Thanksgiving—that most American of holidays—is a time to reflect on the previous year, and to express gratitude. I start by being grateful for the annual opportunity to write a Thanksgiving message to Easy Milano readers! More broadly, from my office twelve floors above via Principe Amedeo, looking out on the ever-growing Milan skyline, I continue to be grateful for the incredible opportunity to represent the United States in northern Italy, as part of Ambassador John Phillips’ Mission Italy team.
Cities throughout our Consular District are flourishing, and Milan in particular continues to be in the global spotlight. For the third year in a row, Milan was recently named Italy’s “smartest city.” For the second straight year, Milan attracted more visitors than any city in Italy. The reasons to visit keep multiplying: the tremendously successful Expo 2015, then the Triennale; the world famous Fashion Weeks and Salone del Mobile. And next year, the first-ever Milan book fair, “Time for Books.” It is an exciting time to be here, working closely with innovators in business, government, civil society, and the arts.
It is additionally gratifying to see the importance of American culture in northern Italy. The Consulate supported a traveling show from the Detroit Institute of Art last year in Genoa, which turned out to be Italy’s most-visited exhibition last year. This year, we’re proud to support major exhibitions featuring American artists Herb Ritts, William Klein, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the north. American business leaders see great opportunities in the north, and here in Milan, 2017 will see the first Apple store and Italy’s first Starbucks.
“I am grateful this Thanksgiving for the friendship that has existed between our two lands…”
Of course, 2016 will be remembered for the U.S. presidential election. It was extraordinary to see so many Italians (and people around the world) watching the machinations of American democracy so closely. We were pleased to partner with Easy Milano and AmCham for the popular “Election Night Warm Up” on November 8. As we prepare for the transition to a new U.S. President and administration, we can all be confident that Italy will remain a very important ally for the United States, continuing the close partnership we have shared for over 70 years. So I am grateful this Thanksgiving for the friendship that has existed between our two lands since well before the creation of either of our Republics, and will endure as we face together the challenges of an ever-changing world.
The beauty of Thanksgiving is the clarity and simplicity of what it stands for. I think for this reason, it is the easiest American holiday to adapt and adopt in other cultures. Wherever my wife Solveig and I have served overseas, our local colleagues and friends have embraced the tradition enthusiastically, and celebrate with the same spirit of gratitude. Wherever you may find yourselves this Thursday, November 24—perhaps at Easy Milano’s traditional feast!—all of us at U.S. Consulate General in Milan wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Ambassador Philip T. Reeker
U.S. Consul General in Milan
Consulate General of the United States of America in Milan, Italy