Emma Bonino in red head gear, Grace Akello, Titti Adriani and Carlo Vergavo pose by cake to celebrate Uganda and Italian women
The Embassy in Rome hosted some 100 diplomats, top officials of the Italian Government and of Italian NGOs operating in Uganda; to a cocktail to mark 8th March, International Women's Day. The event was held under the banner, "Cancer: a silent killer"; a theme jointly chosen by the Embassy and AFRON, an Italian NGO operating in the area of cancer in Uganda.Prior to the cocktail the Embassy hosted an AFRON workshop at the Chancery. The workshop brought together cancer specialists including pathologists to forge further links in the struggle against cancer in Africa. Later on at the cocktail, the President of AFRON, Dr TittiAndriani, talked of her work against cancer in Uganda. Highlighting the differences in medical advances in the struggle against cancer, Andriani said that women with cancer in Italy had many more chances of recovering from the disease than women in Uganda.
The highlight of the evening was however, a candid speech by Emma Bonino, a renowned gender activist who, has fought against many negative practices that tie women down, both in Europe and globally. She is very well known, among her other gender-related campaigns, for her strong stand against female genital mutilation. A former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Ms Bonino has rubbed shoulders with many African leaders. Then she not only represented the female face of power, but advocated for more women in positions of power.
At our celebration, Emma Bonino talked to the tune of our theme, that is , "Cancer; the silent killer". She talked of her own personal struggle against the disease. She recalled her shock at being told she had the disease as well as her sadness at people's stereotyping of cancer. There were some who felt that those with cancer were pariahs - that cancer was a "bad disease to be suffering from". She urged an end to the silence over cancer as a very important step in dealing with the challenges posed by the disease.