In Memory of Our Friend Ernesto Dini

We will miss your intelligence, commitment and spirit and your vital plea to never lose sight of the needs and concerns of blind and visually impaired youth.
Pier Michele Borra

On March 24th, Ernesto Dini passed away. He will be missed by his loved ones and by all of us. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Francesco Cavazza Institute for the Blind, all the employees and partners of the Institute, and on my own behalf, I wish to offer his family our heartfelt condolences. After the shock caused by the news, we reflect on the many years of committed collaboration to develop and revitalize our Institute following the major changes which occurred in the late 1970s. The laws and ensuing innovations have resulted in a radical transformation of the organization and the activities needed to support the blind and visually impaired. The worries and tensions of 1983 came back to mind when Ernesto assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Directors of the Cavazza Institute, which was then coming out of an episode of severe financial stress. Thanks to the new Board, we began the long and arduous process of revitalizing and upgrading the role of the Institute in the new conditions we faced. Vocational training was an important area of development for our Institute. We also focused on the technological evolution to ensure that it did not result in the exclusion and isolation of the blind and visually impaired. We also stressed the need for specialized interventions that would enable youth living with vision loss attending mainstream schools. They were not to be alienated from the culture and quality education that had been the cornerstones of the Institute’s own activity in the previous fifty years establishing its reputation and importance in Italy and throughout the world. 

Ernesto Dini - Bologna

I also recall the collaboration with IBM Italy, for the implementation of training courses for electronic programmers, the development in collaboration with the Emilia-Romagna Region of updated and requalified courses for telephone operators. Above all, we must remember the commitment and deep conviction with which Ernesto supported the effort and activity of our Institute in the field of technological development, which in those years was experiencing the great IT revolution. Thanks to the R&D activities emerging in Bologna, the first Italian Braille display was developed by the Institute. It was sold at a favourable price to the blind and visually impaired so that the era of technological innovation could also begin for this population and so that we too could access the world of information technology and not be excluded from it. During the long years of my presidency of the Cavazza Board of Directors, the commitment and cooperation to foster the Institute’s growth transformed it into a service centre that could adapt and respond to the changing needs of the blind and visually impaired in work, school, and society. I cannot forget Ernesto’s great contribution to the institutional transition to a Foundation. 

Ernesto Dini visiting the Istituto Cavazza - Bologna

How many meetings, how many discussions aimed at identifying and implementing everything that could be useful to foster the process of inclusion of people living with vision loss in school, work, and society. Dear Ernesto, we will never thank you enough for your commitment, your dedication, and your hard work for the Cavazza Institute and for all the blind and visually impaired people of Bologna and across the country. And now that new challenges, demands, and needs are emerging for the future of the educational, social and employment inclusion of youth living with vision loss, we will miss your intelligence, commitment, and spirit as well as your vital plea to never lose sight of their needs and concerns. Your memory and that of the other great friends who have left us, Enzo Tioli, Silvestro Banchetti, Rodolfo Cattani, and Andrea Canevaro, will remain as a beacon and guide in the continuing struggle for the full inclusion of the blind, the visually impaired, and people with complex disabilities. We are confident that wherever you are, you will continue to guide us in our decisions in the exclusive interest of people living with vision loss and other disabilities.


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