ISSNAF Awards for Young Investigators - Call for Applications 2018

ISSNAF Board of Trustees encourages all Italian early-stage researchers currently primarily working in the United States or Canada to submit their application and research abstract to compete for one  [ ... ]

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Dal 21 al 23 Giugno i protagonisti della Silver Economyriuniti nel nostro Paese per l’Expo-Meeting Innov-Aging Per tre giorni le Marche saranno la capitale della Silver Age ospitando Istituzi [ ... ]

Programma reclutamento giovani ricercatori "Rita Levi Montalcini"

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Call for Applications 2018- Fondazione Pisana per la Scienza

RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATION The aim of this Call for Applications is to promote innovation in biomedical research by attracting talented researchers to join the Pisa scientific community. http://canad [ ... ]

Medico pratese vince borsa in USA per la ricerca contro il cancro

Luca Pasquini, giovane medico pratese, e' stato premiato dall' ISSNAF con una borsa che gli permetterà di proseguire i suoi studi sulla plasticità neuronale nel cancro cerebrale al Memorial Sloan Ke [ ... ]

Ricercatori: troppi cervelli in fuga, Italia tredicesima nella classifica dei più citati al mondo

La nostra nazione paga il solito prezzo: molti studiosi sono assoldati da atenei stranieri. L'Università di Bologna in testa con cinque citazioni. La rete scientifica di Milano a quota dieci di CORR [ ... ]

MEET THE AUTHORS Erri De Luca & Paolo Sassone-Corsi

The Director of the Italian Cultural Institute
cordially  invites you to
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ISSNAF Board of Trustees: new board members

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Call for Applications for the AICF 2018-19 International Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship Program

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Interview with Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta - An Interview by Alberto Di Mauro
pdfClick here to read his bio35,00 KB

Professor Mazzotta, you have recently received the ISSNAF Lifetime Achievement Award. What does it mean for you this prestigious recognition?

I am elated and truly pleased to have received this year's  ISSNAF prize. It was an unexpected privilege. What makes me especially proud is to have witnessed how intensely  the officers of the Association devote themselves to the continuous development of intercultural perspectives and to the dissemination of innovative models of thinking and learning. Their will to bring to public awareness here in the United States and in Italy (and elsewhere) the need to foster the creativity of men and women as well as the institutions of research and learning (such as the universities) strikes me now as a rare, most welcome beacon of creativity. 

What do you think about the role of ISSNAF in strengthening the relations between the 2 oceans in the scientific world?

This project of making possible the ongoing process of interaction between Italian and American scientists is crucial: it is a bridge between the arts and the sciences, capital and labor, university educational models and social realities  etc. and a bridge is the only way to cross over, allow transactions, promote exchanges etc. But I also believe that the ISSNAF will have to meet other challenges in the days that lie ahead.

It is the challenge of operating in a global context: not just Italy and not just, say, the United States, which, of course, has already widened the horizon of future encounters on many fronts.  In Italy this new challenge will come into being within university structures, and I can't but applaud ISSNAF for the insight it has shown this last event. 

Your talks especially the ones about Dante are always for the students (and not only for them!) a fascinating experience. How do you succeed in making the Dante poetry and philosophy so actual in our contemporary world?

The best way to explain with some clarity my teaching of the Italian classics is by explaining a number of the premises that have sustained my efforts over the nearly fifty years of teaching in American and Canadian universities (Cornell University, the University of Toronto, and Yale University where I have been since 1983, with occasional teaching stints in several universities in Europe, Washington DC etc.)

At stake there is, first of all, the method of my teaching, and the method is not simply a question of techniques. I have thought extensively about themes such as education in classical times (from Plato’s academy to the Neo Platonic academy in Florence), about the shifting configuration of universities in history, about the tradition of encyclopedias so prevalent in literary history. But my premises concern above all my sense of the reality, namely the reality of the intellectual discourse prevalent in this part of the world.

Aware, as my sense of reality shows me, that I teach Italian literature to students who are not all that familiar with Italian history, I seek to address, as methodically as I can, questions of high pertinence to the humanities in general. I demand from the students, first of all, that they read with extraordinary attention the details of texts—words and their etymologies, structures and classical/biblical echoes, metaphors, formal structures and genres of the work under examination. In short, I make use of a critical tradition—the so-called New Criticism-- students used to acquire in high schools.

The second critical premise of my teaching is this: I refuse the fashion—so rampant in American universities till a few years ago—of treating literature, and generally culture (poetry, theater, prose, philosophy, political tracts etc.) as if they were a self-referential, purely formalist construction. In recent years there have been, in fact, several efforts to view literature as an irrelevant game, an expression marginal to the concerns and realities of larger social, moral, and political experiences. By contrast, literature, so would I argue, is entangled with the complexities of the human condition: it speaks to our imagination, and the imagination shapes our sense of the world. All the writers worth their salt, even when they are “comical” and playful—especially when they are comical and playful—are most serious: they question existing values (and may turn this our world upside down), pierce behind the masks and idols of power, awaken our consciousness to and unveil the existence or dream of alternate worlds, and educate us toward the creation of different values and ideals (justice, beauty, virtues, love etc.). In short, they inspire us to move beyond the habits, which are likely to extinguish our desire to develop our minds. They help us let loose the imaginative potentialities of human beings. More generally, I translate this premise to make my students ( in courses on Dante, Vico, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Machiavelli etc.) discuss and reflect on the tangled relationship between, say, Dante’s poetry and his ethics, his politics, his science, his theology, the worlds of knowledge as an “encyclopedia” of the arts and sciences. To say it in one sentence, this sort of teaching does not concern at all the teaching of a skill for some job or other. It needs the spirit of the imagination in order to awaken a love of knowledge and the creativity of the young.

How do you see the difference between the Italian academic world and the American universities, such as Yale University?

This is a difficult question to answer. There are of course great differences between the two traditions, but no doubt because of my Italian origin, I try to mix them. Let me try to answer this question by recounting a recent experience I had at Yale University. A couple of weeks ago I went to hear a lecture on “Campus Speech in Crisis”. I had thought that probably I would hear about the crisis of political speech staged in the ongoing presidential campaign. But I was wrong. The lecture dealt very specifically with Yale University’s crisis, and by extension, with the crisis of American universities. The lecture was given by Jose` A. Cabranes, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. It was a powerful reflection on the crisis of free speech on American campuses. It began with an essential history of the defense of free speech, its roots in “the principles of free thought” and its seeds in the Constitution, as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes had made clear in an opinion of his in 1928. After an analysis of the “Woodward Report” (Yale 1975), Judge Cabranes’ lecture went on to address the primary ancient and modern function of a university and of the Liberal Arts colleges: the dissemination of knowledge by means of research and teaching, and the necessity of unfettered intellectual freedom.

The freedom of research and teaching makes the university a genuine place of knowledge, which in turn provides a forum for the pursuit of the new. But this pursuit has been eclipsed—this was the kernel of Judge Cabranes’s talk—as the university discourse has been falling under the censorship of “politically correct” clichés of bureaucrats, who ends up annihilating the purposes of education and the sense of a responsible general conduct. I am afraid that the same bureaucratic spirit pervades Italian universities. From this standpoint the historical divergences between Italian and American universities appear blurred.

Is the actual spread of the Italian language in the world going to grow in the future? What do you think can be done to encourage it?

As we all have learned from one of the most brilliant philosophical minds of the Renaissance, Lorenzo Valla, the greatness and extension of Latin in Roman times depended on the might of Rome and viceversa. Valla’s sharp insight on the existence of an organic bond between power and the importance of a language and culture was picked up by a Spanish humanist, Antonio de Nebrija, who wrote the Gramatica de la Lengua Castellana, and in 1492 made a gift of it to Queen Isabel: Isabel, no doubt, understood that language is a tool of hegemony, and, in point of fact, it anticipated the construction of the empire Christopher Columbus made available to the Spanish Crown. What can the Italians do with their own language?

It sounds a bit comical to recall what is happening to the Italian language over the last 5 years or so. You only have to read the front page of any newspaper to laugh at the deliberate macaronic style of the language, with words taken from English out of context etc. It is a funnier experience to hear isolated English words pronounced on television: it makes me think of the sort of “broccolino”, as was called, spoken by the Italian immigrants when they first landed in Brooklyn at the beginning of the XXth century. The only way for the Italian language to survive the wounds inflicted by the native barbarians is to strengthen the “empire of culture” Italy has: more attention has to be given to the cultural treasures of Italy (music, cinema, theater, education etc.) It would be good if the ‘Danteum”—the project of a building by Giuseppe Terragni that was never built in Rome and was conceived to stand across from the Church of Santa Francesca Romana, in the proximity of the Forum, and halfway between the Colosseum and the “Wedding Cake” as the American soldiers christened it in 1945—were built in Washington DC. The only detail I can contribute to this great challenge of popularizing the Italian language is to insist that the modern globalism which have been witnessing is not just a question of trade. The New World in which we live can be strengthened by the spiritual energy which emanates from the imagination and power of culture. In Italy this fundamental aspect of culture is not the object of reflection or conviction , though I think there is an isolated figure or two who consistently highlight the point.

You look so linked to your Italian heritage, but you live in the States .What made you decide to move definitely from Italy?

The decision to move to the U.S. was a blessing for me. My father was an immigrant to Canada and fell in love with that country. When he went back to Italy in 1968, I decided to stay in Toronto. And I did so till I went to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. (where I was the first PH.D student in Italian in the history of Cornell and eventually I became an Assistant Professor. At Cornell I discovered the existence of a new world: I came across and befriended English professors (such as the great anthropologist Victor Turner), and the professors of English, Bob Kaske and Meyer Abrams; a French thinker/professor (Rene` Girard); the great German scholar of French (Herbert Dieckmann); an Italian classicist, such as Piero Pucci; Spaniards, and visitors, such as Foucault, Derrida, De Man etc. It was the historical re-enactment of Dante’s Limbo, peopled by speculative, creative minds engaged in philosophical/rhetorical analyses. And I studied under the direction of a brilliant Dante scholar, John Freccero.

But what did it for me was a particular experience. The first day I was on the Cornell campus I followed the crowd and went to hear two lectures: the first was on ”Husserl and the Crisis of European Consciousness” by de Man; and the second was on “Aristotle’s concept of Play in the Politics.” On reflection I probably was carrying within me these passions and new ways of thinking, which was brought to life for me at the University of Toronto by Etienne Gilson (at St. Michael’s College) and Clifford Leech (who taught Jakobean Theater at University College). And some unforgettable conversations I has with Wolfgang Iser (originally from Constance, Germany) about poetry and philosophy played quite a role. This was a place like no other in the world.

Just to finish, let’s we talk for a moment about an actual very debated issue: the Italian phenomenon of brain drain. Do you think that it is a real problem or can be a resource for Italy, creating links and relations?

It seems to me that intellectual emigration of Italian talents (musicians, architects, libretto-writers, painters, actors) has been a steady feature of Italian life from the sixteenth century on . Think of their presence in Peking, London, Paris, St Petersburg, New York City etc. And the phenomenon has continued during the Risorgimento. In fact, the presence and role of Italian intellectuals of the twentieth century in the United States (from Borgese to Fermi) are a strangely well-kept secret. In general, I firmly believe in what I call “the mobility of culture”—the necessity and importance of intellectuals, artists, scientists, theologians, educators etc. to move around and make the world a school for the good

Giuseppe Mazzotta
Sterling Professor of the Humanities for Italian
Yale Universiy

ISSNAF Annual Event
ISSNAF Annual Event
"Science & the New Industrial Revolution: Industry 4.0"

was the focus of 2017 edition of the ISSNAF annual event, which took place on the 7th and 8th of November at the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C.

Exponents from the world of science, business, and federal agencies of the United States exchanged views on the impact that artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, applied to productive processes, are having on science, on the academic world, and on our daily lives.


Young ISSNAFYoung ISSNAF is the “network-inside-the-network” of under-40 ISSNAF affiliates, Italian investigators and scholars of all areas of scientific and academic research.

Click here to read more


Success Stories

Young ISSNAFOur pride is to be able to help young Italian talents follow their dreams and have opportunities.

Here is where they share them.

Click here to read more


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Samanta Cristoforetti in conversation Samanta Cristoforetti in conversation

  The Consulate General of Italy, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies, University of Toronto proudly present Samanta Cristoforetti, Italian astronaut, European Space Agency in conversation with Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar FUTURA Mission - 200 ...

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La Console Natalia Quintavalle consegna l'onorificenza di Grande Ufficiale alla Dott.ssa Silvia Formenti, una luminare nel campo della radioterapia La Console Natalia Quintavalle consegna l'onorificenza di Grande Ufficiale alla Dott.ssa Silvia Formenti, una luminare nel campo della radioterapia

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ISSNAF Medical Imaging Science Chapter 2015 Meeting ISSNAF Medical Imaging Science Chapter 2015 Meeting

Saturday, March 7th, 2015 from 12:00 to 14:00pm Meeting Room: 2.95 The meeting, held in English, is open to Italians, Italian-Americans, and Italian sympathizers For more information email imaging@issnaf.org or call Lorenzo Mannelli at +1 (646) 226 5924

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ISSNAF-Seattle Chapter Winter 2015 Meeting ISSNAF-Seattle Chapter Winter 2015 Meeting

Thursday , January 29th, 2015 early afternoonat the laboratories of Global Good-Intellectual Ventures the ISSNAF-Seattle Chapter Winter 2015 Meeting will take place. The meeting, held in English, is open to Italians, Italian-Americans, and Italian sympathizers For more information email seattle@iss...

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ISSNAF Medical Imaging Science Chapter Meeting ISSNAF Medical Imaging Science Chapter Meeting

Sunday, November 30th, 2014 from 12pm to 1:30pm Meeting Room: E271B The meeting, held in English, is open to Italians, Italian-Americans, and Italian sympathizers For more information email imaging@issnaf.org or call Lorenzo Mannelli at +1 (646) 226 5924

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ISSNAF - Fondazione Marche Internships 2014 ISSNAF - Fondazione Marche Internships 2014

 ISSNAF and Fondazione Marche are honored to announce the winners of the ECapital contest. The competition, aimed to encourage the creation of innovative business ideas, is a unique opportunity to transform creativity into business and is giving away for the winners 5 internship at "Mind the B...

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Meeting with Italy's Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin Meeting with Italy's Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin

  On Saturday, May 31th, 2014, a delegation of Italian researchers participated in a meeting with Italy's Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin, and Sergio Pecorelli, Chancellor at the University of Brescia and President of the Italian Medicines Agency.

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Medical Imaging Science Chapter @ SIRM 2014 Medical Imaging Science Chapter @ SIRM 2014

On Saturday May the 25th, during the biannual meeting of the Societa' Italiana di Radiologia Medica (SIRM), the Medical Imaging Science Chapter of ISSNAF organized a round table to discuss the experiences of Italian radiologists abroad.

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Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti meets ISSNAF Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti meets ISSNAF

  Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti met with ISSNAF President Vito Campese during a meeting with the Italian community hosted by Consul General Giuseppe Perrone on May 20, 2014. Mayor Garcetti was very supportive and showed interested in ISSNAF activities. 

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ITALIAN BEAUTIFUL MINDS an Italian contribution ITALIAN BEAUTIFUL MINDS an Italian contribution

Meeting organized by the Consulate General of Italy, the Italian Cultural Institute, and ISSNAF on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 6:30pm at the IIC, 1023 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90024. RSVP to rsvp.iicla@esteri.it  

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Medical Imaging Science Chapter @ SIRM Medical Imaging Science Chapter @ SIRM

  The ISSNAF Medical Imaging Science Chapter will hold a roundtable during the 2014 Meeting of the Societa’ Italiana di Radiologia Medica (SIRM). The discussion will highlight different research experiences of Italian scientists in North America and promote future collaborations between medic...

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ISSNAF Seattle Chapter Summer Meeting ISSNAF Seattle Chapter Summer Meeting

The 2014 ISSNAF-Seattle Chapter (near) Summer meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 4th in the Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM, 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004) from 5.30pm to 8.00 pm. Guest speakers: Mark Nassutti, novelist, will talk about how his Italian roots made possible to write a no...

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2014 ISSNAF Awards for the Humanities 2014 ISSNAF Awards for the Humanities

ISSNAF and LaFondazioneNY encourage all Italian researchers born after March 30, 1974 and currently primarily working in the United States or Canada to submit their full applications.


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Internship Program ISSNAF-ASI 2014 Internship Program ISSNAF-ASI 2014

Thanks to the generous support of Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) ISSNAF is offering two summer internships in primary North American research facilities.


Read the call - Get Application form - Learn more about ASI.

ISSNAF Seminar @ NY Chapter ISSNAF Seminar @ NY Chapter

The first ISSNAF Seminar of 2014, "Italy 2020: Challenges and Opportunities of Growth", was organized by the New York Chapter on February 28th at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York. Approximately 130 people gathered to listen to our amazing speakers and the event was truly a success.

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ISSNAF Seattle Chapter Spring Meeting ISSNAF Seattle Chapter Spring Meeting

The 2014 Spring meeting will take place on Thursday, April 10th in the Auditorium of the Research and Training Building (300 9th Ave, 98104, Seattle) at Harborview Medical Center. We are pleased to host four outstanding speakers: Erica Tartaglione, Research Specialist at the VA Puget Sound Hospit...

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Issa Wiki

ISSA WIKIItalian Scientists & Scholars in America Online Encyclopedia.

A comprehensive overview on Italian intellectual migration, from its origins in the 16th century until this day.

An encyclopedia studying the influence and contribution of Italians on cultural life in the United States and Canada.