Century of Italian Presence in Karakoram marked

“It is one hundred years that the Italians are working in the Karakorum, having inherited Professor Desio’s dreams and scientific planning the Ev-K2-CNR on its way to explore, research and mainstream the issues of the Karakorum. For the last five years, we are focused on the consolidation of the great Central Karakorum National Park (CKNP) in the K2 region under the framework of the SEED project.” This was stated by Agostino da Polenza, president of the Ev-K2-CNR while marking a century of Italian presence in the Karakoram. The event, held in Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), was inaugurated by the Italian Embassy with the opening of Filippo de Filippi photo exhibition ‘Rediscovering the abode of snow’ and a documentary screening under the title: ‘Italian Science and Cooperation at the Shadow of K2’.

italians-karakoram-markedThe mountaineer Agostino, who had co-launched “Ev-K2-CNR Project” with Prof. Ardito Desio in collaboration with the Italian National Research Council, further said: “The Karakorum mountain range including the Baltoro have all the superlative features that make us love the giant mountains. The features include size, strength, verticality, harmony, shape, colour, and light, to the unique majesty of K2.”

The photo exhibition showcases the artefacts discovered by Italian researcher and explorer Filippo de Filippi in 1913, and the footprints of his adventure journey to the K-2 and Central Asia. ‘Rediscovering the abode of snow’, usually known as Filippo De Filippi Photo Exhibit, is dedicated to the great scientific expedition organized by the Italian scientist and explorer Filippo De Filippi in Central Asia in 1913-1914. The expedition was a major step forward for the knowledge of Karakorum, especially on the scientific side.

Federido Bianchi, Head of the Cultural Affairs at the Italian Embassy, said “The Karakorum range and the K2 have been familiar names in Italy for very long time. It was 1909, when the Duke of Abruzzi, the son of our then King, crossed the Karakoram, creating an ideal bridge between our two countries. Since then, many other Italian scientists, explorers and mountaineers came to the region. Amongst these: Ardito Desio, who visited the area in 1929 for the first time, together with his companions Lacedelli and Compagnoni, was the first climber ever to reach the top of the K2 in 1954, and he continued his expeditions until few years before his death in 2001. An Italian Museum was inaugurated to commemorate such achievements in Skardu in 2004.

“Today, as Italy and Pakistan enjoy excellent bilateral relations, the Italian Government, within its portfolio of development programmes worth over 226 million euro, has decided to fund different activities in the mountainous areas of Pakistan. The main one is the Social Economic Environmental Development Project (SEED), in the framework of the Pakistani Italian Debt-for-Development Swap Programme, that amounts to about 8 million euros and is implemented by the “Everest K2 CNR Committee” in collaboration with the Karakorum International University and several prestigious Italian, Pakistani and international partner institutions.” Bianchi concluded.

The Ev-K2-CNR Committee and the Karakorum International University (KIU) in the framework of the SEED Project have also organized a series of events in Islamabad and Skardu to celebrate and underline the development of the bilateral cooperation between Italy and Pakistan.

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