A Consul General’s term typically lasts four years, and Arcano will finish up just a few months early to take a break before relocating with his family to Strasbourg, in France.
Arcano will commence a new position as the Italian Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg from September 2.
The Council of Europe is the oldest pan-European intergovernmental organisation, with a mission to create a democratic and judicial common space within Europe, fostering democratic values, rule of law and the respect of human rights.
It will be a challenging and invigorating new position for Arcano, and a big move for his wife Vera, as well as their six-year-old daughter as she is enrolled in a new school.
Arcano’s daughter already speaks Italian, Czech like her mother and English ... and within a few months she will likely be speaking French.
Arcano said that during his four-year tenure in NSW, working alongside the Italian community, he was “positively surprised by the kindness”.
“I already knew that there was a large community, and I had the opportunity to see how this community is well-integrated into Australian society, and from political and economic sides, that Italy is really represented here,” he said.
Referring to the older generations of Italo-Australians, Arcano mentioned that it was interesting to see how their psychological perceptions of Italy sometimes remain “a little bit outdated”.
“I say it without judgment of course,” he continued.
“I think it’s a psychological pattern; you think about Italy, and even if you visit once a year, in your mind it’s exactly the Italy that you left.
“It’s a psychological process; maybe it’s a defence mechanism, because you want to keep the memory exactly how it was when you left for good.”
Arcano said that although he found a good quality and quantity of consular services already here, in his four years “I was able to improve efficiency in services so that we provide them more quickly”.
These services include the renewal of passports and Italian citizenship recognition.
“At the same time we tried to make the Consulate more accessible to people, not to have it perceived as an unreachable institution,” he said.
“Personally ... I participated in many events of the Italian community and associations, to try to be as present as possible.”
The Consulate gave direct support, whether financial or not, to many initiatives including the Associazione Napoletana’s commemoration for the famous actor and comedian Totò, as well as a folk music concert organised by the Associazione Siciliana.
Arcano fondly remembered last year’s Invictus Games, which included a series of events organised by the Consulate for the Italian team, including a reception ceremony with many members of the Italian community present.
One major initiative that Arcano instigated during his tenure was to extend consular services to rural areas.
The Consulate undertook two field trips (to Griffith and Lismore) to provide on-the-spot services for citizenship applications and renewal of passports.
The outgoing Consul General, who was born in Calabria and studied political sciences at Luiss University in Rome, said that the biggest challenge during his time here was “trying not to disappoint”.
“Sometimes I was not able to attend some events that I felt were really important for that association,” he added.
“There are so many things happening in the Italo-Australian community.”
But he ended on a positive note, saying:
“At the same time I didn’t really see any real challenge; the Italian community helped me a lot. My job was really smooth, if anything it was great!”
A farewell dinner for the outgoing Consul General Arturo Arcano was held on Thursday, July 4, at Alfredo’s Restaurant in Bulletin Place.
The succeeding Consul General of Italy in NSW is expected to arrive in mid-October.