A new award is born. Given for the first time on 2 December in Milan
during an evening introduced by Cristina Parodi, the Mother Teresa of Calcutta “Hymn To Life” International Award.
The award was sought and organised by Nausika Spahia
, President of the “Ali Spahia” Scientific-Humanitarian Association to be dedicated to “women, men and associations who dedicate their efforts with unparalleled results in scientific research, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, art and culture and whose
contribution significantly increases the quality of life of the socially disadvantaged”.
The description is sufficient to suggest how important this award is.
The real emotion, though, in receiving this award is born elsewhere: from knowing that this is the award a daughter, Nausika, wanted to establish to remember her father, Ali, to thank him for having gifted her both life and a future. An award wanted by a woman, Nausika, to thank a land, Italy, for having welcomed her when in her own country, Albania, it was not that easy to live. An award that takes its name from another Albanian woman, Teresa, who dedicated her life, despite being tiny and powerless, to saving the lives of all those she encountered. Having understood all this, it really is something else to hold that small steel sculpture – created by the Albanian Helidon Xhixha – in your hands as it “sculpts the light”
Standing on stage and receiving that award means being recognised as people capable of love and dedication. Of being among those whose work and undertakings are testimony to having accepted the invitation of another great hymn to life, that of Saint Teresa of Calcutta “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, taste it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is precious, do not destroy it. Life is wealth, conserve it. Life is love, enjoy it. Life is a mystery, discover it. Life is a promise, fulfil it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a hymn, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is fun, enjoy it. Life is a cross, hold on to it. Life is peace, embrace it. Life is happiness, deserve it. Life is life, defend it”.
This is what Nicoletta Mantovani
felt when, as President of the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation, she continued the work of her husband, in contributing to the training of young opera singers; Mariavittoria Rava
, president of the Fondazione Francesca Rava, which surpassed itself in its work in Haiti; Dr Paolo Petralia
, Director General of the Istituto Gaslini of Genoa, who was greatly moved as he described the episode of a child in his hospital who asked him if this award meant he would be able to treat all the children in an even better way; Matteo Marzotto
, vice president of the Fondazione per la Fibrosi Cistica, who never stopped loving his beloved sister for even a second; Professor Mario Melazzini
, an incredible man of medicine and courage who is personally struggling every day with ALS while working to defeat it; Professor Francesco Montorsi
Scientific Director of San Raffaele di Milano Hospital, who proudly described the young and brilliant researchers in his institute; Professor Silvia Priori
, Director of Rehabilitative Cardiology of the Fondazione Maugeri, who has received important awards around the world; Giuliana Bossi Rocca
, President of the Fondazione Humanitas, which with its 180 or so volunteers helps the sick, providing them with physical and moral assistance in hospitals.
And then two special moments. For Giusi Nicolini
, Mayor of the island of Lampedusa, whose tears were more important than a thousand words with the European Community in describing the drama of the refugees who arrive by sea. To Riccardo Cocciante
, given his award personally by Nausika Spahia, with a wonderful motivation “for, with his amazing songs, having made my life easier during the Communist dictatorship because even a “small” song might provide a valid reason to live”.
…and yet more excitement in hearing our heart beat to a different rhythm when Riccardo Cocciante dedicated a wonderful spoken version of “Margherita”
, and sang an emotional version of “Poesia”
, moving us because “There must be a reason why we’re here together”
in this incredible world… Can there be a greater award?… Even now as I am writing, I’m listening to it…