and I served in the role of treasurer for 6 years. In 2021, I was reelected and appointed by the Committee as president of ComItEs Victoria and Tasmania.

As the world changes, global movement for work or other reasons means there are many more Italians moving around. There is no doubt that ComItEs plays a pivotal role in ensuring that connection remains, despite geography. Congratulations, Ubaldo!