Articles by: L. A.

  • Facts & Stories

    Building the Future Today

    You notice it immediately upon entering the building, upon standing in the halls of the only bilingual Italian school in New York. This is a place that fosters collaboration and participation, a place where friendly interactions and mutual support between students, parents, teachers and staff are paramount. 

     The school that provides a real sense of community raises the potential for an appreciation of
    the collective, of us—too often overwhelmed in today’s world by individualism and hyper-productivity—without sacrificing the power of me. It promotes an almost familial sense of belonging, a characteristic feature of Italian cultural heritage.

    Such a feeling helps students view the future with realistic optimism and prepares them for a life that starts here, at school, without isolating themselves and others. School, family and local community are not separate entities. Understanding their linkage is fundamental, even more so in New York, where multitudes of different worlds exist.  

    I find this preamble necessary for explaining why I’ve decided to take a look at New York’s Scuola d’Italia “Guglielmo Marconi” through the eyes of one of its former students and current board members.  Despite significant obstacles, the school board has decided to take another leap toward improving the institution. 

    As President Steve Acunto announced in an official statement, Scuola d’Italia “has undertaken steps toward the purchase of a property in Manhattan that will give [them] 100,000 plus square feet.

    The area of the facility is 3-4 times as large as [their] present total square footage and will be built to offer a greatly improved, far more advanced school facility to accommodate the top competitive prep school that [they] envision.” If all goes as planned, the deal will be closed this summer. 

    Dr. Francesca Verga, a surgeon in New York, sat down with us to talk about the past, present and future of an institution that is vital to keeping Italian culture alive—a school that stands to become a leading light in global education. 

    Discovering a tiny little school 

    But first a little about Dr. Verga. “I never thought I would live in New York,” she says. “I was raised in Rome. I really wanted to become a doctor. I met my husband, a French-Italian, when he was a medical student. He wanted to specialize in plastic surgery in the US. At the time, that possibility didn’t exist in Europe, so he came here and I went with him.” 

    In 1976, the young wife faced many obstacles on the road to becoming a doctor. As an Italian, she couldn’t obtain a loan to study in the US. In order to study medicine in Italy, she had to have a high school degree from a scientific institute. That’s when she discovered a small Italian school in New York, where, in 1978, she obtained her degree. The doors swung open. Verga entered a school of medicine in Italy, which she successfully completed while traveling back and forth from Rome to New York.   

    “The school was tiny! It was impossible to imagine the headway it would make. We have to thank the foresight of Ambassador Alessandro Cortese de Bosis. I’d get to school in the morning and it was like being greeted by a real family. There were students of all ages, Italian Americans facing the same issue: how to obtain a degree that allowed them to study in Italy.” 

    The first steps

    Slowly but surely, the school began to grow. First located between Park and Madison, it later moved into the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii. When Verga’s 14-year-old brother came to New York, he too enrolled in the school. “That’s how I stayed in touch with what had become my second family. I was there through all of its problems, especially its financial problems. It wasn’t in a position to compete with other schools back then, even though its student body kept growing.” 

    Scuola d’Italia made its first major breakthrough when it purchased a building on 96th Street. But the turning point, according to Verga, occurred when Maria Bianca Padolecchia took over as headmistress. “The school was on equal standing with Italian state schools, but it had yet to meet the standards of independent schools in America. Maria Bianca understood that second step was crucial. Scuola d’Italia needed recognition from the Board of Regents of the State of New York. And she succeeded in getting it. For those who come to study at Scuola d’Italia today, it’s as if they were studying at an American school. At the same time, they have the real privilege of attending a bilingual and bicultural school.”   


    Providing a global education

    For years now, Verga has been an effective and fervent participant in the life of the school. “I’m grateful to the school for helping me maintain contact with Italy. When I was a student, there was no telephone, no Internet, and Italy was far away. Thanks to the school, I not only succeeded in becoming a doctor. I also remained close to my country.” 

    Meanwhile the school continues to grow, and as it grows, it changes. No longer exclusive to the children of Italian diplomats and professionals temporarily living in New York, the school boasts an important international presence now. “It’s a school for everyone,” says Verga. “It promises and provides a global education. It’s not a school for the future, but a school for building the future today.” Hence the board’s efforts to increase the school’s standing on a European level. There will be a third language, and the NSERC BBA International must be obtained to allow the students to gain access to the best universities around the world.” 

    “We have to aim high”

    Besides being a member of the board, Verga has long overseen the school’s annual gala, promoted its image, and helped with fundraising. Nowadays fundraising is not only about raising money for technological improvements and scholarships. “Capital campaigning” requires finding funds to acquire larger spaces to make a school truly competitive by expanding its educational program and enrolling more students. 

    Today the school has 300 students, but the number of applicants continues to rise. “We have to go forward with a new building for today’s students and tomorrow’s. If we stop now, we’ll be taking a step backward… Instead,” continues Verga. “We have to aim high. We have to keep sending students to the best universities in the world. We face global challenges today and a school like ours can be extremely important for facing them.” 

    The recent developments augur an important step forward not only for the school, but also for Italy’s image. Once the Scuola d’Italia in New York has been consolidated, says Verga, other schools with the same educational model will open, satellite schools that will also disseminate Italian culture. “I was struck by the fact,” she concludes, “that the French President spent three hours in New York’s French school. 

    My dream is that when the President of the Republic or the Prime Minister of Italy is abroad, he will make use of the School’s facilities. Italians living abroad are an asset to our country and are valued throughout the world.”

  • Fatti e Storie

    Gennaro Matino presenta “Tetti di sole”. La sua Napoli a New York




    Al Village di Manhattan si parla di Napoli. Della Napoli del passato, di quella di oggi, e della Napoli del futuro che vorremmo. Il pubblico è composto da italiani che vivono a New York, tra cui diversi napoletani, da qualche americano e da coloro che andando a mangiare a Ribalta — dove i soci fondatori Rosario Procino e Pasquale Cozzolino preparano forse la migliore pizza napoletana nell’area — hanno scoperto delle persone che discutono di un libro e si sono incuriosite. In prima fila tra il pubblico anche dei bambini: orecchie curiose e sguardi attenti, spesso incantati.
     
    A parlare è l’autore di “Tetti di sole” Gennaro Matino, teologo, scrittore, docente di teologia pastorale e parroco a Napoli. Ne argomenta insieme allo scrittore e giornalista, Antonio Monda – napoletano di parte paterna - docente alla New York University e a me, che faccio da moderatore.
     
    Inizialmente un po’ emozionato, Gennaro Matino si scioglie subito e la sua esposizione diventa presto passionale. Il suo bel romanzo rimane sullo sfondo, mentre emerge con forza la sua idea, la sua speranza per Napoli. D’altronde i temi affrontati in “Tetti di sole” sono scottanti, è un romanzo che ha l’intensità di un saggio.
     
    E non poteva esserci newyorkese migliore ad introdurlo di Antonio Monda, organizzatore di tante importanti inziative legate alla Campania, tra cui 41mo parallelo, una rassegna cinematografica realizzata tra Napoli e New York,  insieme a Davide Azzolini. «Napoli è sullo stesso parallelo di New York e le città hanno molto in comune. – argomenta Monda - New York è una città di mare, piena di contrasti ma anche un melting pot. Ha imparato fin dall’inizio ad accogliere come Napoli. Qui il diverso è sempre stato considerato una possiblità. Ci sono certo differenze tra Napoli e New York, ma su questa linea si riesce a trovare non solo un alleanza, di certo una verità che racconti sia l’una che l’altra città»
     
    “Tetti di sole” racconta il presente di Napoli partendo da ricordi personali, anche se romanzati,  del quartiere di Antignano. Sono gli anni Sessanta, e il rione è costretto a subire la speculazione edilizia che pian piano interesserà tutta la città. Gli abitanti vengono allontanati dalle loro case. E inseme alla casa molti finiscono per perdere la loro umanità. Sono gli anni di “Mani sulla città”, quelli raccontati nel famoso film di Rosi. Un piano regolatore manomesso nottetempo da criminali rimasti “ignoti” alla giustizia, che permise ai palazzinari di costruire grandi quartieri dormitorio sia su terreni agricoli che al posto di antichi borghi. Una grande menzogna - dice Gennaro Matino - che ha dato ai ricchi e tolto ai poveri.
     
    La città infatti ha cominciato da allora a smarrire i suoi valori collettivi, comunitari, quelli che portavano all’aggregazione, che avrebbero consentito una partecipazione popolare, e anche una lotta, che a Napoli è “rivoluzionaria”, per il buon governo. Il risultato dopo 50 anni è che «Napoli è oggi a rischio più che mai. I migliori se ne sono andati e se ne stanno andando» dice Matino.
     
    Ad ascoltarlo alcuni di questi napoletani infatti. Giovani ricercatori, studenti, artisti, professionisti. Che spesso si riuniscono la domenica a tifare per il Napoli (proprio di a Ribalta si tramettono le partite), e rincorrono a New York le iniziative legate alla loro città, ne cercano la musica, la poesia, il cibo … ma pochi tornerebbero indietro.
     
    Per Don Gennaro sono colpevoli le istituzioni e anche la Chiesa è spesso stata complice, imbambolando con la rassegnazione le persone. Ora necessita rimboccarsi le maniche, per restituire a Napoli la sua dignità. «Occore che i napoletani si prendano le proprie responsabilità e non lascino la città. Soprattutto non permettano ai giovani di smettere di sognare». E a questo possono contribuire anche i napoletani che vivono all’estero.
     
    Presentare questo libro a New York, nella città che a raccolto e spesso realizzato i sogni di molti napoletani, ha infatti un significato simbolico per l’autore, che sottolinea di aver raccontato una Napoli lontana da stereotipi, da pizza e mandolino. E proprio per questo che ha scelto una pizzeria napoletana per aprire il dibattito, perchè «è un luogo di successo napoletano a New York, un luogo di giovani, un luogo di raccolta di persone che vivono il loro presente, come Napoli ha la sua storia quotidiana della gente che la vive. Parlare qui è come conversare in una piazza».
     
    Ritorna sui giovani anche quando parla della casa editrice che ha scelto per il suo libro. Si tratta della no profit  ‘Spazio Cultura Italia’, fondata da Mimì De Maio: «bisogna investire nelle giovani eccellenze del nostro territorio legate alla cultura»
     
    E c’è una parola che sorprendentemente ricorre nel racconto di Gennaro Matino: rivoluzione. Una rivoluzione che si declina innanzitutto come speranza, ma speranza fattiva non mera contemplazione di un futuro immaginario. «Occorre una rivoluzione che non è mai esistita. Ci sono state delle scaramucce, ma era solo ‘nu poco d’ammuina». Quello che serve è «una rivoluzione non violenta, che dia nella mani di chi è sfruttato carta e penna per riappropriarsi di leggi giuste, che siano un pane condiviso per tutti e non per pochi» dice Don Gennaro ripetendo le parole stampate in quarta di copertina.
     
    «Solo dagli stessi napoletani può partire una rivoluzine pacifica per combattere le menzogne dei potenti e far riscattare i deboli» insiste. E conclude incantando il pubblico con la lettura della sua poesia/dichiarazione d’amore per Napoli, che apre il romanzo. «La mia città è pane, la mia città è lavoro che manca… »
     
     
     
    Letizia Airos
    Direttore del network i-Italy a New York
    www.i-Italy.org
     
     


  • Dining in & out: Articles & Reviews

    Working for Colavita: Between Family and Business

    A long family tradition that has reached the 4th generation. A tradition that brings together not only the founding members, but all those working for the company.

     

    When the Colavita family arrived in America in 1978, little was known about the Mediterranean diet and the importance of the extra virgin olive oil. They were the first ones to promote a nutrition style based on local agricultural production made in Italy, genuine and authentic. Reaching the families of the Italian migrants first, and then all the Americans.

    But there is a red thread that links the good fortune of these products with the company’s work philosophy.

    In this article we won’t tell you about the history of the Colavita family, of how it started its activity in a small Molise town, Sant’Elia a Pianisi, and how it subsequently created an extensive distribution network in the US with a local partner, the John Profaci family.

    We won’t even mention the fact that today Colavita, starting from the US, reaches 72 Countries with its products. You would have read this news on many other magazines.

    What we’ll tell you about instead, is the atmosphere we discovered during our recent visit to their NJ Headquarters. We actually went to see what happened when the Italian employees, on a free trip offered by the company, visited the American plant. We mingled with them, sharing their curiosity as they watched in fascination. Different age groups, young people as well as workers close to retirement. Being with them while the USA CEO Giovanni Colavita served as our guide in the various areas of the plant, it was an experience definitely worth recounting.

    A vibrant and touching atmosphere, a thousand miles away from that Italy so often talked about today, where unfortunately many workers and businessmen are plagued by a serious crisis. It almost seemed like a big family party, with the best food on display and wide smiles on everybody’s faces. Warm hugs and many souvenir photos. There was also a priest, actually much more than a priest. Sure enough among them was sitting, informally, Nicholas Anthony Di Marzio, Brooklyn’s bishop, who proudly told us about his origins: his parents were from the Campobasso area, specifically Sant’Elia a Pianisi.

    Surrounded by about forty employees, whom we hardly want to call, we were taken for a tour and heard about production and distribution.

    Soon after that, we all enjoyed an Italian style banquet. We spoke with some of the guests,who were affably introduced by Marisa Colavita, Giovanni’s wife.

    Antonio di Rita, one of the oldest, shared his memories and emotions. He was very young when his father, then working for Colavita, passed away. Antonio was immediately employed and in 1973 started off by pitting olives. “It’s moving to see how far our products go” he tells us. Everything is so big here, while our village has remained small. One more reason to be delighted by the fact the Americans work with us”.

    Another story among many comes from Giancarlo Arcuri, now retired. He has been the CEO’s ‘tutor’. “From 2004 to 2008  Giovanni and I traveled Italy ” Arcuri recalls. “We spent up to 21 hours a day together. We did an incredible work with the great distribution. But Giovanni was almost ‘nato imparato’, born with the knowledge; there was little I could teach him. Of course we had important customers to deal with and he was very young. But he was accurate and meticulous.” Had Giancarlo Arcuri been to America before? “No, it’s the first time. Seeing what I have taught Giovanni being put into practice is like a dream come true. This company, in a way, is also my baby”.

    Then Giovanni’s uncle, Enrico, joins us. “They love me here as much as in Italy. They always make sure I find the sesame cookies that I like so much” he tells us moved. “Now it’s time to take the American employees to Italy. Little by little we have become as one, us in Italy and the company here, with the Profacis. And one piece cannot be jealous of the other. In Italy they used to say: ‘Eventually you’ll leave for good’. But it didn’t happen. We stayed together and we are one, the company is the extension of our family. All those people are my family.”

    Is it really all so easy? Let’s try and find out about the difficult times. Our attempts are unsuccessful. “ We never fired a single person – Enrico tells us – even during the crisis when other businesses were doing it. There is a personal relationship among us, and to us it is crucial to stay closely connected”.

    Walking around the office we are greeted by more smiles. The American employees, the Profaci family, the friends who turned up for this event, all together to celebrate.

    Tomorrow back to work for a quality that is not just in the products, but also in their work ethics and in their own lives. It’s the family business, an all-Italian secret and – it should be noted- Italian American.

    When will the American Business Administration schools start studying its success?

    Find more pics on Facebook >>>

  • Life & People

    Malvasia Contest. "Islanders yes, Isolated no."

    The SalinaDocFest is a competition for filmmakers and on their experience as islanders.

    Open to all inhabitants of the small Italian islands, the competition involves the realization of a short video (maximum of 3 minutes) capable of synthesizing the concept "Islanders yes, isolated no" as well as expressing their thoughts on the theme.

    The SalinaDocFest, an international festival of documentary narrative, in collaboration with Tasca d'Almerita alongside SalinaDocFest and Mosaicoon (agency specializing in communication campaigns on the Web, national award for innovation in 2013 and best Italian start-up in 2012), launched the first "Malvasia contest." The contest prize is a Camera "GoPro Hero 3 +" for first place and the screening of the film finalists (voted on by a jury of exception) during a special evening of the festival, which will take place at the Hotel Capofaro Malvasia & Resort, on the island of Salina.

    Read the complete entry rules here >>> and participate!
    Tell us about your way of living the islander life! Show the world what island life is! But hurry: to participate, you can enter the contest only till August 30, 2014.

  • Fatti e Storie

    Malvasia Contest. “Isolani sì, isolati no”.

     Il SalinaDocFest indice un concorso per film makers e sul loro rapporto con la propria condizione di isolani.

    Aperto a tutti gli abitanti delle isole il concorso prevede la realizzazione di un breve video (max 3 minuti) capace di sintetizzare il concept “Isolani sì, isolati no”, e di esprimere  il proprio pensiero filmico sul tema.

    il SalinaDocFest, festival internazionale del documentatio narrativo, in collaborazione con Tasca d’Almerita al fianco del SalinaDocFest e Mosaicoon (agenzia specializzata in campagne di comunicazione sul Web, premio nazionale dell’innovazione nel 2013 e migliore start-up italiana nel 2012), lancia il primo “Malvasia contest”, un concorso che mette in palio una videocamera “GoPro Hero 3+” per il primo classificato e la proiezione dei filmati finalisti (votati da una giuria d’eccezione) durante una serata speciale del festival, che si svolgerà all’Hotel Capofaro Malvasia & Resort, sull’isola di Salina.

    Leggi il regolamento completo >>> e partecipa.
    Raccontaci il tuo modo di vivere la condizione di isolano, ma affrettati:  per partecipare, hai tempo solo fino al 30 agosto 2014.

  • Art & Culture

    Italian Design is POP

    Colors, more colors plus sinuous and sexy shapes. Pure creativity. GUFRAM has presented its latest collection at the WANTED event, a showcase organized for New York's Design Week. We liked it so much for its joyous and relentless irony.

    Italian design winks at American POP culture. This marks the return of a great brand on the American market, a brand that plays an important role in the history of design. Since 1960 GUFRAM has produced icons and creative symbols of the Made in Italy label, thus revolutionizing the traditional domestic environment and playing an important role in the history of design.  


    Back in 1972, here in New York, the exhibition “Italy: the new domestic landscape” started it all. It was held at MOMA and it was curated by Emilio Ambasz. It was an important launch and the beginning of a real “romance” between the city and the design firm.

    Many of GUFRAM's pieces have become key players in American POP culture: among them we find  the Bocca couch, which was renamed the Marilyn Lips Sofa, the Pratone Grass Chair, the Sassi seating system and the Cactus hall stand. These are all pieces that have been showcased in the most important museums of the world. 

In New York, GUFRAM's industrially reproduced art objects in limited edition are held at the MOMA, at the Metropolitan Art Museum and at the National Design Museum at Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt.


    Today, after the 2012 relaunch of the design company, the new face of GUFRAM lands in New York.

    In the last months of 2011, the company was purchased by new entrepreneurs who decided to bet on this historical brand name of Italian design, GUFRAM reopened its doors and found its new home in Barolo.


    It was a great surprise to find these design icons back in New York. Just a few could resist the desire to give the Pratone grass chair a try. Sitting among its long green stems is like diving  into a colorful and soft piece of art. 


    For GUFRAN the name given to each piece is crucial: for every single object, no matter if old or new. So just dive into the PRATONE grass chair, kiss the BOCCA sofa, sit on the SOAP pouf, play with GOD, the newest pagan idol, or with the BOUNCE chair, which is soft and bouncy, as is the DETECMA doughnut shaped pouf. The JOLLY ROGER armchair is shaped like a large skull and THE END is a... unique tombstone.


    Everybody should absolutely try the new chair by Karim Rashid BOUNCE; made with foams and flexible materials it's another gem that's consistent with the GUFRAM's spirit. 

So if you want to bring some irony home, make your living room POP and even a bit rock and roll, check them out. GUFRAM is for those who want to make their own life a game, a game for adults but it's still a game. It's for those who love color and want to amaze, those who go against the flow and reject the ordinary... it's for those who want to own a piece created by the likes of Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari.

  • Arte e Cultura

    Il Design italiano è POP

    Colori, colori, forme sinuose, sexy. Creatività pura. Gufram presenta la sua nuova collezione all’interno dell’evento WANTED per la design week di New York. 
     

    Il design italiano fa l’occhietto alla cultura POP americana. Si tratta di un grande ritorno sul territorio Americano di un marchio che è stato un protagonista nella storia del design.
     

    Dal 1960 Gufram ha prodotto icone, simboli creativi Made in Italy rivoluzionando il paesaggio domestico per entrare nella storia del design.
     

    Era il 1972 quando, a New York , viene allestita la mostra “Italy: the new domestic landscape”. Era al MOMA ed era curata da Emilio Ambasz.

    Fu un lancio importante e l’inzio di una vera storia d’amore tra New York e  l’azienda.

    Capolavori Gufram sono diventati parte della cultura POP americana.

    Tra tanti il divano BOCCA, ribattezzato Marlylin Lips Sofa o Pratone, Sassi, Cactus. Pezzi che sono stati esposti anche nei musei più importanti del mondo. A New York, i Multipli di Gufram sono custoditi al MOMA, al Metropolitan Art Museum e al National Design Museum dello Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt.
     

    Oggi, dopo il rilancio nel 2012 dell’azienda ecco arrivare a New York la nuova GUFRAM.
     

    Infatti, neli ultimi mesi del 2011, l’aziendaviene acquistata da  nuovi imprenditori che  dicidono di ripuntare sul marchio storico del design italiano. E il marchio Gufr am trova casa nella nuova sede di Barolo.
     

    Grande sorpersa quindi per tutti i visitatori . In pochi hanno resistito al desiderio di provare PRATONE e sedersi tra I suoi lunghi steli verdi. Un vero tuffo colorato e morbido nel design.
     

    E come sempre per GUFRAN anche il gioco con i nomi e’ fondamentale. Per tutte le proposte, quelle rivisitate nel passato e quelle nuove.

    Dunque tuffo libero su PRATONE, bacio assicurato su BOCCA, SOAP per la casa, GOD e’  il nuovo idolo pagano, morbida la sedia BOUNCE, pouf il ciambellone DETECMA, i pirati con JOLLY ROGER e THE END per metterci una pietra sopra.  
     

    E da provare assolutamente secondo noi, per poi innamorarsi,  la nuova sedia di Karim Rashid BOUNCE, impilabile e dall'anima autenticamente pop.  Una sedia con materiali espansi e flessibili . Un altro gioiello coerente con lo spirito di GUFRAN.

  • Facts & Stories

    Federica Mogherini. Italy in America. A Pride for All

    VERSIONE IN ITALIANO >>>

    It was not the easiest time in a busy city like New York. Nine-thirty, a regular Friday morning. A workday for everyone. The weather was not the most inviting either. A dull rainy day which was making ​​everyone feel a bit lazy.

    Yet, through the door of the Consulate General, on Park Avenue, dozens of people flocked and filled the three large rooms to greet the much-awaited guest. 

    We are talking about the Foreign Minister, whom while on her first official visit regardless of her tight schedule, decided, even if for a brief time, to meet the Italian and Italian American community. 

    Federica Mogherini  since 22 February 2014 is the new Minister of Foreign Affairs under the  Renzi government. She was among those elected onto the the Democratic Party lists. 

    Previously, she was in charge of international relations of the Leftist Democratic party DS, as well as the Foreign Affairs of Leftist Youth. She holds a degree in political science, is married and has two daughters. 

    She is the third woman, after Susanna Agnelli and Emma Bonino, to hold office of the Foreign Ministry in Italy.

    Her official visit to the United States is short, but intense at the same time.

    After visiting Washington in the last couple of days, where she introduced the foreign policy of the government of Matteo Renzi to Barack Obama's administration, after a stop in London for a meeting with Foreign Ministers from 11 countries who are part of the group 'Friends of Syria,' she came to New York.

    On Friday, after having met with political scientists in the early morning of the Council on Foreign Relations, Minister Mogherini arrived at the Consulate General of Italy. 

    She was warmly welcomed by the Consul General, Natalia Quintavalle, the Ambassador in Washington, Claudio Bisogniero and the Ambassador to the UN, Sebastiano Cardi.

    The entry way to the consulate, given the time of the day, was filled with Italians, there to conduct business in the various consulate offices.

    This is what made this visit particularly different  than a normal meeting / welcome with the community awaiting an official, formal speech.

    This minister's entry into the daily routine of the activities of the consulate offices made her ​​visit very natural and removed much of the anticipated formality. 

    On the first floor, in the space utilized to welcome her, many Italians, Italian-Americans and Americans awaited.

    Joined together, representing a diverse community, representing the young and new migrations, intellectuals, representatives of business and art institutions, as well as schools and universities.

     Among them, Matilda Cuomo, former first lady of the state of NY and mother of the current governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo.

    Representatives from various Italian institutions were also present, including: ICE Director, Pier Paolo Celeste, Director of ENIT, Eugenio Magnani, Director of the Bank of Italy, Marco Martella, irector of the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce, Claudio Bozzo, the heroic Daniel Nigro, appointed FDNY Commissioner by Mayor De Blasio just a few days ago, as well as Senator of the Italian Republic, elected by Italians Abroad, Fucsia Nissoli.

    Minister Mogherini acknowledged that this meeting with the Italian community was short. "This is just a first meeting, let us make an appointment in September," said Mogherini, "when, on the occasion of the General Assembly at the United Nations, I hope to spend more time in New York, to listen to you, hear your stories, needs and proposals."

    Creating a magical ambience, the surrounding walls of the main reception hall of the consulate, were beautifully adorned by  the young artist Teresa Cinque, who just finished setting up her tapestry tree exhibit titled "Velvet Park." 

    In her introduction, Consul General proudly emphasized the role of strong and growing importance, which serves the Italian community in the Tri-State area, as well as reminded the community of the  careful work carried out jointly by the Italian System of New York. 

    She recalled the importance of Expo 2015 for our country, as well as the importance of the EU Presidency for Italy, which begins in July.

    Ambassador Bisogniero, who presented the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has sought to stress the "importance of the Italian presence in the United States." "The Minister - he said - insisted on having this meeting, to give a concrete sign of the importance that this government gives to Italians abroad, in particular to the community of fellow residents in the USA."

    Also on this occasion, as usual in his direct intervention to the community, Bisogniero wanted to reiterate the importance of the teaching of Italian in American schools and of how vital it is to maintain the Italian AP exam.

    "The Italians have contributed and continue to contribute a lot to the success of this country, from the institutional, political, economic, commercial and cultural point of view. We are, perhaps, the largest superpower in the world for the quality of our presence abroad," stated Minister Mogherini.

    She then noticed how more and more outside of Italy we find a great curiosity and attention for our country. "There is a great demand in the world. We must respond together and make our own challenge," she said. Then she added, "It is certainly very important to work on our image, but we must act on the very substance." 

    In the course of our interview, which will air on NYC Media,  channel 25 she stressed the importance of relations between Italy and the USA.

    "Here, we see, one of the most important, strong and valuable Italian experiences in the world. My visit is a tribute to the Italian and Italian-American  community and its role in the past and present of this country. We want make Italian community aware. We know that is a key added value for Italy and for its political culture."

    On Friday afternoon the minister held a meeting with Mayor Bill De Blasio, at City Hall, the seat of the municipality of New York. We have asked what this appointment meant to her. She  answered: "I admit it, I think of meeting him more as an Italian american than as mayor… I was very excited at the news of his election.  I think it's the most concrete sign of what Italians and Italian-Americans have contributed to the grandiosity of this country. And if America is so great a bit of it is our doing. And we are aware of and proud of that."

    Right before meeting with Bill De Blasio, the Minister visited the UN where, accompanied by the Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi, she met President John Ashe of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to talk about the moratorium on the death penalty, a priority of the Italian Presidency of the EU "Mare Nostrum.  Her action-packed day of activities finished with an evening among  the circle of the Democratic Party at the famous downtown Italian Pizzeria Ribalta.

  • Fatti e Storie

    Federica Mogherini. L'italia in America. Un orgoglio per tutti

    ENGLISH VERSION >>>

    L’orario non era dei più facili per una città indaffarata come New York. Nove e trenta, di un normale venerdì mattina. Giornata lavorativa per tutti. Il clima non era poi dei più invitanti. Una noiosa pioggia irritava una giornata che rendeva tutti un pò pigri. 

    Eppure, il portone del Consolato Generale, su Park avenue, ha visto entrare decine di persone, che in poco tempo hanno affollato tre grandi sale per aspettare un ospite molto atteso.

    Si tratta del Ministro degli Esteri, che nella sua prima visita ufficiale ha deciso, a margine di molti impegni, di incontrare la comunità italiana ed italo ameriana, anche se per poco tempo.
     

    Federica Mogherini è, dal 22 febbraio 2014. Ministro degli Affari Esteri nel Governo Renzi, eletta nelle liste del Partito Democratico.

    Precedentemente è stata responsabile delle relazioni internazionali dei DS, responsabile esteri della Sinistra giovanile. É laureata in scienze politiche, è sposata e ha due figlie.

    È la terza donna, dopo Susanna Agnelli e Emma Bonino, a ricoprire la carica alla Farnesina.
     

    E la sua è una visita ufficiale breve, ma intensa,  negli Stati Uniti. Dopo essere stata a Washington negli scorsi giorni per introdurre la politica estera del governo di Matteo Renzi all’amministrazione di Barack Obama, dopo un intervallo a Londra per l’incontro con I ministri degli Esteri di 11 paesi del gruppo 'amici della Siria', è  venuta a New York.
     

    E così questo venerdì, dopo aver  di primissima mattina incontrato i politologi del Council on Foreign Relations, il ministro Mogherini  è arrivato in consolato.

    Ad accompagnarla, ed accoglierla, il console generale, Natalia Quintavalle, l'ambasciatore a Washington, Claudio Bisogniero e l'ambasciatore all'ONU, Sebastiano Cardi.
     

    L’ingresso della rappresentanza consolare,  visto l’orario, era pieno di connazionali in attesa di sbrigare le rispettive pratiche nei diversi uffici. Un particolare questo che ha reso questa visita molto più di un normale incontro/ricevimento con la comunità in attesa  come sempre di un suo discorso ufficiale e magari formale.

    Questo passaggio ed ingresso nella quodiodianità delle attività degli uffici ha reso la visita del ministro molto naturale e senza grandi formalità.
     

    Al primo piano, nello spazio adibito ad accoglierla, moltissimi italiani, italo-americani ed americani.

    Tutti insieme in rappresentanza di una comunità eterogenea, che vede la presenza di giovani e nuove migrazioni, intellettuali, rappresentanti del business, dell’arte, delle istituzioni, delle università.
     

    Tra questi,  Matilda Cuomo, ex first lady e madre dell'attuale governatore dello stato di New York, Pier Paolo Celeste, direttore dell'ICE, Eugenio Magnani, direttore dell'ENIT, Marco Martella, direttore della Banca d'Italia, Claudio Bozzo direttore della Camera di Commercio Italo-Americana,  l’eroico Daniel Nigro messo da pochi giorni dal Sindaco De Blasio al comando del corpo dei vigili del fuoco di New York., il senatore della Repubblica italiana, eletta nelle liste degli italiani all’estero, Fucsia Nissoli.

    L’evento con la comunità è stato breve, ma intenso. “Questo è solo un primo incontro, ridiamoci un appuntamento a settembre,” ha detto Mogherini, “quando, in occasione dell’Assemblea Generale alle Nazioni Unite, spero di fermarmi più tempo a New York per ascoltare voi, le vostre storie, esigenze e proposte. ”

    Intorno a noi, nella sala principale del consolato, facevano da sfondo gli arazzi della giovane artista Teresa Cinque, appena allestiti con rappresentazioni in stoffa  di alberti stilizzati.

    Nell’introdurre l’incontro, il Console Generale ha sottolineato con orgoglio il ruolo, di forte e crescente importanza, che ricopre la comunità Italiana della Tristate area. Ha posto anche l'accento sull'attento lavoro portato avanti congiuntamente dal Sistema Italia newyorkese.
    Ha ricordato l'importanza di Expo 2015 per il nostro Paese. come anche l'importanza della Presidenza Europea per l'Italia che comincia nel mese di luglio. 

    L’Ambasciatore Bisognero, nel presentare il Ministro degli Affari Esteri,  ha voluto ribadire la “grande importanza della presenza Italiana negli Stati Uniti.” “Il ministro – ha detto -  ha voluto questo momento di incontro per dare un segnale concreto  dell’importanza che questo governo attribuisce agli italiani all'estero e in particolare alla comunità di connazionali residenti negli USA”. Anche in questa occasione, come di consueto nei suoi interventi diretti alla comunità, Bisognero ha voluto ribadire l'importanza dell'insegnamento della linuga italiana nelle scuole america e di quando sia vitale il mantenimento dell'esame AP.
     

     “Gli italiani hanno costruito e stanno costruendo molto del successo di questo Paese, dal punto di vista istituzionale, politico, economico, commerciale, culturale. Forse siamo la più grande superpotenza mondiale per la qualità della nostra presenza all'estero “ ha detto subito il Ministro.”

    Mogherini ha poi notato come si risonctri sempre di più fuori dall'Italia una grande curiosità e attenzione per il nostro Paese. "C'è una grande domanda nel mondo. Dobbiamo rispondere uniti e fare nostra la sfida", ha detto. E ha aggiunto "E molto importante certo lavorare sulla nostra immagine, ma dobbiamo agire molto sulla sostanza".
     

    Nel corso di una nostra intervista, che andrà in onda sul NYCMedia,  ha rimarcato l’importanza dei rapporti tra Italia ed USA.
     

    “Perchè quella qui è una delle esperienze italiane nel mondo più importanti, forti e di valore. La mia visita è un omaggio alla comunità italiana, italo-americana e al suo ruolo nella storia e nell’attualità di questo Paese. Vogliamo dare un segnale di attenzione alla comunità italiana. Sappiamo benissimo che è un valore agginto fondamentale per l’Italia e per la sua dimensione politica culturale”.
     

    Nella giornata di venerdì,  previsto anche l’incontro con Bill De Blasio,  presso la City Hall, la sede del municipio di New York. Le abbiamo chieso cosa significa per lei questo appuntamento. Questa la sua risposta: “Lo ammetto, penso di incontralo più come italo-americano che come sindaco. Ho provato un grande entusiasmo alla notizia della sua elezione. Trovo sia il segno piùconcreto di quanto gli italiani e gli italo-americani abbiano contribuito alla granezza di qeusto Paese. E se l’America è così grande un pò dipende anche da noi. E ne siamo consapevoli e orgogliosi”.
     

    E prima di vedere Bill  De Blasio,  il Ministro è andata anche al Palazzo di Vetro dove, accompagnata dal Rappresentante Permanente Sebastiano Cardi, ha incontrato  il presidente dell’Assemblea Generale John Ashe e il Segretario Generale Ban Ki moon. Per parlare dalla moratoria della pena di morte, “priorita’ del semestre italiano di presidenza Ue” a Mare Nostrum.  E in questa densa giornata di impegni, in serata anche l’incontro con il circolo del PD presso la nota pizzeria Ribalta.

  • Art & Culture

    Find All Italian Cultural Events in an App

    It's his last day as director of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York. After being at its helm for the past four years, Professor Riccardo Viale bids farewell to the Park Avenue building that is an incredibly important center of promotion of Italian culture, in a so-called institutional way.

    We go meet him to say goodbye and to hear a brief account and some considerations on the job of spreading Italian culture through the Institution he has directed. We start with what's new, something he has launched right on the last day of his mandate. He leaves “it” behind for his successor and for all those who love Italian culture.
    He is holding his iPhone while he proudly tells us: “I end my mandate by introducing an innovative contribution. This is an App that allows users to access the calendar of events at the Italian Cultural Institute, but that's not all, it also allows them to check out cultural initiatives that take place in Italy.”

    We ask him why he has decided to develop this specific App and what has motivated him to extend the range of information provided to events that are not taking place only in New York City but throughout Italy.

    “I've always believed that the Cultural Institute must become the hub of the very best of Italian culture. Its duty is not only that of informing people of what is going on in New York but also of what is happening back in Italy. The Institute can become the go-to information channel for Americans interested in all that is Italian.” 


    Basically a cultural bridge leading American citizens to Italy ...

    “By law, the Institute cannot plan American events in Italy, the mandate does not allow, in any way, the organization of foreign initiatives. Still, I believe that it should be able to carry out some projects that are directly connected to Italy. That's why, for example, during the years of my mandate, I have organized awards and initiatives for Italy's youth. Young people came to New York thanks to the awards we have created. Then they returned to Italy... in this was, we can say that they have walked on that cultural bridge we mentioned earlier.” 


    Riccardo Viale is happy to have given his contribution to alter, in a certain way, the American perception of Italian culture.

    “Through the events we have organized and supported, we have succeeded in proving that Italian culture is not only limited to the Classical period, to the Renaissance and the Baroque.” 

    What is the biggest challenge in promoting Italian culture?

    “This is exactly it... having Americans see our contemporaneity and stop categorizing Italian culture as something of the past. The Italy of today is indeed a country that is full of cultural excellence. An example?

    Proving that contemporary Italian art is extremely important is no easy feat, but something is indeed changing.  The success of auctions held in New York and London prove that art from the postwar period is getting the attention it deserves.”

    We tell him there are going to be, for the first time ever in New York, two shows, at the same time, on Italian futurism. One at CIMA, featuring the work of Fortunato Depero, and one at the Guggenheim Museum.

    “Exactly. And I am proud to say that next year there will be a solo exhibition of Burri's work. I suggested it back in 2010, four years ago. It will be the confirmation of a great Italian artist.”


    We change topics, and we move on to something a bit less pleasant... the small budget allocated to the Cultural Institute. We are surprised by the lack of complaints on Viale's part.


    “Definitely the funding from Italy is rather small, but if you collaborate with other institutions costs are  cut down, then if you organize fund raising events with other companies you can get good results. We have some funds left, we are not in debt but rather the opposite... and we've held at least three events a week.”


    Riccardo Viale has also been the creator, together celebrated designer Massimo Vignelli, of LaFondazioneNY. They both have strongly supported the necessary “exchange of today's youngsters.” “It is important to import American talents back to our country, and to give prominence to Italians looking for recognition in the United States.” 

    Created less than a year ago, LaFondazioneNY, has already organized several initiatives, among them we find: The Gotham Prize 2013, the Top Young Industrial Designers Prize, the Young Italian Filmmakers Prize 2013 and the ISNAFF Award for the Humanities.

    “LaFondazioneNY keeps going strong.” Viale tells us, “It was created to support Italian cultural initiatives, especially those linked to the Institute. We are now living through a moment of evolution.  We will promote American cultural events in Italy. We will work bilaterally, especially through the participation of our youth  and by organizing cultural exchange programs where Americans can get specific training in Italian centers of excellence.”


    We are back where we started, even when talking about LaFondazioneNY's mission, we touch that concept that is so dear to Viale because it has been at the core of his work as director.

    There is the need of a cultural bridge between Italy and the United States, a bridge that is nourished by human resources.   There is the need of a continuous cultural exchange between the two countries

    -------------------


    iPhone App of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York

    The application informs on the Institute, its history and its activities and presents the complete and updated calendar of events organized in New York.

    Particularly innovative: thanks to an agreement with Italy's Ministry of Arts and Culture (MiBAC), the app will also offer a calendar titled "Main Events in Italy": a selection of the major events organized or sponsored by the Ministry of Culture in major Italian cities.

    A perfect tool both for the "Italophiles" of New York and for the American tourist who visits Italy.

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