SMATCH at the 2014 EU Open House
In May 10, 2014 the European Union Embassies and the EU Delegation to the United States opened their doors to the public for the annual EU Embassies’ Open House: a day of family fun, food, culture and more. SMATCH, hosted at the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC, was proud to be part of this event.
The EU Open House offers visitors a rare look inside the embassies and provides a unique opportunity for them to experience the cultural heritage and national traditions of the 28 member countries. At the Italian Embassy the main theme of the year focused on explorers and their travels.
The presenters for SMATCH were Sylvana Ehrman, President, and Luigi De Luca, Vice President. Ehrman spoke about the travels of minerals, gems and precious stones in ancient times and the mines of the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. De Luca presented the paths of diseases and of plants in the old times. Tomatoes, potatoes, and corn arrived in Europe from America, while asparagus, cauliflower, and artichokes moved in the opposite way. With people’s journeys we witnessed also the movement and spread of viruses and bacteria, and the diseases that originate from them. Some researchers indicate that the conquest of the New World was facilitated for the conquistadors by the diseases that they introduced to the New World.