By Mara Di Fuccia
The Italian Cultural Institutes (IIC) are peripheral bodies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, based abroad, whose goal is to spread the history and culture of our country through events of all kinds. The IICs represent places for encounter and dialogue for intellectuals and artists, Italians living abroad and anyone wishing to cultivate a relationship with our country.
In the world there are 83 Italian Cultural Institutes committed to promoting abroad the image of Italy and its culture, both classic and contemporary. In addition to organizing art, music, cinema, literature, theater, dance, fashion, design, photography and architecture events, the IICs also offer courses in the Italian language and culture, promote Italian scientific culture, manage an efficient network of libraries, establish contacts between Italian and foreign cultural spheres and facilitate an intercultural dialogue founded on democratic principles.
Never as in this turbulent year have the Italian Cultural Institutes abroad tried to make Italian expatriates feel less alone, far from their family and country. The Italian Cultural Institute in New York, for example, launched a digital platform last March that is accessible to all those who want to immerse themselves in the treasures of Italy even thousands of kilometers away: ten spaces full of multimedia content, high resolution images, transformed into maps of textual and audiovisual contents, and music extracted from songs belonging to every genre and every musical era.
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Italian Republic Day, Italian Cultural Institutes from various countries have organized concerts, conferences and exhibitions to be closer to Italy on this important day. In Madrid, the IIC opened its doors for a guided tour – accompanied by concert screenings and short theatrical readings in Italian; in Chile the “Marathon of Italy-Chile friendship” initiative was organized – with a concert and a tribute to the great poet Dante Alighieri; while the Italian Institute of St. Petersburg chose to dedicate this important day to women, proposing a round table on “The women who built the Republic” – with the participation of Italian journalists, writers, historians and actresses.
In 2019, the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi was inaugurated to relaunch cooperation between Italy and the United Arab Emirates, where our country is perceived as synonymous with aesthetic sensitivity and good taste, but nevertheless the beauty behind the Italian literary tradition is still unknown. In fact, one of the Institute’s projects is to highlight Italian literary and artistic production by focusing attention on some cities in particular, through training courses and workshops, in collaboration with local institutions.