Reggio Emilia means a lot of things. It means cooperation, that is solidarity and brotherhood at work. It meant labor movement – the occupation of Reggiane, between 1950 and 1951, was the longest strike of Italian history. In Reggio Emilia it was also created the finest pre-school system of the world. In such a contest, the city and its citizens are not isolated: they have contributed, exported and shared ideas and methods with the rest of the world. Knowing how to “do it well” is necessary to progress, but if the know-how is not shared, if it doesn’t become the cornerstone where to lay the foundations for progressive development, then we will just be in the presence of the proverbial giant with feet of clay.
The ability of Reggio Emilia territory – and its workers over the years – has been to understand the necessity of creating welfare, or in other words common interest. This awareness doesn’t come from an accepted cultural fact, but from a matrix generated by the history of this community. A matter of everyone, a matter of public responsibility which increases individual wealth, rather than damage it.
In this historical moment, in which public affairs is in trouble to keep up with a growing social unrest and the idea that well-being corresponds to economic wealth, it is important to talk about the roots on which this community was built. To talk about ethics and pluralistic thought, and a society in which no one of its elements is left behind and forgotten.