On 20 May, on the occasion of the “World Bee Day”, the official Residence hosted an event dedicated to the importance of adopting an environmentally friendly behaviour and raising awareness with respect to climate change.
The event, which was also an opportunity to celebrate the “Italian Research Day in the World”, consisted of two stages: a guided tour of the Embassy’s beehives coupled with an in-depth explanation of how they work provided by the beekeeper in charge of their maintenance, Cormac Farrell, environmental scientist in Canberra and chief beekeeper for the Australian Parliament; and a seminar entitled “Bees in the Vineyard: a holistic approach to sustainable agriculture” with the interventions of three distinguished Italian researchers.
Entomologist Paola Magni, an internationally renowned academic forensic scientist from Murdoch University in Perth, opened the floor. She discussed some interesting facts about bees and pollinating insects and their relevance to the ecosystems in which they live. Secondly, winemaker Roberta De Bei, winner of the “Australian Women in Wine award” in 2016, and selected by Science and Technology Australia in 2019 as one of the 60 ‘Superstars’ in STEM, presented the role of bees in enhancing vineyard performance in terms of grape quality and disease resistance. Thirdly, the head of the Prosecco DOC viticulture technical area, Silvia Liggieri, connected remotely from Italy and illustrated the project that the Consortium is carrying out in the Veneto hills to understand, also thanks to the expertise of local beekeepers, how to protect bees and better preserve the biodiversity of cultivated areas.
The Q&A session was particularly well attended, confirming the interest of the audience. Participants were able to continue the conversation on the evening’s topics during the tasting of specialities served with honey extracted from the Embassy’s hives, and Prosecco DOC as the main accompanying drink.
The event, whose success was also due to the Embassy’s former scientific attaché Anna Maria Fioretti, who contributed from Italy, was an opportunity to recall the decisive role of research and innovation in tackling today’s complex environmental challenges, as part of the activities organised in the last years by the Embassy and by the diplomatic-consular network as a whole to encourage a dialogue on these issues, which are particularly relevant for Italy’s projection abroad.