Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Commissioner and Vice President of the Commission for a Stronger Europe in the World, Visits the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) to Discuss the Importance of Education in Empowering Youth with Maestro Bocelli and the Organization’s Leadership 

HC/VP Borrell Held the Bilateral Meeting alongside ABF and Florence Mayor Dario Nardella During his Visit to Florence on the Occasion of the State of the Union 2023 Annual Summit

Florence, Italy (May 5, 2023) – Today, Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Commissioner and Vice President of the Commission for a Stronger Europe in the World (HC/VP), visited the Andrea Bocelli Foundation’s global headquarters in Florence. During a bilateral meeting with the organization’s leadership and Florence Mayor Dario Nardella, the group explored the importance of education as a tool for empowering European youth. The visit took place during HC/VP Borrell’s stay in Florence to attend the 2023 State of the Union: now in its 13th edition, the annual summit is focused on a high-level reflection on the European Union. In meeting with Maestro Andrea Bocelli and ABF’s leadership, the group exchanged views on the important challenges and opportunities young people in Europe and beyond face and how non-profit organizations – with the collaboration of other important actors – can generate impact through strategic projects. Indeed, the discussion included a deep dive on innovative ABF programs focused on empowerment and unlocking the full potential of youth, including the “ABF GlobaLAB.” 

Adjacent to the ABF headquarters in Florence’s historic San Firenze complex, the ABF GlobaLAB is a strategic vocational project ideated to incentivize and drive the talent of the citizens of tomorrow. Dedicated areas have been carefully designed to build community and foster dialogue through complimentary, year-round physical and virtual educational activities. These include workshops, talks and cultural events that draw from ABF’s numerous education-focused projects. With a particular emphasis on engaging youth aged 16-25 from Florence – but with programming for younger children as well – this dynamic living laboratory brings together an innovative educational approach with the support of leading multi-disciplinary thinkers from around the world. A core project within the ABF GlobaLAB is Talent4You, an intensive journey in which selected participants from Florentine high schools develop creative ideas focused on the theme of conflict resolution. In an effort for ABF to spark true dialogue, two young representatives from the project were invited to participate in today’s bilateral meeting with HC/VP Borrell. During this special moment, they shared highlights from their year of exploring and developing their soft skills, as well as anecdotes from a once-and-a-lifetime trip to the Holy Hand during which they explored the theme of conflict resolution. 

Maestro Andrea Bocelli, ABF Founder, stated, “The Vice-President of the European Commission’s visit to ABF is recognition of our efforts to advance our mission; we are committed to continue to work tirelessly to do so. On behalf of myself and the entire ABF team, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to HC/VP Borrell for honoring us with his greatly appreciated presence at our San Firenze headquarters, a hub of empowerment for the young citizens of Italy and Europe. His visit is a reflection of the positive values we share and a desire to urgently act to concretely provide opportunities that inspire and develop the potential of the younger generations. Because the future of Europe and the whole world will be – indeed, is already – in their hands.” 

Stefano Aversa, ABF Chairman, concluded, “This morning’s bilateral was very productive as our group engaged in thoughtful conversation, sharing reflections on the European education scenario and best practices on empowering people – particularly youth – and communities. We thank HC/VP Borrell for honoring ABF with his visit, and look forward to collaborating further in the future with the Commission for a Stronger Europe in the World through our work in empowerment through our education-focused initiatives.”