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GEI Luncheon in honor of Hon. Emma Bonino

Emma Bonino is Member of Italian Parliament and Minister for International Trade and European Affairs.  

She was born in Bra (Cuneo) and received a degree in Modern Languages from the Bocconi  University in Milan in 1972. She is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the American University of Cairo

In her life Emma Bonino has done so many things in Italy and around the world  that I could spend the all afternoon listing all her accomplishments.

As my time is unfortunately  limited and as I wish to give as much time as possible to Hon. Bonino, I will try to be very concise and mention only some of her many accomplishments.

She was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies in 1976 and since then she  has served continuously in either the Italian or European Parliament. 

In 1979 she was elected to the European Parliament  and  reelected in 1984, 1999 and in 2004.

In October 1994 she was appointed Head of the Italian Government delegation to the UN General Assembly for the “Moratorium on death penalty” initiative.

In 1994 was appointed European Commissioner responsible for Consumer Policy, Fisheries and the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and for five years was responsible for managing the European Union’s Emergency Aid Program (ECHO), which had an average budget in excess of 800 million Euro per year.

In 1997 her field of competence was widened to include consumer health protection and food safety.

In November 2002 was appointed Head of the Italian Delegation to the Inter-governmental Conference of the Community of Democracies in Seoul. 

In 2005, was appointed Head of the Italian Delegation to its Third Ministerial Conference in Santiago, Chile.

Emma Bonino’s other major international commitments have included the European Parliament’s 2004 delegation to the Darfur region of Sudan and her November 2002 appointment as Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Ecuador’s Presidential Elections. She was also the Head of the European Commission Delegation to the 1998  Rome Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. 

In her long carrier Minister Bonino has also  received several international awards such as: 

• the “Gran Cruz de la Orden de Mayo” (1995) by the President of Argentina

• Named “European Personality of the Year” (1996) by the French Catholic weekly “La vie”

• Named “European Communicator of the Year” (1997) by the British weekly “PR Week”

• the “Premio Principe de Asturias” (1998) for international co-operation by H.E. Prince Felipe of Spain

• the “Order of the Prince Branimir” (2002) by the President of Croatia “for her contribution to the    

   independence of Croatia and for her promotion of democracy”

• the “Gonfalone d’Argento” (2002) by the Tuscany Region for her activity promoting Human Rights.

• the “Premio Presidente della Repubblica” (2003) for her commitment in promoting human and civil rights worldwide

•  the “Premio Campione 2003”

• the “Prix Femmes d’Europe 2004” for Italy

• the “Open Society Prize 2004”

• the “Premio Galileo 2000”, 19 June 2005 in Florence, for her outstanding contribution to international peace.

Presently, as Minister for International Trade and European Affairs, she has been already successful in obtaining the reinstatement of the Foreing Trade Ministry to a full cabinet level position, in recognition of the important role of the trade for the Italian balance of payment. We do hope that her presence in this important branch of the Italian Governement will lead to increased Italian exports, especially during this period of strong international competition, and to the continuing success of “made in Italy” in foreign markets. 

Emma Bonino