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Articles by: Roberta Cutillo

  • Art & Culture

    Remains of a Sunken Migrant Ship Become a Biennale Piece

    The 58th Venice Art Biennale, one of the world’s major international art events, opens this week and everyone is already talking about Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Büchel’s contribution, a project titled “Barca Nostra,” which means “our boat,” also a play on “mare nostrum” (“our sea”), a Roman name for the Mediteranean, as well as the name given to the operation launched by the Italian government in 2013 to tackle increased immigration and migratory ship wreckages off Lampedusa.

     

    For this work, the artist, who has already been known to carry out political and provocatory projects, recovered the wreck of a fishing boat that sank between the coast of Libya and the Sicilian island of Lampedusa on April 18, 2015, causing the death of 700 to 800 migrants, and had it installed on the shore of the Arsenale, one of the Biennale’s exhibition spaces.

     

    In 2016, the ship was recovered from the seabed and brought back to a NATO naval base in Augusta, Sicily. Obtaining it was not an easy process, as there were other proposals for its use and no official owner. “The government had recovered it but officially the defence ministry had only custody of it, not ownership. And officially shipwrecks in Italy are supposed to be destroyed,” explained Maria Chiara di Trapani, a Biennale curator.

     

    This project was strongly wanted by Ralph Rugoff, the curator of this year’s Biennale titled “May You Live in Interesting Times.” As is always the case considering the quantity and variety of the works exhibited, the theme is multifaceted and can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, but its name certainly reveals the intention to conjure discussions about the times we live in and the phenomena they are characterized by. Migration is undoubtedly amongst them and this work confronts the theme in a powerful way.

     

    The April 2015 shipwreck is one of the deadliest to have ever taken place in the Mediterranean, but it is by no means an isolated case. The sight of this ship, broken and rusted, is terribly ominous because it immediately conjures up the countless other vessels that have met and continue to meet similar fates. It is described as “a relic of a human tragedy but also a monument to contemporary migration, engaging real and symbolic borders and the (im)possibility of freedom of movement of information and people.”

     

    The work “invites silence and reflection,” comments the President of the Biennale Foundation Paolo Baratta, who reveals that the intention in including it in this year’s Biennale was to “move people’s consciences.”

     

    “We are living in a tragic moment without memory. We all look at the news, and it seems so far away,” explains Ms. di Trapani, who hopes that actually seeing the ship first-hand, feeling its presence will help change that.

     

    After the Biennale, which will end on November 24th, the wreck will be brought back to Augusta and placed in a new monument called “Giardino della Memoria” (“Garden of Memory”), a collective memorial dedicated to the migrants who have lost their lives at sea.

     

  • Art & Culture

    Celebrating Baroque Composer Barbara Strozzi: Interview with Elena Biscuola

    For some time now, through various collaborations, NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò has been exploring the theme of gender in Renaissance and Baroque Italy and particularly the representation (or lack thereof) of the women who contributed to shaping the cultural landscape of the time.

     

    “I Sacri Musicali Affetti”, a concert organized alongside Salon Sanctuary Concerts, brings attention to the works of the prolific yet virtually unknown singer and composer Barbara Strozzi 400 years from her birth.

     

    The concert, which will be held on May 10th in Manhattan’s St. Francis Xavier Church on West 16th street, will be performed by six female artists coming from different parts of the world, including Italian mezzo-soprano Elena Biscuola. The other performers will be soprano Jessica Gould, Paula Chateauneuf and Catherine Liddell (theorbo), Christa Patton (baroque harp), Katie Rietman (baroque cello), and Caitlyn Koester (chamber organ​.)

     

    We spoke with Ms. Biscuola to find out more about her and discuss her passion for Baroque music and the importance of celebrating the often forgotten or overlooked work of the remarkable women of that period such as Barbara Strozzi.

     

    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? Where did your passion for music come from?

     

    I come from Monselice, a small town with an interesting history and beautiful landscape. I love the place where I live and the possibility to be in contact with nature while also being very close to Padova, a seat of Italian Art History, home to the Scrovegni Chapel, to one Italy’s oldest universities, and to the resting place of both Saint Anthony and of the great Barbara Strozzi herself.

     

    My passion for music began when I was 6 years-old thanks to my family, who always made me listen to classical music, from Beethoven to Mozart, and especially Vivaldi. Thanks to Vivaldi I developed a passion for the Baroque right from the start, even though I initially dedicated myself to the study of piano and then successively at 14 I had the chance to sing in the chorus of the musical institute I was attending and to get closer to Renaissance and Baroque music. In that moment I decided I would only be happy if I became a singer. So at 18 I enrolled in the conservatory where I studied lyric singing, then chamber music, and finally baroque singing. And I have been working with Baroque ever since.

     

    You perform at many concerts and events all over the world, is there one that was particularly significant to you? Do you have a favorite piece?

     

    I had the chance over the years to tour Europe and America, including North (United States), Central (Mexico), and South (Argentina and Chile) and each place has left a positive mark. Of course, in European classical music festivals, such as the ones in Bruges, Utrecht, Gent, Ambronay and Royaumont you breathe classical music every day and have the chance to make interesting encounters and cultural exchanges that would otherwise be more difficult to come across, but in the United States, where I have had the chance to go on long tours, I encountered such love and curiosity for both Italy and classical music that I was deeply touched.  

     

    Throughout my career I sang much unpublished music that was discovered in Bolognese and Venitian archives and I have to say that I love discovering and giving voice to “hidden” music, but I also gladly sing Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Porpora, Haendel, Pergolesi, ect.

     

    Pergolesi’s “Stabat mater” is probably the piece I have sung the most in all my life and every time I learn something different and fascinating, even though my main inspiration remains Bach for his genius and originality.

     

    And what about the upcoming concert, “I Sacri Musicali Affetti”? Were you already familiar with the work of Barbara Strozzi?

     

    I’m very happy to be able to sing this collection by Barbara Strozzi, of which I knew about but had never had the chance to study. I like her idea of exalting certain saints and of giving voice to their emotions. For example, the story of Saint Peter incredulous in front of Jesus walking on water, or even the final montetto dedicated to Saint Anthony, which reveals itself as an ode to joy dedicated to the “Santo” with multiple melisma on the words “cantate” and “Sancti Antoni.”

     

    I’m very thankful to Jessica Gould for this opportunity and for the commitment and love that she has towards Italian music. I’m also thankful because before this project, she had also given me the chance to sing another piece by Strozzi, “Lacrime mie”, an absolute masterpiece of 17th century Italian music, with orientalizing tones and harmonic audacity.  

     

    Despite having been one of the most prolific composers of her time, Barbara Strozzi’s work has remained fairly unknown up to now, why do you think that is?

     

    Regarding the lack of interest on the part of musicologist for “I Sacri Musicali Affetti” I think there might have been some reserve in considering this “sacred” music because it is vaguely erotic in its construction and very bold harmonically, which was unusual for the time.

     

    The word “affetti” (affections) had however already been used, even by Monteverdi, and was tied not only to religious feeling but also to the affection and passion for art, music, spirituality. Affection is a passion of the soul, a desire for good and hatred of evil.

     

    Why is it important to “bring back” and celebrate her work today?

     

    I think it’s important to celebrate Barbare Strozzi for her courage and originality. Along with Francesca Caccini, they were the only women at the time who were able to compose, even in alternative ways, in a world that was exclusively male.

     

  • Art & Culture

    Celebrating the Art of Saving Art

    Founded in 1969 by General Arnaldo Ferrara, the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio or TPC was the first specialist force dedicated to combating art and antiquities crimes in the world. To this day, it remains the largest and most respected, having recuperated almost 2 million artworks in total.

     

    An exhibition titled “The Art of Saving Art, Fragments of Italian History” is on view in Rome’s Quirinal Palace, the seat of the President of the Republic, to celebrate the Comando TPC’s 50th anniversary. President Sergio Mattarella was present at the inauguration on May 5th and recognized the immense work carried out daily by the now 300 TPC officers located all across the country.

     

    The Minister of Cultural Goods and Activities, Alberto Bonisoli, and the General Commander of the Carabinieri, Giovanni Nistri, also attended the opening.

     

    The show curated by Prof. Francesco Buranelli features a variety of artworks (109 in total), ranging from looted antique vases (such as the famous Euphronious Krater, a looted vase restituted to Italy by the Met in 2008) to stolen paintings by artists such as Van Gogh and Cezanne, and many more. What ties them all together is that they were successfully recuperated by the Carabinieri.

     

    “The 300 men of the department, organized into 15 divisions, operate all across Italy and they are excellent investigators: they even have specific competencies, for example, there are archeologists, musicologists, experts on ancient languages,” comments General Fabrizio Parrulli, head of the TPC.

     

    The pieces are arranged into five sections in order to illustrate all the different activities carried out by Italy’s “Art Squad.” Three rooms are dedicated to the art crimes committed in Italy, one focusing on the lootings of ancient artifacts from the tombs in Cerveteri, another centered around Renaissance art, and the third showing the work of the Blue Helmets of Culture who retrieve cultural objects from areas hit by earthquakes or conflicts.

     

    The Carabinieri of the TPC work all over the world, as art crimes are at times part of larger cases often involving criminal organizations and therefore transcend national borders. Their expertise also provides valuable specialized support to peace-keeping missions in war-torn areas such as Iraq from 2003 to 2006 and now in various areas across the Middle East, where important cultural heritage sites are being torn down during armed conflicts and by extremist militant groups wishing to send a message.   

     

    The work they carry out is extremely important because by protecting our cultural heritage they help to preserve our identity.

     

    Another particularly interesting aspect of the exhibit is that each object is presented alongside the story of its disappearance and retrieval, which oftentimes seems to be taken right out of a mystery novel or heist movie.

     

    The final section of the show looks to the future and also to the works that are still missing, such as the Nativity by Caravaggio, which was stolen from a Church in Palermo in 1969 and remains lost to this day, though a sophisticated digital reproduction hangs in its place, awaiting the return of the original.

     

    “We hope that the bill to raise the penalty for art theft goes through so that we may have more tools at our disposal,” explained Gen. Parulli.

     

    The exhibition will be on view in the Palazzina Gregoriana of the Quirinal Palace in Rome through July 14, 2019. To visit you must reserve your tickets beforehand on the website of the Quirinale.

     

  • Art & Culture

    Magazzino and Casa Italiana (NYU) Present Renato Leotta

    For their third collaboration aimed at promoting Italian artists in the US, Magazzino Italian Art Foundation and NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò chose to showcase works by Renato Leotta, a young but established Italian artist currently in residence at Magazzino in Cold Spring, New York.

     

    “Magazzino is the most lively institution that promotes contemporary Italian art in the United States,” commented Stefano Albertini, the Director of Casa Italiana “we are very privileged to be the venue to which they dedicate every year the exhibit of a young but already established Italian artist.”

     

    Renato Leotta, who lives and works between Acireale (Sicily) and Turin and was the most recent Italian fellow at the American Academy in Rome, uses various media in his practice to explore the forces of nature and their interconnectedness.

     

    “It’s important to give a venue for Italian artists to showcase their work in New York,” explains Nancy Olnick, co-founder of Magazzino along with her husband Giorgio Spanu, “and what better place than Casa Italiana, where the students and faculty can get acquainted with art that they would not usually see.”

     

    The exhibition opens with seven photographs, all part of a series titled Lunagrammas, (“moongrams”) a new project launched by the artist during his Cold Spring residence, featuring images of the moon captured from a camera obscura submerged in the Hudson River.  

     

    Leotta also expanded upon ongoing projects, creating works such as Two Hands, a sculptural installation on view in the third gallery. This work, part of his Gipsoteca project, is composed of two sets of four sand relief sculptures, half of which were cast on Portuguese beaches while the others were realized on the Long Island coast. Here, the artist seeks to capture the moment of contact, the encounter between sea and shore, on both sides of the Atlantic.

     

    Another liminal moment is represented in the works from the Multiverso series, which Leotta realized by dipping strips of cotton fabric into the sea, thus creating or recreating a horizon line, the point where the sky meets the sea.

     

    A work which appears to stand out from the rest is LUCE, a 16mm film shown on an old cubic TV set placed in the corner of Gallery 1 and featuring an out of focus lemon tree. This piece is actually part of a work titled Notte di San Lorenzo, a site-specific installation made out of perforated terracotta tiles, which connects the artist’s lemon grove in Sicily to the Hudson Valley landscape. Leotta had realized a previous iteration of this work in Palermo’s Palazzo Butera on the occasion of the 2018 Manifesta Biennial.

     

    This installation will remain on view on the grounds of Magazzino throughout the Summer.

     

  • Facts & Stories

    Milano 2020: Promoting LGBTQ+ Tourism

    Milan is already amongst Italy’s most LGBTQ+ friendly cities and so, as this year’s International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Annual Convention (held in New York City) comes to a close, it seems fitting that the Lombard city should host the next edition, which will take place in May 2020.

     

    Home to over 25 LGBTQ+ associations, to one of the country’s largest Gay Prides, among other cultural initiatives, Milan was the first Italian city to develop an LGBTQ+ neighborhood (Porta Venezia) and most importantly to open a registry of Civil Unions, once they became legal in 2016.

     

    The city now launches the Milan Loves You campaign, a project by the Sonders and Beach tourist agency and endorsed by the Municipality and by Enit (the Italian National Tourism Agency) with the aim of promoting the next IGLTA 2020 Convention.

     

    The IGLTA is the world’s leading network of LGBTQ+ welcoming tourism businesses. It was founded in 1983 and provides free travel resources and information while continuously working to promote equality and safety within LGBTQ+ tourism worldwide.

     

    The 2020 convention, which will be held at the iconic Castello Sforzesco, one of the symbols of Milan, will welcome around 500 tour operators, journalists, LGBTQ influencers from all over the world.

     

    According to Tourism Commissioner Roberta Guaineri, this event “is important for business but also from a human rights perspective and a collaboration between privates and institutions is fundamental for the promotion of non-discriminatory hospitality. We are working towards Milan becoming welcoming of everyone and able to answer to the needs of all travelers.”

     

    Alessio Virgili, CEO of Sonders & Beach and  IGLTA Italian Ambassador explains that the goal of the campaign is to use Milan 2020 as a springboard for the promotion of LGBTQ+ tourism in Milan and beyond. “Based on the results of previous editions,” he comments “we expect an influx of 2 million euro during the 3 days of the convention in the city of Milan alone and a 60% increase in the volume of tourists in the following year.”

     

    So far, Italy (which, let’s face it is not amongst the most LGBTQ-friendly nations) has not catered towards LGBTQ+ tourism, a complete loss considering that, as another Italian Ambassador, the actor and journalist Alessandro Cecchi Paone, notes “members of the LGBTQ+ community travel, spend money, and set trends.”

     

    Hopefully, the Milan Loves You initiative along with the 2020 Convention, beyond favoring the Milanese and Italian tourism industry, will help set new standards within the sector, making Italy a place where all visitors, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation can feel safe, welcome and have a great time.

     

  • Facts & Stories

    Mapping Italian Fashion Trends

    It’s no news that Italians love designer fashion, but which are the most popular brands across the peninsula? In an initiative named Fashion Geography, Lyst, the fashion industry’s leading search engine, generated a map revealing the most researched brands by Italian men and women in each region.

     

    Lyst was founded in 2010 by Chris Morton and Sebastian Trepca in Shoreditch, London, as “a way for people to find the fashion they always wanted.” Today, the website brings together 5 million products from 12,000 brands. Last year, more than 70 million shoppers across 120 countries began their searches on the platform. As the About page reads, they “track more than 10 million global searches a month, crunching queries, page views and sales statistics every minute, and [...] use this data to tell the stories of what the world wants to wear.”

     

    The data they recorded for Fashion Geography reveals the following about the preferences and tendencies of Italian consumers:

     

    The appeal of ‘Made-in-Italy’ persists, particularly thanks to Gucci, which garners attention across the country. The Florentine brand is in fact the most researched by women in Lombardy (32%), Lazio (21%), Puglia (19%), and Calabria (15%) and by men in Veneto (26%), Lazio (22%), Abruzzo (20%), and Lombardy (17%).

     

    Amongst women, other popular Italian brands are the classic Valentino (the most popular in Veneto) and Prada (Marche), as well as the more contemporary luxury streetwear brand Off-White (Tuscany and Friuli Venezia Giulia). However, Italian women appear to be just as interested in foreign labels, with brands such as the French Celine topping searches in Piemonte (43%) and the British Alexander McQueen dominating Sicily (45%), amongst others.

     

    Italian men show particular interest in Dolce & Gabbana (24% in Sardinia and 18% in Sicily, where the designers are from) and Versace (30% in Calabria and 22% in Molise). Though classic houses persist, luxury streetwear brands are becoming increasingly popular amongst male consumers, even more so than amongst women. Three young Milan-based brands, Marcelo Burlon, Off-White, and Palm Angels are respectively the most popular in Campania, Tuscany, and Emilia Romagna.

     

    As with women, some Italian men also prefer foreign brands, particularly in Piemonte (Burberry), Umbria (Calvin Klein), and Basilicata (Nike.)

     

    Fashion Geography also reveals the types of fashion items that Italians are looking up. Sneakers are the most popular with both men and women, even beating out the quintessential female accessory, the bag, which does, however, remain within the top 5 desired products with crossbody bags coming in second place, followed by shoulder bags. Jackets too are extremely popular across genders.

     

    Perhaps one of the most surprising finds is that Italian men spend on average more money than their female counterparts: 267 euro against 249 euro, subverting in a way the stereotype of the frivolous woman who squanders every penny on clothes and accessories.

     

    Although this data is certainly interesting it is important to keep in mind that it does not account for the population’s overall spending habits.

     

    For one thing, Fashion Geography solely relies on information gathered through the use of the Lyst platform, which means that these statistics reflect the preferences of Lyft users but do not take into account the searches made using other websites, of which there are quite a few (such as Farfetch, Yoox, and Luisa Via Roma, just to name some), not to mention all the generic, non fashion-specific search platforms.

     

    Additionally, searching for a product does not necessarily lead to purchasing it, meaning that these maps are, if anything, more reflective of each region’s desires rather than what its inhabitants actually buy and wear.

     

    This being said, knowing the aspirations of fashion consumers across Italy is certainly useful, particularly for both national and global brands wishing to market their products on the Italian market. It can also be seen as a reflection of the broader economic and cultural behaviors and influences of Italians today.

  • Facts & Stories

    The Urban Exodus of Young Italians

    Historically, people have migrated from rural areas to cities, where they hoped to find more employment opportunities and a better quality of life. However, young Italians are inverting this trend, as a growing number of men and women under the age of 35 decide to leave their city lives to go work in the countryside.

     

    This phenomenon has apparently been slowly developing during the past decade. Statistics produced by ISMEA (the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Market Services) reveal that the number of young people moving to the countryside to undertake a career in agriculture-related fields has been steadily augmenting over the last 10 years.

     

    Certainly, Italy’s stagnating economic situation, which has led to the rise in youth unemployment, has caused widespread frustration and disenchantment amongst young generations. This is the very reason most of them have resorted to going to seek opportunities abroad. But this “urban exodus” shouldn’t be understood as the latest desperate attempt by young people to cope with the general lack of future prospects.

     

    These young men and women are not simply fleeing cities with idealistic fantasies of reconnecting with nature. In most cases, they are making planned, sensible decisions. Students are now choosing to pursue an education in the agriculture sector and according to the Ministry of Agriculture the quantity of agribusinesses, many of which are managed by people under 30, increases each year.

     

    There are several factors that render a move to the countryside a sensible and sustainable professional decision for young Italians. For one, Agriculture is one of the country’s most subsidized sectors, and the Italian government supplies various financial incentives and other forms of economic aid to those working in this field.

     

    The steadily growing slow food movement and the general tendency of consumers becoming increasingly interested in purchasing organic, local, and artisanal products, also provides a great opportunity for those wishing to launch new small agricultural businesses.  

     

    And since most of those involved in this phenomenon are educated, usually overqualified, young people, perhaps with some previous professional experience, they bring their own knowledge, skills, and fresh perspectives to the industry, which hopefully will lead to an influx of innovation that will benefit not just this sector but the Italian economy as a whole.

  • Facts & Stories

    The Pope Dedicates Via Crucis Celebrations to Migrants

    The celebrations of the Via Crucis, which recall Jesus’ journey from the moment of his betrayal and capture to that of his crucifixion, take on an additional meaning on the night of Good Friday, as Pope Francis draws a parallel between this Biblical plight and the one endured today by migrants and other victims of power and self-service.

     

    At each of the 14 stations of the cross, the Pope recites a meditation written by the head of the 'Slaves No More' Association, Eugenia Bonetti, an 80-year-old missionary who has devoted her life to helping the victims of human trafficking and sex slavery.

     

    These meditations are strong and to the point, calling out governments, legislations, all those who are in power to stop the suffering of their fellow humans but choose to remain indifferent. “Deserts and seas have become the new cemeteries of today,” one of them reads, “there are no answers to these deaths. There are, however, responsibilities [...] while governments argue, locked inside the palaces of power, the Sahara fills with the skeletons of people who have faced pain, hunger, and thirst.”

     

    Through God, Bonetti invokes the people holding positions of power, asking them to listen to those who are suffering, “those without a home, the young without hopes, without jobs, and without perspectives.” She also brings up “the immigrants forced to live in shacks on the margins of our societies, after having suffered unspeakable hardships,” noting how these are “unsafe camps, burnt and destroyed along with the dreams and hopes of thousands of men and women.”

     

    The missionary also discusses the tragedy of human trafficking, the issue to which she has devoted her life. “Everything is for sale,” she condemns, “even the bodies of children.” The meditations point out how we are all responsible for what is happening, how indifference is the real enemy. This also means that we have the power to change the situation.

     

    Bonetti urges everyone to welcome diversity because ‘the other’ is “not a problem, but a precious resource for our blinded cities.” and recognizes the volunteers and NGOs who “during these last months, have risked their lives, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea, to save those of many families in search of safety and opportunity.”

     

  • Art & Culture

    Creating a Global Network of Young Italians

    These 115 young Italians, selected by the Com.It.Es, the Committee of Italians Abroad, and by the regional committees for emigration, will take part in a series of encounters aimed at establishing a global network that they will then go on to activate and develop across the world. The goal is to mobilize all communities of Italians abroad and to reinforce the existing institutional networks worldwide.

     

    Palermo was chosen to host this event for having been the Youth Capital in 2017 and the Capital of Culture in 2018 and local institutions such as the Municipality of Palermo and the Region of Sicily fully endorsed the project.

     

    The Regional Minister for Education and Formation of Sicily, Roberto Lagalla, declared “The Government of the Region of Sicily has gladly welcomed this seminary, ours is a land that is always ready to share and favor exchanges between various communities.”

     

    The Mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, who is also the President of the Teatro Massimo Foundation, shared in this sentiment, stating “Creating a network of young immigrants starting from Palermo is a way to confirm that our city has adopted the international community as its own flag [...] There are no migrants here. Everyone is a Palermitan citizen. And that’s the message that these young people have to spread into the world.”

     

    Representatives from national institutions were also present to express their support for the initiative. The Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Riccardo Merlo, addressed the young delegates, stating “You will be the leading class of the future. That’s why I want to give you some advice: push the cause of Italians abroad. Occupy the positions of power and the institutions that can be the instruments to access them, bringing change. You should synthesize this encounter united and organized.”

     

    The Director General of Italians abroad and migration policies, Luigi Maria Vignali thanked all the participants who came from all over the world and believed in this project. “We have several objectives to achieve, including dialog, and the need for awareness in order to become proactive and give young people the chance to build their own future. As Pier Paolo Borsellino said: true love consists of what we do not like in order to change it. Even from abroad, help us to change Italy for the better.”

     

    The Secretary General of the CGIE, Michele Schiavone, also pointed out the relevance of choosing Palermo, which has always been a crossroads where different cultures met and exchanged ideas, beliefs, knowledge, while also being the perfect place for these young Italians living abroad to reconnect with the richness of the Italian culture and history.

    “The current historical period renders their need to inherit and acquire the testimony of their fathers even more urgent and necessary to point to the direction in which to proceed in order to give a new sense to what it means to be Italian abroad,” he stated.

     

    “For years we have been talking about young Italians abroad without ever hearing those directly concerned,” remarked Maria Chiara Prodi, the President of the VII Commission of the CGIE ‘New Migrations and New Generations’, stressing how this event provides the opportunity to change the perception of the issue.

     

    “All the delegates attending the Seminary will have the chance to meet and exchange information. It will require careful and demanding work that over the coming six months will produce a research document for young Italians abroad,” she concluded.

     

    Tomorrow, the young delegates will meet again, this time in the Royal Theatre of Santa Cecilia, focusing on using Open Space methodology to determine the reasons and the ways in which to begin building the network.

     

    Their work can be followed on the Seminary’s website: https://www.seminariodipalermo.it/

     

  • Facts & Stories

    Honoring Italian American Women at NOIAW’s Annual Luncheon

    This year’s edition of the Annual NOIAW Luncheon recognized the achievements of two remarkable Italian American Women, Sandra L. DePoalo (Global Head of Anti-Money Laundering)  and Judith A. Salerno (President of the New York Academy of Medicine), as well as the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, which received the Friend of NOIAW award.

     

    As Roma Torre, award-winning TV news anchor, theatre critic and the event’s emcee, remarked, “For nearly 39 years, NOIAW has remained steadfast in its mission of uniting, inspiring, celebrating, and empowering women through Italian heritage and culture.” She thanked the organization, of which she is a member, for “having allowed me to connect with other Italian American women and reflect on my own legacy through my mother and my ancestry and how it impacted me personally and professionally.”

     

    Maria Tamburri, Chair of NOIAW’s National Board of Directors, then came to the stage to thank this year’s honorees, as well as the members of the board, and even members of the distinguished board, such as former first lady of the State of New York, founder of the Mentoring USA program, and founding member of NOIAW itself, Matilda Cuomo, who was present at the event, along with her daughter, Dr. Margaret Cuomo.

     

    The Consul General of Italy, Francesco Genuardi, expressed his gratitude towards the organization and the work it does, acting as a “pillar for those nearly four million Italian Americans in the Tri-State area” and “a bridge between the generations, between the different layers of Italians and Italian Americans here.”

     

    Both honorees remembered the stories of their families, of how they came to the United States from Italy, facing hardships and working hard to ensure that their children and grandchildren would have a better life. Sandra DePoalo explained how, thanks to the example set by her parents and grandparents she and her brother “learned that through hard work, commitment, and our family’s support, we can achieve anything that we put our hearts to.”

     

    She also stressed the importance of mentoring younger generations, stating that “There is no greater joy than seeing another young woman achieve more than she ever believed possible. And what NOIAW does through its mentoring program and through its scholarships reinforces that very same message.”

     

    The second honoree, Judith Salerno, also acknowledged the Italian American women who inspired her throughout her life, such as her mother, a child of Italian immigrants who, as the eldest, had to work to support her family and later to provide a better education and a better life for her own children, as well as her Italian grandmothers, with whom she shared a bedroom growing up, and whom she thanked for bravely crossing the Atlantic, thus providing their descendants with more opportunities for a better future.

     

    It was then the turn of the Queens College (CUNY) John D. Calandra Italian American Institute to accept the 2019 Friend of NOIAW award. Founded in 1979 with the aim to redress imbalances in treatment of Italian Americans in higher education, the Institute now follows its mission to further explore and promulgate the experience and foster the education of and about Italian Americans throughout numerous activities.  

     

    Dr. Anthony Tamburri, the Dean of Calandra, stressed the importance of having the support of the community and of maintaining a dialog with Italy, through local Italian Institutions. “It’s important for us to understand the Italy of the past through our own historical immigration experience, and it’s important for us to understand the Italy of the present with regarding what Italy is going through now with their own immigration issues,” he stated.

     

    Like every year, scholarships were then given out to six young Italian American women in order to support the studies they are carrying out across a variety of fields. Each of them had expressed what their Italian heritage means to them.

     

    Finally, Torre concluded the event by asking everyone present, honorees and guests, to give themselves a round of applause for showing what it means to be true Italians, “shattering the awful stereotype that has too long dominated the perception of what it is to be Italian in this country.”

     

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