For the seventh year in a row, I symbolically put pen to paper to indulge in the (to the contrary, completely real) pleasure of being able to talk, one by one, to the members of this big family, which is the foundation that carries my name and that – as I never tire of repeating – bears the name of each of you, our supporters and friends, in the tangible quality of the idea for which it strives.
First and foremost, I am writing to you with the joy of being able to offer my sincerest wishes for a peaceful and Merry Christmas. This is a holiday that is near and dear to me, not only because of my religious beliefs but also because of its universal appeal, as it expresses – regardless of one’s religion – a time of renewal and spiritual reflection for everyone.
It is a holiday that, for people with goodwill in their hearts (which you are), is not limited merely to December 25, but extends to every day of the year, thanks to that “Christmas feel” that helps us to support goodwill and embody it each day.
The Foundation, deeply rooted in the sense of its mission (which is always worth emphasizing, like a lighthouse that never goes out, along our journey: “Empowering People and Communities”) takes shape from the idea that “Union is Strength”, that alone we can achieve a lot, but together we can do much more. Well, you are that beneficial strength that has allowed us to achieve the objectives that increase every year, in terms of importance and the impact on people’s lives and in terms of what was achieved over the years before.
As the work carried out in 2018 has further attested to, at the center of ABF projects lie people and communities and the desire to make a difference in the lives of others. That is why, when we choose to work in a place, for us it is essential that we establish a dialog, in situ, to understand the needs, requirements and aspirations. In both Haiti and Italy, where we rebuilt a school near Sarnano last year and where we are building another in Muccia (both towns severely damaged by the earthquake in 2016), we have chosen to intervene in communities where the sense of belonging, solidarity and teamwork were a solid foundation that could be enhanced through our projects that are targeted at bringing about growth and development.
These are significant outcomes. These outcomes have been made possible thanks to your trust, your responsibility and your generosity.
Dear friends, in addition to Christmas, New Year is also dear to me – much more so than the personal celebration of my birthday. This is because it truly represents a new chapter, a page unread that emerges and involves the entire community. In returning to wish you all, the friends of the large ABF family, happy holidays and a 2019 filled with satisfaction and thrilling projects, I am also getting ready to welcome the new year. I face it as always by looking ahead, by following what needs to be done and not looking to what has already been done, avoiding –
in so far as possible – taking stock too much, whether the year has brought about regret or satisfaction.
And yet, at the end of a year that to call it jam-packed would be a euphemism, I have the pleasure of sharing with you the news that my long journey through 2018, marked musically by many dozens of stages all over the world, ended (on the stage of Madison Square Garden in New York) with a group of young peers who you know well and to whom I am particularly attached.
They are the “Voices of Haiti”, our wonderful children of the ABF choir, the result of one of the educational projects that the Foundation has created in Haiti, with its local partner Fondation St Luc. From Port au Prince, our young singers flew to New York to join me for the two performances (on December 12 and 13) in front of 20,000 people in Madison Square Garden… It was a special occasion to wish each other happy holidays in person and also to celebrate a musical event that the world appreciated and which directly involves them… Because it thanks to the voices of these young and extraordinary singers that the heart of Haiti also beats within the music on my most recent record, which was released in late fall. In fact, the choir took part in recording two songs from “Sì”, “Dormi dormi” and “Gloria Gift of Love”.
Their days in New York were also punctuated by new learning experiences and cultural initiatives and visits. The choir was also a guest at the fundraising gala for the Columbus Foundation, to bring a message of hope and to support our projects in Haiti.
As in the best Christmas traditions, the loveliest gift was, once again, the joy of reuniting and sharing the warmth of a big family. And that is what I wish for you all, from the very bottom of my heart. Happy Holidays!