Zonta e-Club of Roma Parioli celebrates Rita Levi-Montalcini's legacy

On 7 October, Palermo, Italy, dedicated an entire day to Rita Levi-Montalcini, the only woman to have won a Nobel Prize in Medicine. The event kicked off in the morning at a state comprehensive institute named after her. At the institute, her niece Piera Levi-Montalcini,  an electronics engineer and President of the Levi-Montalcini Association, told the students about the multifaceted figure of her aunt and her legacy. Then in the afternoon, at the Circolo Unificato, many high civil and military dignitaries attended the "A Life Not Only for Science" conference.

The event was first proposed by the Unione Cristiana Imprenditori Dirigenti (UCID) in Palermo, Associazione Italiana Docenti Universitari (AIDU) Sicilia and the Zonta e-Club of Roma Parioli.

"The Zonta International Board awarded the International Honorary Membership to Rita, " said Club President Giovanna Fichera. "Since 1970, Zonta has recognized 43 women for their significant contributions to the advancement of the condition of women around the world, and among them, the only Italian is Rita Levi-Montalcini. Beyond her professional achievements, she has also inspired other women to take the path of science and research and enhance their role in the difficult path of female growth in our society."

Club member Antonella Aiello was the coordinator for the entire event. She is also a UCID Palermo section member and UCID Women's movement member in Rome.

"Rita was a woman who certainly spent her life well in the coherence between thought and work,"  explains Antonella."For this reason, organizing this event was born from the desire to pay tribute to the Lady of Science, a 1995 Honorary Citizen of Palermo and an honorary member of Zonta. A thought to the only Italian Scientist to be awarded a Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology, to an extraordinary woman who taught everyone to put the collective good before the individual good by wishing for the demolition of 'glass ceilings' for women and young female scientists. Her discoveries created the safe and effective vaccines we have today, including the COVID-19 vaccines. Now, in her honor, we have considered submitting a petition to have a plaque placed in the famous Sala delle Lapidi in the Palace of the Aquile."

The club would like to thank the Levi-Montalcini Association, the National Research Council (CNR), the National Council of Italian Women (CNDI), the ICS "Rita Levi-Montalcini" of Palermo, the Women in Neuroscience movement and several other organizations. Without their support, this event would not have happened.

A ceremony concluded the event, which included performances from the  Fanfare of the 12th Carabinieri Regiment and soprano Giusy Arini, who sang the Italian national anthem.