As stated by the Italian Embassy in the United States, “the demand for Italian language and culture courses expressed by American society has steadily grown. This strong interest is shared not only by the large American community of Italian descent, but also by Americans of diverse origin.”
The most successful way to meet the demand of Italian language in the US has been to directly support local school systems and universities. Among the seven major modern languages taught in American universities, Italian has consistently maintained its rank in fourth place after Spanish, French, and German. However, the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages has reported that in American high schools, the number of students studying Italian has increased dramatically in the past five years.
How does the Italian government allocate funds to support and open new courses of Italian language in the U.S. school system? The answer is Ente Gestore, whose simple and clear mission is to promote Italian. The Ente Gestore works with the Scholastic Office at the Italian Consulates and is under the direction and supervision of the four Educational Directors attached to the Italian Consulates throughout the United States.
Filitalia International has been selected this year as Ente Gestore under the jurisdiction of the Italian Consulate in Philadelphia, because it has been acknowledged as a stable and efficient nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of Italian language and culture in the United States.
Filitalia International Ente Gestore started its operations on March 18, 2017 and has aimed its activities in two main directions:
First, FI should identify public and private schools in our Consular jurisdiction to appoint the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ funds, in order to functionally keep and eventually open new classes of Italian language and culture in those schools.
Second, FI will take the place in the existing project of Teaching Assistant of Italian at Meredith Elementary School that started last year and will continue in the future, thanks to the financial support through the Ente Gestore.
Filitalia contacted 10 schools in the Delaware Valley, some of which offered Italian courses, while others did not.
Among these 10 schools, 8 of them have been selected as recipients of a scholarship, thanks to the contribution of “Pasquale Nestico Foundation,” in the amount of $1,000 each. This scholarship aims to stimulate the learning of the Italian language among the most deserving students, and incentivize them to apply for the AP exam for Italian.
After our last meeting with the Director of the Scholastic Office at the Italian Consulate in Boston, Prof. Domenico Teker, Filitalia further selected, among the aforementioned schools, 5 schools to receive additional funds of $ 4,000 each, totally financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contribution for 2017.
Filitalia will continue raising awareness and promoting new Italian classes at schools, in conjunction with its Chapters located in the corresponding counties. We will also initiate strategic promotion of Advancement Placement (AP) Italian courses that will help new students to prepare themselves, apply for the AP exam, and eventually succeed. In the mid-term and long-term future, our school search and selection will be extended outside the Greater Philadelphia area, with the aim of including all 7 States belonging to our Consular jurisdiction: Pennsylvania, South Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.