Rete G2: the incredibly true adventure of a group of foreigners in their own home ( I hate long titles :-) ! )

In the last few years a whole slice of the italian population, went from being invisible and slightly uncool, to being a dynamic nationwide movement!

A movement able to challenge current citizeship laws, challenge common stereotypes and cultural perceptions of who we are, and most importantly, able to make people feel like they’re part of an “us” instead of a “them”.

I was able to join this network born in Rome in it’s early stages, and create the milanese G2 group with some other people.

This below, is who we are and how we work.

Rete G2 - Seconde Generazioni (Rete means network in italian)

Rete G2 - Seconde Generazioni is a National organization founded by daughters and sons of immigrants and refugees born and/or raised in Italy.

Rete G2 is a network of people with different backgrounds and professional skills, whose origins are from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Each one of the members of this network defines himself/herself not as an immigrant but as an italian kid of an immigrant, even though by law they are not recognised italian citizenship.

Those who were born on italian soil have the chance to obtain citizeship when they reach 18 years of age, until then they are considered as nationals of their country of origin.

Such a group decided to work together on two fundamental points:

  1. Italian citizenship issues on denied rights to the second generation

  2. Identity as a form of gathering of different cultures.


The motivations behind the creation of the network include sharing experiences, discussing common issues and trying to find solutions to problems regarding legal status, documentation, citizenship, but also discussing cultural and ethnic self representations and how users feel about their multiple identities in everyday life.

The network has grown since it’s creation in 2005, it is now recognised by media other organizations and institutions (such as the Italian Ministry for Internal Affairs and Welfare polical parties of every side and even the italian president who recently mentioned and thanked Rete G2 for it’s extesive work on this important subject) and is involved in diverse immigration and integration debates.

The website include a blog and a forum which is quite active, and the network is also present on social networks such as Facebook, twitter, where they have more than 2,538 members.Journalist and uni students use the network as a source of information.

Finally, it is important to point out that the group insists on the network’s management being democratic, horizontal, leaderless, politically neutral and uses the website to enhance this thinking.

Innovation and creativity:

This is a one of a kind project (first in Italy), a grassroots initiative created to raise awareness, and draw the attention to challenges for future generations. It focuses on daughters and sons of immigrants and attempts to raise their social capital by actively using social computing, and uses the most up-to-date communication tools (wikis, blogs, social networks, etc) to reach its audience. It fights for citizenship rights and other fundamental rights and draws challenges for future generations.

It uses cultural instruments like music (compilation “Straniero a chi?” ), books, video spot, National Radio broadcasting “OndeG2”, fotoromanzo (stories told in pictures), photo exhibitions and websites etc to accompany and sustain the activity and the initiative of Rete G2 in order to obtain a maximum result and thus realize its objective and mission.

Also very important focus for Rete G2 is the work with schools, both with students and teachers alike on identity, diversity and citizenship rights.


The original and horizontal way of managing the network allows the project to keep going, and promotes its sustainability. Just as an example, the Sportello Legale online (opened 1st of March 2011) which is promoted by G2 in collaboration with ASGI and Save the Children, is funded by the Department of Equal Opportunities and National Office for Racial Discrimination (UNAR) due to its positive action.


Social capital and mixe identy…

Medhin, thanks for sharing this story.

You see I’m trying to figure out how to relate to the space myself. Mixed, hybrid, multiple…whatever you call them, identities. There are several posts in here that somehow brush on the different facets Andrei has written a beautiful post about mixed identities and violent conflict  in Transnistria while Decida has written about her 2Faced1 project- a creative play with how we fear and want to be percieved by others. One of the things I admire about the way you all three communicate around the topics is that they don’t feel like they are reinforcing structural catgorisations. Which then become prisons you can’t get out of. How did you, G2, actually get started talking about this stuff? and what do you think was a tipping point for it to have become cool?

Hang on, how does this work now?

So I don’t understand the situation.

In America (where I’m most familiar with immigration laws, even though I’m British) if you are born in America, you’re a US Citizen, period.

It doesn’t work that way in Italy, I guess? You’re dealing with people who’s parents were Italian permanent residents on immigrant visas, and their kids are left without any status in Italy?

That’s so strange, I almost can’t imagine it hasn’t been through the European human rights courts!

Could you tell us a bit more about how the system works today, and (at a technical level) what the changes you would like to see are?

Vinay, who’s half-Indian, half-Scottish, and didn’t quite manage to get an American visa…


Medhin, maybe Vinay suggested this in mischief: the European Court of Human Rights is actually operated by the Council of Europe. I see it from my office’s window, and you yourself will walk past it to come to the Edgeryders conference!

I would suggest to enrich the mission report with a couple of links, perhaps?

Hey Vinay,

let me explain.


Hey Vinay,

let me explain.

Up until the second world war, Italy was mostly a country of emigration.With italians migrating to various parts of the world (Argentina, Usa, Australia).

Only in the last few decades we became a country of immigration, with people from extra european countries coming to Italy.

The law in force now is “legge 91 del 1992”.

It enforces the Bloodline/right of blood, or jus sanguinis, meaning you obtain citizenship as a result of the nationality of one parent or of another, more distant ancestors.

As opposed to Birthplace or jus soli, meaning the fact of being born in a territory should be enough to give you citizeship rights.

So the law as it is now is designed basicly to preserve the citizenship of those italians who migrated to other countries, so even generations later, their children could still be citizens, even if they were born and raised abroad and they never been in Italy.

That makes sense, and that’s not the problem anyway.

The issue is, that now all those children of those extra-european immigrants, are left out of the equation.

And as a result there are “italians living with visa permits in Italy”.

To answer you better Vinay let me give you an example, mine.

I was born in Milano Italy, from east african parents.

So since I was born on italian soil and my father was a foreigner but already a resident on a regular visa, when I turned 18 I had the chance to ask for my italian citizeship.

I got lucky and I got it, but let me say, you only have a window of time of one year to ask for it. If you pass 19 then you’ll follow the channells reserved for foreigners.

I also had to demonstrate to have remained in the country for those first 18 years of my life.

I’m only an example but that’s obviously the rule for everyone.

Changes we would like to see (on a political level):

G2 is working toward a modification of  the current law, to make it more inclusive towards sons and daughters of immigrants.(Ius soli, with )

Also we include in the discussion people who were not born in Italy, but came early on in life as children with their families.For them we ask to have a privileged route to get citizenship rights (they don’t even get that chance I had at 18 to ask for my right, they’re authomaticly excluded).

If you want me to tell you more about the kind of work we do, I will.

Medhin, who actually got an american visa because of her now italian passport (It only took me 18 years!)


Hello Medhin,

I really liked

Hello Medhin,

I really liked your story and this project… It’s funny because the last 2-3 years (and specially just before the national elections in Greece) they were a tons of discussions about the immigration and the 2nd generation immigrants. In Greece it’s very difficult to get the Greek nationality even if you are born and raised in the country. I like the support and that Rete G2 seems to give to people. Do you provide kind of membership for the people who want to join or it is “free use”? Do you have any co operations with other countries as well?

Some months ago, another Edgeryder Alessandra posted this mission report about Liberaparola and free Italian courses to immigrants. I don’t know if you are aware of it or you have already read but I found it quite interesting and inspiring specially for a Greek person as me living abroad …

Ciao Luna (nice name),


Ciao Luna (nice name),

Greece form what I know is the only Eu with a situation similar to the italian one regarding citizeship laws.

Most Eu countries have a softened version of “Jus Soli”, and by softened I mean that there is a condition to that.

The condition being, that you already have a parent living regularly/legally on italian soil for a few years at the time of your birth.

That’s the rule in most european countries anyway (with differencies of course).

Rete G2 doesn’t have any kind of membership card.

You can be a part of the larger network by actively become part of the discussion, you can do that by following and adding to the conversation  here and here

or even on FB

Then there is a smaller group of people (actual G2 members) who are the head and arms of the organization.A network within the network sort of.

We do cooperate with different groups and organization in Italy, but not much yet outside of it.

We’ve been invited to conventions and interviews by the American Embassy in Rome, foreign radio stations (Germany), and we’ve been asked for the content of the various material we produce from teachers from the US and other countries.Especially our radio program OndeG2.

Regarding Liberaparola, that’s a good service they’re providing.

I personally know many 2d generation people who do the same, since they usually speak two or more languages.

By the way, my last vacation as a “foreigner in my own country” was at 17 in GREECE (beautiful).

I almost missed it because I had an ethiopian passport at the tiime.

I won’t tell HOW I didn’t end up missing my trip… but it was epic!

Thanks for the details! I subscribed on the facebook group and I checked the website … it seems very interesting initiative and I think Greece should be paradigmatised by it… I ll do my best towards this way :slight_smile:

By the way are you coming to the conference in June? Have you checked its agenda? What do you think? It would be nice to meet you in person


Ciao Luna,

I’ll be at both

Ciao Luna,

I’ll be at both the conference and the unconference in june (I’m coming on the 13th what about you?).

And I’ll be happy to meet you, let’s stay in touch.

Right now Day 1 (the 14th Meet the policy maker) is looking quite interesting, I cant wait to be a part of that.

And I have a feeling that the uncoference will be just as good and intense as the official conf.

Medhin :peace_symbol:

Perfect!! I m coming also on the 13th for both conference and unconference!!

Can’t wait to go there and meet all these interesting people and make some magic ***

good beginning for plural society!

Really interesting! it’s so important that boys and girls of second generation become the real protagonist of their own life and issues that they have to face with! I hope that could be a good example also for immigrants and for other people…

i can say it as italian citizen, and also as activist in a group that is trying to work in the matter of migration, racism and society… and i can say that as educator, this is my job…

in this year with my group I’ve carried out some workshops in the secondary school dealing with issues as prejudice, discrimination, migration, ecc… and i’ve known many people that are part of second generation… i’m thinking that youngsters are the most important part of the society and they can really teach us how to live together.

Your exeperience is really precious to reflect together about a plural society, that is the best thing i hope for the  place where I live… I hope we will have the chance to keep in contact!