Dear friends of ISSNAF: As the year is drawing to a close, we can celebrate the continued strength and growth of our Foundation, which has reached its fifteenth anniversary. ISSNAF's mission is to “connect, empower and celebrate” the Italian R&D diaspora and to facilitate cooperation between Italy and North America (NA). ISSNAF counts more than 3300 members, professionals working in NA across all disciplines of scholarship and innovation; an organization of volunteers that can interface with other organizations and institutions, and thus be more effective and impactful at leveraging our resources for the good of people on both sides of the Atlantic. This is what we call ‘connecting and empowering the Italian diaspora’. One important ISSNAF goal is for our collective expertise to be leveraged by Italian universities, companies, foundations, and other entities engaged in internationalization, since our members provide access to innovative thinking that can support the development of Italian ecosystems of universities, incubators and entrepreneurs. This year we started implementation of agreements with the University of Pisa and Politecnico di Torino to host a number of their master and PhD students at prestigious American universities for extended experiences in research/study projects. Kudos to our Scientific Council and Internationalization Committee for making this happen, as well as to members who have graciously agreed to host students at their institutions. We stand ready to take a more integrated and systematic role that will involve many more ISSNAF members as hosts and more Italian partners. We continue to recognize successful early-career Italian researchers in North America through our Young Investigator Awards, of which we now have six categories. We are very grateful to our sponsors for choosing ISSNAF to fund these awards, which provide encouragement and acknowledgement to new generations of researchers. The Young ISSNAF Mentoring program continues to provide support to our early-career members as well as to students in Italy interested in exploring North American opportunities as they plan their education and career steps. The ISSNAF mentors and the Young ISSNAF Committee are really making a difference for some young scholars! I am particularly happy to report that our network of ISSNAF Chapters has been growing and now includes nine chapters stretching from California to Florida, through Texas, and from Washington State to NY through DC! They are an expression of the richness of our community and represent the training grounds for the future leadership of ISSNAF. We look forward to the success of the ISSNAF Chapters as we all return to organizing in person events. Congratulations to the Chapter Executive Committees and the volunteers who support our programs locally and are active ambassadors of ISSNAF with organizations in their territories. Recognizing the importance of communicating our mission and efforts, we have increased our social media presence thanks to the efforts of our Communications volunteers. Make sure to follow us on linkedin/issnaf, twitter/issnaf, youtube/issnaf, and issnaf.org.
Like many non-profit organizations, ISSNAF relies on the support of members and friends to meet its expenses. There is no membership fee to join ISSNAF and sponsorships only partially cover the programs costs. Donations are absolutely needed to cover the costs associated with the necessary infrastructure and the administrative help. I appeal to all of our members and friends to make your tax deductible contribution today and help keep ISSNAF vibrant and sustain its programs. No amount is too small. Hurry up and double your impact! Donations received by December 31st will be matched by a generous sponsor up to $10,000. On behalf of our Foundation, I wish all of you a happy holiday season and a rewarding new year.
Cinzia Zuffada, ISSNAF President