President, St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities
The World Trade Center of St Louis hosted its annual convention Growing Global on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton, Missouri. The conference brings thousands of individuals and businesses together from around the world in what is St Louis' largest and most high profiled international event. As the president of the St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities organization, I was humbled to represent Italian interests in the St Louis region. I had the chance to speak with former Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Sam Page, both of whom expressed their interest in St Louis' growing Italian population. The purpose of the St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities organization is not only cultural but also economic. Bologna is the capital of Emilia-Romagna, known as the breadbasket of Italy. Agriculture thrives in this rich area and consequently, Emilia Romagna is known as a great gastronomic center of Europe. St Louis, with major agricultural companies and institutions such as Bunge, ItalgraniUSA, Bayer/Monsanto, and the Danforth Plant Science Center, is at the center of America's agricultural sector.
It seems as if a relation between these two cities was always meant to be. Seeing that local government officials are interested in the growth of the Italian expat community, it is looking as if the cervelli in fuga phenomenon may continue the brain drain that Italy has been experiencing for the last decades. Will there be more Italian based ag sector businesses moving to St Louis in the next few years? That remains to be seen. As for our part, the St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities will continue to encourage interest in relations between our two cities and regions regarding ag-tech and ag-science ventures.