Christmas Greetings from the President of Cittaslow

Dear Cittaslow Mayors worldwide and allCittaslow specialists and representatives,
The year that is just ending has been one of the richest and most intense that I can remember. Our Association has expanded and been strengthened and I have personally had so many opportunities to meet you in your own beautiful towns.
Today Cittaslow stands more than ever for the concept of global quality, a quality that goes beyond mere technological and environmental smartness, in order to embrace both social issues and our shared responsibility for one another. It is not chance that our latest Assembly, in Italy and involving 264 delegates, was dedicated to the theme ofcommunity. Community is the real strength of our Cittaslow towns, citizens old and young creating their own destiny, steering the local administrations towards government for the good life. Many of the principles and policies, that we apply in our areas and our towns, we have borrowed to our advantage from Slow Food, our mother association, with whom we have started a detailed dialogue to update our relationship, defined at our founding, which will bear fruit next year.
2013, I remind you, among other things, is the start of that structural relationship with the European Union that we touched on last March at the European Parliament. We have blazed the trail and the European experience, in the sectors of social cohesion and support for saving and resilience, will be a valuable asset for the whole Association at the international level.
Thanks to the contribution of our Scientific Committee and from many of you, we have also been able to approve the new Certification system that will be implemented in experimental form for a year. We are filled with pride as we look back over the projects completed in the last year, including those that entailed cooperation between Cittaslow towns – happening ever more often – and the solidarity projects, among theCittaslow towns and orientated towards poorer countries.
We note too the ever-growing interest in us from universities and research centers, and the attention paid to us by traditional and social media and not least by sponsors. It is a sign that, despite the fact that global socio-economic and political trends are less than optimal, and that wars and disputes are still prevalent in many parts of the world; despite the errors of financialization and of the system of development that is aware of its own limits – as Prof Zygmunt Baumann explained at our Assembly – the message, the principles and the projects of Cittaslow represent today a very modern and concrete example of a positive and active counterculture.
In this spirit, General Secretary Pier Giorgio Oliveti and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Fruitful New Year.

Gian Luca Marconi
President Cittaslow International