Canada Economic Development

Canada Economic Development

October 16, 2010 10:00 ET

Governments of Canada and Italy to Inaugurate University of L'Aquila Youth Centre

L'AQUILA, ITALY--(Marketwire - Oct. 16, 2010) - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for Canada Economic Development, travelled to L'Aquila, Italy, on behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to inaugurate a university youth centre in the Abruzzo region that received funding from the Government of Canada.

The youth centre investment was originally announced by Prime Minister Harper at the July 2009 G-8 Summit held in L'Aquila, following a devastating magnitude 6.3 earthquake, which claimed the lives of 297 people, and left an additional 65,000 people homeless. At the summit, the Prime Minister pledged to contribute $5 million for the design and construction of a multi-purpose student centre at the University of L'Aquila.

"This centre will serve as a testament to the close friendship between Canada and Italy," said Minister Lebel. "The project is also the fruit of excellent cooperation between our two governments, as well as a concrete demonstration of our commitment to youth, higher education and future opportunities".

The $5-million contribution by the Government of Canada is only a part of other important financial contributions and moral support offered by the people of Canada, including significant charitable donations to the region.

Backgrounder—Canadian-funded Youth Centre in L'Aquila, Italy

On April 6, an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 caused the deaths of 297 people living in and around the university city of L'Aquila, Italy, 95 km northeast of Rome. Thousands of buildings were damaged, some of them beyond repair, leaving over 65,000 people homeless. While many of the medieval city's oldest buildings fared relatively well, there was extensive damage to many of its more modern structures. 

The Italian government immediately launched a vast reconstruction project, including temporary measures to address urgent needs. The international community answered the call as well, offering assistance in the form of reconstruction projects, student assistance programs and other initiatives. More than 20 countries, including the other members of the G-8, offered aid alongside significant support from the private sector.

Canada is demonstrating its friendship and support for the Italian people by delivering a building that serves a concrete and useful function for the local population. The University of L'Aquila is a key driver of the region's economy and identity. Canada therefore chose a new youth centre at the university as its reconstruction project. The centre's facilities include a conference room, gym and several multi-purpose rooms.

Financing for the construction of a community centre for students at the University of L'Aquila has the backing of the local community. The Italian authorities took on the responsibility for the building's construction, which was built with the talent and devotion of Italian builders and carpenters and employed environmentally friendly and anti-seismic technology. Canada's $5 million contribution covers the construction costs.

For further information on Canadian-Italian relations, visit the following website: Canada–Italy Relations(

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