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Robert F. Kennedy Foundation of Europe Opens in Florence, Italy


RFK Europe Honorary President Kerry Kennedy and Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi
to announce the new office at a press conference on October 24

Florence, Italy (Oct. 24, 2011) – The Robert F. Kennedy Foundation of Europe and the Mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, will hold a joint press conference on October 24 to announce the opening of RFK Europe’s new office in Florence. The office will be located in “Le Murate,” a former prison which the City of Florence is transforming into a hub for freedom of expression, human rights advocacy, and the arts.

The press conference will be held in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, in Florence, at 12 pm.

Attendees will include RFK Europe Honorary President Kerry Kennedy, Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi and women’s rights activist Marina Pisklakova, a defender in the RFK Speak Truth To Power human rights education program and director of ANNA (National Center for the Prevention of Violence), part of a network of 170 crisis centers in Russia and the territories of the former Soviet Union.


from left to right: Marialina Marcucci, Giuliano da Empoli, Kerry Kennedy and Matteo Renzi

RFK Speak Truth To Power tells the stories and struggles of human rights defenders in classrooms and boardrooms. The RFK Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum is being taught to students throughout Italy and Romania, and will be presented to 500,000 Italian high school students in the 2011–2012 school year. In 2012, the program will launch in Sweden.

On October 24, RFK Europe will also launch the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute, which will organize training programs for high school teachers and engage with human rights leaders, executives, and nonprofit directors throughout Europe and other parts of the world to develop human rights and social justice strategies. Beginning in 2012, the Institute will offer courses, seminars, and symposia, including courses for teachers on human rights education and curriculum-development, and seminars on sustainable investment and human rights.

The new facility will also permanently house photographs of Senator Robert Kennedy during his 1968 U.S. presidential campaign, taken by legendary photographer Harry Benson, and the Speak Truth To Power photo exhibition by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Eddie Adams.

“Robert Kennedy believed that ‘the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value, and all society, groups, the state, exist for his benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society,’” said Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy. “It is fitting that Florence—the seat of the Renaissance, which conceived the modern view of freedom and the importance of the individual—will be the new home of the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation of Europe. We are deeply grateful to Mayor Matteo Renzi and the City of Florence, for housing us in ‘Le Murate,’ a former prison, where we will strive to secure freedom and human rights across the globe.”

The RFK Europe annual gala dinner will also take place on October 24, in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, as part of the celebration of the opening of the Institute.

Attending the gala will be Kerry Kennedy, Harry Benson, and former U.S. Senator Gary Hart, presidential candidate in 1984 and 1988, who worked with Robert Kennedy in 1968. The gala will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s appointment as Attorney General.

Coinciding with the launch of the new RFK Europe Florence office and the gala, the RFK Center will also be hosting the RFK Compass Conference. At this gathering, fiduciaries, policymakers and sustainable investing experts will consider the array of investment risk factors faced today.

About The Robert F. Kennedy Foundation of Europe
The Robert F. Kennedy Foundation of Europe (RFK Europe) was created in 2005 to promote and build on the work of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights based in Washington, DC, and New York, with a focus on bringing human rights education and advocacy programs to European schools and communities. RFK Europe advances social justice and raises awareness about human rights among the general public by bringing to life the stories and struggles of the RFK Human Rights Defenders – people who have chosen to dedicate their lives to the defense of human rights and to changing the world.

About the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights
The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights was founded in 1968 by Robert Kennedy's family and friends as a living memorial to carry forward his vision of a more just and peaceful world. Today, the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights exemplifies Robert Kennedy’s belief that all individuals have the power and responsibility to make a difference, and that individuals working collectively can transform the world. The RFK CENTER’s core programs focus on the power of the individual, working through alliances and organizations, to generate change. RFK PARTNERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS bolsters the efficacy of human rights defenders through sustained, strategic partnerships, extending their reach to legislators, diplomats, international institutions, and corporations. RFK SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER educates students and the public about human rights issues and provides the tools for creating change in their communities. RFK COMPASS convenes the financial community to advance a discussion of the connections among investment performance, fiduciary duty, and public interest issues to optimize risk-adjusted rates of returns and address current and future global challenges.

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