The Italian Language Inter-Cultural Alliance (ILICA) is a not for profit foundation dedicated to the promotion of the Italian language as an instrument of understanding and study of a culture in continuous evolution, directed at not only Americans of Italian origin, but all those who share an interest in learning the Italian language as a key to understanding Italian culture. Through a decade-long history of involvement, ILICA has shown its commitment to this mission under the leadership of its founder and president Vincenzo Marra.
Together with Mr. Marra, the mission of ILICA was advanced by a small group of Italian business people who believe that the Italian language, along with literature and art, are fundamental factors in the creation of productive citizens of tomorrow. Through the use of the Italian language and the knowledge of its versatile applications, ILICA has promoted events in the fields of art, medicine, science, and tourism. Several major conferences in the United States and in Italy taking on critical themes such as Italian identity in the 3rd millennium have brought together journalists, scholars, business people and those seeking to learn more about such issues.
Now ILICA is preparing for the next decade by creating a partnership between the United States and Italy with a new structure where Vincenzo Marra will serve as its Chairman, Stefano Zappala as the president of ILICA/Italy and I will assume the role of president for ILICA/USA.
It is the aim that ILICA/USA will become the leading partnership for individuals and Italian/Italian American organizations in the United States who want to embrace Italian as an international language and Italy as a global culture. Those who join our lists and come to our events will feel a sense that they are among those who support their ideals and that our activities deepen their sense of belonging. The need is to create a modern Italian/Italian American community across the globe whose programs emanate from America and reflect an American perspective.
In a changing global community, understanding the contributions of Italianità is critical to understanding the growth and development of all cultures. There is a need to fully comprehend the influence of Italy, not just in the past and in the present, but to explore how this influence will be critical into the future. This is why knowing where Italy is going is essential for Americans as well as Italians and others.
ILICA brings together a broad cross-section that is inclusive of novices and experts across the worlds of business, academe and others. There is openness of spirit and of participation. This permits interchange among an internationalized community that includes the arts, humanities, medicine, science, finance, economics and business. The latter will be the catalyst for informal conversations, art/sculpture exhibitions, poetry readings, and conferences focusing on multiple themes across these areas.
There is a need for sponsoring conversations and events that bring Italian language and culture to a wider audience and to a younger audience who will become the future leaders of ILICA. There is also a need for joining with other groups that share ILICA’s sensibilities to create conversations and events; thereby, bringing the members of those groups into participation with ILICA.
This will involve seeking collaborations from cultural organizations sympathetic to ILICA’s mission, corporate sponsors who want their products highlighted and creating sponsored scholarships for students interested in ILICA’s goals, and support educational programs at all levels that foster interest in Italian language, history culture as well as interest in the coming together of Italian language, history and culture with other cultures.
The annual conferences will continue and ILICA has begun to broaden its reach by holding its first in a series of called, “Italian & Italian American Conversations.” These formal events look at a subject pertinent to Americans interested in how Italian language and culture influence our shared experience. We are looking forward to informal get-togethers that will keep the conversations going between events and reinforce a camaraderie among those who participate in ILICA. Soon the launch of the ILICA web platform will permit lively interchange related to ILICA’s mission and events as well as create a social media outlet to keep members connected and to introduce ILICA to wider audience.
I am looking forward to the next decade of ILICA and invite those who share the concerns expressed here to join us.
*Dr. Donna M. Chirico
ILICA/USA Board of Directors, President;
Professor of Psychology, Interim Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, York College, CUNY
Italian American Faculty and Staff Advisory Council of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Chair. DChirico@York.CUNY.edu