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Celebrating the life of OMRI Commander Pierantonio Costa

It is with deep sorrow that I learned of the passing of OMRI Commander Pierantonio Costa, former Honorary Consul of Italy in Rwanda.

Pierantonio, who was awarded with the prestigious Gold Medal for Civil Valor by the Italian Republic, represented one of the best examples of courage and altruism, and was an essential reference point for the Italian Community in the Country.

Responding to the voice of his conscience he saved almost two thousand people during the 100 days of the genocide in Rwanda.

For this reason, in 2008 a tree was dedicated to him in the Garden of the Righteous of the World in Padua and later, in 2009 a memorial stone in the Garden of the Righteous of the World in Milan.

In recognition of his heroism, in 2011, Pierantonio was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I had the honor of meeting Pierantonio last February in Kigali and I was struck by his simplicity and humility, typical of a person who acts in an extraordinary way without considering himself as a hero.

During this difficult moment, the Embassy of Italy stands with his family and the Italian Community in Rwanda who have been struck by such a tremendous loss.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Massimiliano Mazzanti

Ambassador of Italy