Dear Friends,

With happiness, and feeling a bit dizzy, I’m thinking of you all, who I feel so close to me, even though you practically, inhabit every segment of the world. And while I am greeting you from my favorite virtual home (the Foundation that bears the name of my partner for life and of your friend for life), I am thinking of the fact that spring, which is celebrated here at my latitude right at this time, is nothing but the opposite, and vice versa, in the other hemisphere.

I would like to tell you, anyway, how March is, here in Italy from where I am writing to you, a month where nature everywhere remembers and describes the miracle of regeneration, and thus the force of life. In March days are getting longer, and even feelings are involved, even without wanting it, in this celebration of perfumes and colors.

Besides, for our family, this month has an agenda full of happy anniversaries, from Virginia’s birth, to the celebration of the family that Andrea and I have crowned, through our wedding, on March 21st, three years ago. We exchanged a promise, a kiss before God, to seal a pact of love, a knot that we had already tied so many years before.

Speaking of commitments and promises: life always comes back to bloom in spring, thus keeping its own ones. And if I think of life, flowing by, I think of water that of life is the director and the main undisputed interpreter. Not surprisingly, almost concurrently with the new season, on March 22nd is celebrated the World Water Day. Not by chance the access to this primary good is at the top of our thoughts and in the strongest actions of our Foundation with the Water Truck Project, with the distribution of drinking water in the slums, and with the realization of the Water-towers in the poorest communities of Haiti.

There are many other things that I have resolved to tell you, let me write to you, therefore, with the simplicity and, also, I fear, the dispersion that characterize the dialogue among friends, moved by the desire to share, rather than by the one of conveying coherent and institutionally argued sentences.

I must tell you for instance, how the work linked to concerts, and therefore to my husband’s job is carried on without ever stopping, but as a consequence, also of the many occasions on which we can and want, also through the concerts, be close to the Foundation and its projects.

Confidentially, we have just resumed, among us, in our family, a reflection that Andrea and I periodically do, because every concert, every event implicitly suggests it, a reflection that in our heart, we remember almost every day…We live of the joy and love of people. Without it, we would not be able to do anything of what we do, neither for our neighbors.

Our ‘neighbors’, who are the first to reach out to us, with enthusiasm and love. And we, in turn, without any particular merit, we then tend our hands, strengthened by that love. And we try to be close, as much as we can, to our siblings, to those who have been hit by tragedies geographically far from here, like the devastations of Hurricane Matthew, but also to the many sad situations that we see ‘from home’ of new painful poverty of those who, may be, we went to school with, and today are sinking in the uneasiness of severe poverty.

Dear friends there is a word that recurs in ABF communications, it is an expression in the dorsal spine of our Foundation…’Empowerment’: it is a complex and nuanced word, it indicates – in a person as in a community – a process of growth, the overthrow of the perception of one’s limits and the projection towards results exceeding expectations.

In these dense days, I have been obliged, more rapidly than usual, to face situations with different interlocutors ( to wear different hats, switching from manager to mom, to wife of a celeb, to expert, and activist in the field of philanthropy). Well on many different occasions, apparently different, I seemed to find a common denominator, a consistent thread, just in the word ‘empowerment’. A concept that more simply I would call ‘confidence’: knowing how to trust, how to offer an opportunity, knowing how to trust the others’ capabilities.

This is what I thought less than one week ago, when I was asked to speak at the United Nations within the event titled ‘Work life (IM) balance’ realized by “UN Women”. This way I was offered the opportunity to underline how Andrea, first, made on me this extraordinary work of “empowerment”, giving me the chance to grow and show my skills, believing in me, giving me the chance to strengthen myself and to learn through my mistakes (which did not miss)..A gesture of confidence, certainly commensurate with the energies available, that implies anyhow the risk of a failure, but that can contribute to the growth, giving full realization, new skills, and thus culture and probably well-being.

This is what I thought and go on thinking, now that we are entering into the details of the preparation of the ‘Teatro del Silenzio’, the next great event (which has in store extraordinary experiences!) linked to ABF. Our Foundation that, in the meanwhile, I am pleased to tell you is growing, slowly but constantly: also strengthened in the team with – like in every family – an internal organization increasingly well established and with the will that, each of the members may exploit their own skills in the best way.

About many things, dear friends, I would like to talk to you, just like the appointment at the end of summer with the Italian Celebrity Fight Night, event – whose proceeds will make possible other important ABF projects, and will help the “Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center” – that, this year, will take place in Rome, and that will culminate with a concert at the Colosseum that promises to be memorable, with Andrea, Elton John and many other artists…

But of this and of more there will be time to speak later, so I will stop.

And in the certainty that you too, putting into play love and intuition, (always precious because intuition means feel with one’s soul) may start a process of empowerment, giving confidence to your neighbors just as you have given it to us of ABF, I am waiting for you with a big hug, everywhere in the world.

Veronica Berti