domenica, ottobre 30, 2005

Intitolato a Umberto Agnelli auditorium italiano a Tokyo


Il Sole 24 ore, 30 ottobre 2005
E' stato inaugurato a Tokyo il nuovo Istituto italiano di cultura in un moderno edificio hi-tech di 12 piani. Circa 200 invitati hanno preso parte alla serata di gala alla presenza della principessa Takamado della famiglia imperiale, che ha aperto uno dei più grandi Istituti di cultura del mondo, con un auditorium polifunzionale di 370 posti e uno spazio espositivo di 250 metri quadrati, saletta per conferenze, biblioteca di 15.000 volumi, 9 aule per insegnamento della lingua italiana e altre attività didattiche, uffici del personale e foresteria per gli ospiti. L'auditorium è stato intitolato a Umberto Agnelli, per il suo contributo negli ultimi 20 anni della sua vita allo sviluppo dei rapporti tra i due Paesi.

Interviews With Foreign Envoys: Columbus Was Italian

By Yoon Won-sup
Staff Reporter

Luigino Zecchin, director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Seoul

The Korea Times, October 30, 2005
Ask any Korean about the nationality of Christopher Columbus, the man known to have discovered the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492, and most of them would say that he was probably from Spain or Portugal. However, he was an Italian navigator, the director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Seoul said.
``I was surprised to find that so many Koreans do not know exactly where Christopher Columbus came from,'' Luigino Zecchin said in a recent interview with The Korea Times. ``Columbus was certainly a great Italian navigator who discovered the New World, according to all historical sources.''

Zecchin said the bone of contention lies in the fact that Columbus made four voyages to the Americas under the auspices of the Spanish government. In fact, the organizer, boats and crew involved in the voyages led by Columbus were all Spanish except for the capital invested in the project.

``It is rightly argued that Columbus' voyages were made possible by the Spanish entrepreneurship,'' the director said. ``But the money needed for the voyages came from Genoese bankers who lent big sums of money to the expedition organizers.''

Koreans' misperception of Columbus' nationality has been one of the most difficult things to understand for Zecchin since he arrived in Seoul in April 2003. But somehow, Italy was hard for Koreans to associate with Columbus as the country mainly meant to them a land of fashion, design and luxury brands.

The 62-year-old career diplomat stressed throughout the interview that Columbus, a native of the Italian northwest port city of Genoa, is considered an Italian man without dispute among historians.

He showed several documents, which prove that Columbus was Italian, beginning with some explanation of the historical background of Italy in the 15th century.

``It does not come as a surprise that Italy has given the world great navigators and explorers,'' he said. ``In the 15th century, the discovery of America was only one of the many consequences and natural outcomes of the new way of thinking and acting that the Italian Renaissance had started.''

Zecchin noted that the three protagonists of the discovery, exploration and evangelization of the New World were all Italians, traveling at the turn of the 15th century. They were Columbus, who first set foot onto Central America in 1492, John Cabot and his son Sebastian, who were the first Europeans to discover North America, and the Florentine Amerigo Vespucci, the first European to travel to South America.

Another point of confusion is that Columbus married a Portuguese woman. ``But his marriage with a Portuguese woman does not mean he is Portuguese,'' Zecchin added.

Asked about the meaning of Christopher Columbus, or Christoforo Colombo as he is known in Italy, the director promptly answered that the first name means ``Christ's Bearer'' and the last name may be of Jewish origin. So some argue that Columbus' father was exiled to Italy from Spain, he added.

When he almost finished proving the navigator¡¯s nationality, Zecchin brought up the so-called ``Three Issues of Columbus,'' which deals with three questions: was Columbus Italian, did he discover America, and where is his tomb?

Regarding the second issue of Columbus, he picked Vikings among others, who are claimed to have arrived in America before Columbus. But the scholars who claimed the Vikings arrived first were thwarted by their evidence: a map deemed to be a forgery, Zecchin said.

As for the third issue, Zecchin said it is the most complicated matter, labeling it ``another Da Vinci Code.''

``Columbus was buried in Spain when he died, and his son transferred the tomb to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic,'' he continued. ``Then, the whereabouts of the tomb became a mystery.''

Last but not least, Zecchin said that his remarks on the nationality of Columbus were not based on a nationalistic purpose but just his desire to emphasize a historical fact.

``We are sure that October 12 will go on being celebrated everywhere though various countries name it differently,'' he said. ``It is `Hispanic Day' in Spain, the `Day of the Discovery of America' in Italy, `Race Day' in Mexico and other countries in Latin America.''

Even in the United States, some have called it ``Discoverer's Day'' in Hawaii, ``Discovery Day'' in Indiana, and ``Landing Day'' in Wisconsin, he added.

``Everybody is entitled to celebrate this day as they wish,'' he said. ``The more, the better for Columbus's enterprise belongs to all humanity.''

The Web site of the Italian Cultural Institute in Seoul is

venerdì, ottobre 28, 2005

Celebrating Lebanese-Italian cooperation at UNESCO Palace

The Daily Star, Friday, October 28, 2005
BEIRUT: "Italians are extroverted, they make friends immediately, they have this pride of being Italian, thinking they're more elegant than the others ... just like the Lebanese," smiles Samih Kandil, an Lebanese engineer who fell in love with Italy during his studies there. Today he's one of the language teachers at the Italian Cultural Institute in Beirut, and though some might say that learning Spanish or German is a more useful language career success, Kandil has a decisive argument in favor of Italian: "Marriages between Lebanese and Italians work particularly well and tend last longer than with other Europeans."

Participants of the Italian language week might agree with this analysis. Staged from October 24 to 28 at the UNESCO Palace and several Lebanese universities, learners and lovers of the Italian language are coming together for concerts, movie screenings and lectures. Even though the event is specially conceived for the Italian community and Lebanese already involved in Italian-Lebanese relations, all parts of the program are open to the general public.

"Though it seems to be true that all roads lead to Rome, I am convinced that the road of friendship is the shortcut," says Antoine Harb, director of the UNESCO Palace, and one of three Lebanese who were honored with the "Ordre de l'etoile de la solidarite italienne" for promoting cultural exchange between Lebanon and Italy.

In 2001 a law was passed allowing Italian to be taught as a second language alongside English, French and German in Lebanese schools. The Italian government pays for the learning material, thus making the language affordable for public school students. Today, approximately 1,600 Lebanese students learn Italian between grades seven and 12. They gain access to Dante, Da Vinci and Italian cinema, but also an advantage on the job market of a country where many are trilingual, but few speak European languages other than French and English.

Thanks to a yearly invitation by the province of Pavia, the best students of each Italian class have the opportunity to spend three weeks discovering Italy in person.

domenica, ottobre 23, 2005

A Slice of Italy

Express Features Service
DELHI Newsline
New Delhi, Sunday, October 23, 2005
The Italian Language Week,organised by the Italian Embassy Cultural Institute will kick off its festival of exhibitions, seminars and film screenings with a talk by literary critic and semiotican Umberto Eco on October 24. Also on the inaugural day is an exhibition of sculptor and poet Alberto Ghinzani’s works, followed by anthropologist Paolo Mantegazza’s photography show of North Indian tribes on October 27. Film-maker Giovanni Bogani will give lectures on film criticism and literature on October 25 and 28. Film buffs can also catch up with controversial communist film-maker Pier Pasolo Pasolini’s movies Decameron and Flower of Arabian Nights. Pasolini, is known the world over for his cinematic concepts on neo-realism. Next, chef Gianmarco Desole will demonstrate ‘‘20 different ways to enjoy pastas,’’ with short films on Italian regional cuisines at the Metropolitan Nikko hotel. ‘‘Language is the key to enter another country’s cultural territory, and Italian is the language of culture, arts and music,’’ says Patrizia Raveggi, director, Italian Embassy Cultural Institute.

giovedì, ottobre 13, 2005

Italian center makes residents see red

The brightly colored Italian Cultural Institute near Chidorigafuchi in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 13, 2005
The bright red walls of the recently renovated Instituto Italiano di Cultura have drawn the wrath of residents in Chidorigafuchi in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, who say the color scheme clashes with the greenery of Chidorigafuchi.

Some of the residents are so incensed about the newly redecorated building, due to reopen Oct. 29, that they are collecting signatures to be submitted to the Italian Embassy calling for the walls to be repainted.

The new Italian Cultural Institute, which will be a base for cultural exchanges between Japan and Italy, has 12 stories above ground and two below, with a total floor space of about 14,700 square meters. It was designed by the famous architect Gae Aulenti, and its design encompasses the imagery of traditional Japanese grids that date to the Edo period (1603-1868).

The bright color of the building's exterior walls is intended to evoke the red color of Japanese lacquerware, the institute said.

In 1933, areas around the Imperial Palace were designated as an aesthetic zone. The Chiyoda Ward office established an ordinance concerning scenery in 1998 and compiled a "Guideline for Aesthetic Zones" in 2002 as part of efforts to maintain the scenery.

The ordinance requires that newly constructed buildings near Chidorigafuchi blend in with the water and greenery of their surrounds.

Prior to the start of renovation, the ward office and the construction company doing the work met nine times from 1999 to 2002.

Initially, the Italian side wanted to use a more vibrant red for the building's exterior, but the ward office asked that the color be toned down as it would stick out too much against its surroundings.

But after the renovated building was unveiled in summer 2004, the ward office started receiving complaints from residents.

Kensuke Hashimoto, 72, who runs a real estate company in the ward, is a representative of a group of residents opposed to the building. In July, the group started collecting signatures from residents and local companies calling for the building to be repainted. So far, the group has collected about 2,200 signatures and plans to submit them and a petition to the Italian Embassy, Chiyoda Ward, the Chiyoda Ward Assembly, the ward's council discussing scenery and the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.

"The scenery in this area has been preserved for years," Hashimoto said. "Local residents and people working here are disturbed by this novel color. We hope the color of the building will be changed to white or something more tranquil."

In response, Alberto Di Mauro of the Italian Embassy and director of the institute, said: "We won't change the color that we decided upon after thorough discussions. But it's gratifying that local residents are paying attention to the building."

Chiyoda Ward Mayor Masami Ishikawa said: "We can't regulate it by saying, 'This color isn't allowed,' but it's important for it to harmonize with the local scenery. We'd like to call on the Italian side to have a dialogue with residents once again."

martedì, ottobre 11, 2005



(Inform), 10 ottobre 2005
OSLO - Martedì 11 ottobre ad Oslo nella rinnovata sede di Norsk Form, Centro Norvegese per il Design e l’Architettura, si svolgerà un seminario di studi sul tema ”Palermo-Oslo: due città alla periferia dell’Europa”. Come altre città costiere europee, Palermo e Oslo progettano di espandersi lungo il mare. Alle prospettive future per il loro sviluppo urbano, al recupero e alla risistemazione delle aree portuali delle due città è dedicata la giornata di studi cui parteciperanno esperti italiani e norvegesi.
Il convegno organizzato dall’Istituto Italiano di Cultura e da NorskForm, con il sostegno della Presidenza della Regione Siciliana - Ufficio delle Relazioni Diplomatiche ed Internazionali ed in collaborazione con EXPA, Galleria di Architettura di Palermo, sarà inaugurato dall’Ambasciatore d’Italia Uberto Pestalozza.
Da parte italiana interverranno il professor Nino Bevilacqua, ordinario di “Strade, Ferrovie ed Aeroporti” dell’Università di Palermo con la relazione “Palermo città tuttoporto”, Vanni Pasca, professore straordinario di ”Teorie e Storia del Design” alla Facoltà di Architettura di Palermo con un contributo su “Il design nel Mediterraneo”, l’architetto Tiziano Di Cara con la comunicazione “La teatralità del centro storico” e l’architetto Giuseppe Romano con una presentazione di “EXPA galleria di architettura”). Relatori norvegesi saranno l’architetto Stein Kolstø che parlerà di ”Oslo: la città sul fiordo” e l’architetto Lars Haukeland che illustrerà i ”Progetti attuali”. La conclusione dei lavori sarà affidata allo scrittore e giornalista Roberto Alajmo, che esporrà la sue riflessioni sull’incontro e il raffronto fra le due città.
Alle ore 16, alla presenza dell’Ambasciatore d’Italia Uberto Pestalozza, il direttore di NorskForm Britt Fougner inaugurerà la mostra “Palermo, la città creativa”, che rimarrà aperta al pubblico fino al 6 di novembre. L’esposizione, introdotta dall’architetto Giuseppe Romano, è costituita da fotografie ed da altri materiali che testimoniano la rigenerazione urbana del centro storico di Palermo, esempio di una crescente sperimentazione di nuove forme di socialità. (Inform)

venerdì, ottobre 07, 2005


Inform, 7 ottobre 2005
BUENOS AIRES - Totalmente informatizzata e catalogata, è stata riaperta la sera del 6 ottobre, all’Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Buenos Aires, la Biblioteca “Benedetto Croce”, dove oltre i 30.000 volumi che risalgono ai primi anni della presenza italiana in Argentina, si trova il cosiddetto “Fondo Fascista”, uno dei più importanti archivi sul regime esistenti fuori d’Italia, composto da materiale di propaganda che la segreteria dei Fasci per gli Italiani all’estero inviava ai paesi di residenza degli emigrati italiani.
Erano presenti alla cerimonia, tra gli altri, la direttrice dell’Istituto Fiorella Arrobbio Piras, con il vice direttore Renato Poma, e il ministro consigliere dell’Ambasciata d’Italia in Argentina Vincenzo Palladino che ha riaperto formalmente la biblioteca.
Così, dopo tre anni e mezzo di lavori di controllo, catalogazione e inventariazione, la Biblioteca Benedetto Croce riprende a lavorare. Personale specializzato è a disposizione di studiosi e persone interessate per ogni necessità.
“Quando sono arrivata a Buenos Aires nel 2002 ho visto libri dappertutto, imballati, buttati per terra, disordinati, ecc. e ho deciso di mettere tutto in ordine e riaprire la biblioteca al pubblico. E ce l’abbiamo fatta”, ha detto Arrobbio Piras.
Alla riapertura c’era Emma Wolf una delle due autrici del libro su Marco Polo che ha vinto quest’anno il premio Alfaguara. “Siamo state molto fortunate perche con i libri di questa biblioteca, ha detto Wolf, siamo riuscite a ricreare il clima della vita quotidiana nella Genova della fine del 1200”.
In chiusura dell’incontro lo storico Fernando Devoto, specialista della storia dell’emigrazione italiana, ha sottolineato l’importanza della biblioteca e dell’archivio il cui studio permetterà ai ricercatori di approfondire la storia del fascismo sia in Italia che all’estero.
“Questa iniziativa che festeggio, ha continuato Devoto, dovrebbe rafforzare la presenza della cultura italiana in Argentina anche oltre alla storia dell’immigrazione. Tutti sappiamo quanto siano stati importanti, per lo sviluppo accademico argentino, professori italiani come Fracesco Capello che hanno creato lo spazio per lo studio in Argentina della storia dell’antica Grecia. E questo è solo un esempio”.
La cerimonia, dopo un cocktail, si è conclusa con la proiezione del film "Il nome della Rosa".
La Biblioteca Benedetto Croce è aperta al pubblico previo appuntamento telefonico. Per ulteriori informazioni (María Josefina Cerutti-L’Eco d’Italia/Inform)

Convegno internazionale su Søren Kierkegaard a Copenaghen

(COPENAGHEN) – ANSA, 7 OTTOBRE – In occasione dell’anniversario della morte di Soren Kirkegaard (1813-1855), si tiene in questi giorni a Copenaghen, all’Istituto Italiano di Cultura, un convegno internazionale con la partecipazione di alcuni fra i piú autorevoli filosofi, teologi e studosi del grande pensatore danese intenti a riflette e a discutere sui temi legati a "L’essere umano come rapporto – L’antopologia filosofica e teologica di Soren Kierkegaard".
Come ha ricordato in apertura l’ambasciatore d’Italia Roberto Di Leo, il convegno nasce da una cooperazione fra l’Italia e la Danimarca che ha dato giá preziosi frutti in passato. Ad esempio un’inizitiva analoga è stata organizzata dal Dipartimento di Filosofia dell’Universitá di Verona nel 2003 e si prevede che nei due paesi ne seguiranno altre in futuro.
I relatori provengono dai centri di studio e di ricerca o dalle universitá danesi e insieme da sei universitá italiane che in questo simposio colgono l’occasione per mettere in rilievo alcune interpretazioni del pensiero kirkegaardiano che hanno un particolare rilievo al giorno d’oggi.
Il dilemma individuale del rapporto con sé, con gli altri e con Dio é al centro dell’antropologia filosofica e teologica di Kirkegaard. Da qui egli parte ad esempio per giungere anche ad un giudizio critico verso lo Stato e la Chiesa capace ancora oggi di suscitare riflessioni legate alle scelte imposte dalla convivenza nella societá moderna. Citando alcune considerazioni fatte da uno degli organizzatori del simposio, il professor Ettore Rocca, “oggi chi vuole comprendere che cos’é il religioso, quale ruolo esso puó avere nella vita dell’individuo e nella societá, fa sempre piú spesso ricorso a Kirkegaard. Per chi non vuole rassegnarsi alla religione e alle religioni usate strumentalmente a fini di violenza e di dominio, Kirkegaard rappresenta un’inesausta fonte d’ispirazione”.
Il convegno che si é aperto oggi proseguirá domani per concludersi nella tarda mattinata di domenica.

sabato, ottobre 01, 2005


MPA (Macedonian Press Agency) News, Thessaloniki, 30 September 2005
A priceless Byzantine icon from the Museum of Sassoferrato, Italy depicting Saint Dimitrios will arrive in Thessaloniki at the initiative of the municipality of Thessaloniki and the Italian Cultural Institute in Thessaloniki to be worshiped by the faithful within the framework of the events celebrating the city's patron saint feast day on October 26 and the October 28 national holiday, when Greece entered WWII after an attack by Italy.

It is an impressive miniature, 9x6 centimeters, depicting Saint Dimitrios standing against a gold background in military garb holding a lance with his right hand and with the left a blue shield decorated with a heraldic white lion against a ground strewn with gold stylized flowers.

The icon, dating back to the 13th century, was brought to Italy by philhellenic humanists and antiquity lovers from Constantinople under unclear circumstances (before the Fall of Constantinople) and this is the second time it leaves Italy after being exhibited in New York's Metropolitan Museum.

Thessaloniki Italian Cultural Institute director Enzio Peraro spoke to ANA-MPA about the historical, cultural and religious importance of the icon. He stressed that its arrival in Thessaloniki is a gesture of friendship and respect toward Greece and the Christian Orthodox Faith and in recognition of the icon's origin.

Cardinal Bessarion appears to have given the icon to his secretary Niccols Perotti (1447). Mr. Peraro stated that it is not simply a work of art but is also an example of cooperation between the Greek and the Catholic humanists. Cardinal Bessarion was the one who allowed the revival and study of ancient texts. He was the father of the propagation of the Greek civilization to the West.

The technique followed shows skill and complexity and it should be noted that the density of tesserae fluctuates from 14 to 16 by 14 to 16 per square centimeter. The materials used are gold, marble and glass and its frame was entirely covered by gilt silver, while the technique followed is faithful to Palaiologan-period models.

Deputy mayor Charis Aidonopoulos responsible for cultural issues, stated that the arrival of the specific icon to Thessaloniki has great meaning for the city celebrating 17 centuries since the martyrdom of its patron saint. The icon of Saint Dimitrios is equally important with the lost icon of the Mother of Christ which the Byzantines used to carry about the walls of Constantinople to boost the morale of its defenders every time the city was under siege by enemy forces.

For the record, Sassoferrato is close to San Lorenzo in Campo from where the holy relics of Saint Dimitrios came to Thessaloniki.

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