Italy Calabria Riace Domenico Lucano Mayor

Italy - 'Migrants, come over here!'
A revolutionary social model at stake
Photos: Bruno Zanzottera
Domenico Lucano, mayor of the small village of Riace in Calabria, Southern Italy, has just been placed under house arrest following an order from the local state prosecutor’s office, for charges related to immigration and fraudulent dealings in the assignment of waste collection contracts.

Ranked among the 50 most influential leaders in the world by the American magazine Fortune - his name is listed next to Angela Merkel and Aung San Suu Kyi - Lucano has lately become the symbol of a revolutionary approach to the immigration phenomenon in Italy.

Riace itself is already known worldwide for the famous 5th Century BC bronze statues. Yet Domenico Lucano didn't make it to the Fortune list for the ancient sculptures, but for his refugees policy and social model. While in many European countries politicians are screaming against the immigrant invasion, the Riace municipality stands out for the reception of the refugees. 'Send them here, we need them!'. Those were the words of the Italian mayor who considers the arrival of foreigners a gift against decreasing number of inhabitants of the village and its shrinking economy. The case of Riace has set an example for a visionary refugee policy in Europe. Riace has succeeded both in giving hospitality to refugees and creating handcrafts workshops which provided jobs for foreigners and Italians alike, as well as keeping alive social services such as the local schools, which remain open thanks to the kids and families who came to live in Riace.

Riace's policy has earned the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) acclaim and positive reaction. Even Wim Wenders came to this tiny village to shoot a documentary about its experience, which has already inspired other municipalities with the same issues.

But now everything is at risk.
Italy Calabria Riace Domenico Lucano Mayor
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