Perrone said that he has been interested in developing cultural activities and interactions and has supported joint projects between Iranian and Italian artists.
He believes that cultural diplomacy is important in developing countries since it paves the way for creating a better understanding of other viewpoints, according to IRNA.
Elaborating on the cultural activities of the Italian Embassy in Iran amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, “The pandemic didn’t stop our programs. We tried to adapt to the new situation and make sure that our programs could continue because they are such an important and defining part of our activity as the Italian Embassy in Iran. We have a great connection with Iranians and our ties with Iran have historical depth.”
“We felt it was our responsibility and duty to continue our cultural cooperation in all areas. When COVID-19 first arrived, it was very difficult for everyone. But we adapted our format of operation. For example, in our gatherings, people are always socially distanced. Hence, we produced videos and documentaries and started other projects that can be viewed and delivered online,” he added.
“Our cinema week (Spotlight on Italian Cinema), after being inaugurated, was later held online. We also continued the production of two of our documentary series on architecture and theater, respectively (‘Domus’ Eyes on Iran’ and ‘8 ½ Theatre Clips. How COVID-19 Pandemic Has Changed Our Lives’). They are all based on the above-mentioned concept, that is, producing videos everybody can enjoy watching and, by so doing, feel the deep connection existing between the two countries,” he noted.
Regarding the embassy’s initiatives for the next Iranian year, he said, “We are already working on a number of new initiatives. Some of them are similar in format and concept to the ones I mentioned, but cover different sectors. One of them, which is extremely important in my view, is in the area of figurative arts and is intended to showcase the history of cultural and artistic relations between Italy and Iran through the life and work of prominent Italian and Iranian artists. We are working also on a program featuring Italy’s contribution to Iran’s industrial development. A number of additional initiatives we are currently planning include cinema, music, literature and archeology.”
“We will hopefully resume our project on urban art (‘Urban Art Unites’), which was put on hold because of the pandemic, since it was difficult to have artists from both countries work together in such an environment,” Perrone said.
“We are also participating in the Fajr Music Festival (February 16-21). Two prominent Italian musicians are coming to Iran and will hold a musical exhibition at Vahdat Hall as well as perform an exclusive concert in the Italian [Embassy] residence,” he stated.
Commenting on the reduction of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) cultural activities in Iran, the Italian diplomat said, “The pandemic has certainly had an impact, but many programs have switched to online platforms. We participated in the European film festival in November last year, which was entirely held online. We are now discussing ways to hold musical and other joint cultural activities this year, which, for the time being, have to be planned online.”
He pointed to developments in the world after the US presidential election, saying, “I hope that, finally, a more favorable and conducive time comes, not just for Iran and its people, who most definitely would deserve that, but also for all countries like my own, which have historic friendships with Iran and want to pursue ever stronger relations.”