Luca Attanasio (1977 - 2021)

the Ambassador peacemaker

Luca Attanasio was born in Saronno, he graduated in Business Administration at the Bocconi University in Milan, but he soon decided to dedicate his life to the service of others.

He strongly believed that diplomacy could contribute to the achievement of peace in the world, therefore he started his diplomatic career in 2003. He started as Directorate for Economic Affairs, Business Support Office, to the secretariat of the Directorate General for Africa, then he became deputy head secretariat of the Under Secretary of State with responsibility for Africa and International Cooperation. At the end of 2006 he was sent to his first mission abroad serving at the Embassy in Berna, where his approach to the Economic and Commercial Office changed the concept of being a diplomat: "he always kept an eye outside the institutional bubble, he always maintained a daily contact with the real world...".

From 2010 to 2013 he served as the Regent Consul in Casablanca, Morocco, where he revolutionized the system which was used to issue the visas: he entrusted the service to an external agency, thus saving money and energy and extirpating corruption. He transformed the Consulate into a "home of Italians", open to everybody without the need of an appointment, by simply showing the personal ID. In 2017, at the age of 40, he became Head of Mission in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Besides his diplomatic duties, he and his wife Zakia Seddiki were involved in humanitarian projects helping the African civil society. Together they created the charity Mama Sofia, that helps street children in the RDC and guarantees economic assistance to mothers in need. "During the last ten years in Africa - says Salvatore Attanasio, father of the Ambassador, during a public meeting in Limbiate in May 2022 - Luca studied the country and understood the needs of the population".

In October 2020 Luca Attanasio received the Nassiriya International Prize for Peace "for his commitment to saveguarding peace among nations" together with his wife Zakia, also awarded "for having contributed to the realization of important humanitarian projects, distinguished by altruism, dedication and spirit of service to help people in need". From his speech during this ceremony clearly emerges the humbleness and devotion characterizing his mission: "When I say that our family lives in Congo everybody is shocked. Even many of our compatriots reply «How? It is dangerous». We must start from the assumption that being an ambassador is like a mission: according to me when you are a representative of the institutions you have the moral duty to set an example […] It is necessary to act to give them a better future. We will try, in our small way, to redesign the world ".

On February 22, 2021 Luca Attanasio died tragically during an attack while traveling on the convoy of the World Food Programme with members of the UN Mission for the stabilization of the Democratic Republic of Congo under circumstances not yet clear. With him, the policemen Vittorio Iacovacci and the driver Mustapha Milambo died.

On December 12, 2021 the President of the Italian Republic Mattarella honored the memory of the Ambassador presenting to the Quirinale the Grand Cross of Honour of the Order of the Star of Italy to his wife Zakia.


Zakia Seddiki, L'ambasciatore che si sentiva un missionario, in "Avvenire"

Premio Nassiriya per la Pace a Luca Attanasio, ambasciatore italiano in Congoin "La Repubblica"

Reported by Alessandra Bartolotti

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