2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the United States, launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and held under the auspices of the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, will boast nearly 200 cultural events in more than 40 U.S. cities. Over 70 U.S. institutions and organizations are actively involved with a genuine spirit of partnership and cooperation. The American public, from “coast to coast,” will now be able to take breaths of Italy from their own homes, and come into contact with the most fascinating and dynamic features of our country, from impressive works of art to scientific discoveries, from the excellences of the Made in Italy brand to the wonders of our land. The emphasis is on the future. We aim to offer the image of an Italy that draws vital force from its unique and unparalleled past in order to continue in its starring role as a country of new and inspiring ideas, focusing on research, discovery and innovation. No area of achievement will go unexplored. Americans will discover new facets of Italy in Science and Technology, Art, Music and Theatre, Cinema and Photography, Promotion of Italian Language and Literature, Italian Brand and Design, Tastes and Flavors of Italy, Italian Territories, and Next Generations. The latter are, in fact, the focus in our decision to organize 2013; our initiative invites and rewards their participation with prizes, scholarships, and interuniversity projects. The calendar is rich with events, beginning with the official inauguration that took place on December 12 with the exhibition of Michelangelo’s celebrated “David-Apollo” at the prestigious National Gallery of Art in Washington. Numerous other masterpieces will be brought to U.S. cities, including the “Dying Gaul”, Leonardo’s “Codex of Flight” and several works by Caravaggio, Chia, Morandi and De Chirico. Science and technology will also play a central role, with exhibits that celebrate Galileo and fifty years of cooperation in space between Italy and the United States and special events dedicated to Italian Nobels and Italian excellences in design from Giò Ponti to the Barrique project, which transforms disassembled barrel staves into works of art. In the field of music, 2013 will also celebrate the Bicentennial of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth. Great artists, such as Maestro Riccardo Muti and Maestro Maurizio Pollini, will perform in some of America’s premier theatres and concert halls. Some of Italy’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala, will do the same. A score by Academy-Award winner Nicola Piovani is the musical theme for the Year. And in Los Angeles, a concert by the Orchestra Italiana del Cinema will pay homage to great Italian Oscar winning films. Italian cinema and photography will be featured in many shows and festivals planned in other American cities: starting with a tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini, which opened last December 13 in New York. The theater season will include a number of initiatives such as De Filippo’s “The Voices Inside”, staged by the Piccolo Teatro of Milan, and “Pinocchio” by Massimiliano Finazzer Flory, which has already begun its tour in several U.S. cities. Placards on buses across the nation’s capital provide cultural engagement for their riders in verses from Italy’s most celebrated poems. All over the country, there will be events dedicated to some of Italy’s greatest authors, from Machiavelli to Calvino, from Boccaccio to Leopardi and Levi. A special focus is placed on the fusion of culture and the Made in Italy brand as a resource that is the driving force of Italy’s economic structure: we want to continue the positive trends between Italy and the USA in trade: + 9.35% in exports in the first nine months of 2012, bringing Italy to twelfth place among suppliers, up from fifteenth place in 2011. When the curtains will close on exhibitions, conferences, concerts, seminars, performances, workshops, screenings, awards and celebrations, the Year’s success will be measured by the number of partnerships and long-lasting relationships that will have been established or consolidated between institutions, universities, research centers, museums, schools, theaters, and the production sectors of both countries. My impression is that we are already experiencing a crescendo, thanks to a synergistic approach, which is helping us mobilize resources, build projects, and produce a greater and more continuous cultural and mediatic impact. It is a moment of pride for us, in a period when public funding is not easy, that the year has been made possible thanks to private sponsorships. The involvement of Italian companies directly recalls the great tradition of Renaissance patronage. Today, as in the past, their contribution is a sign of quality, vitality, and sustainability of our cultural policies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is strongly committed to developing this model to project the image of a more dynamic and fascinating Italy in the world. The Italian-American community represents a powerful tool – with more than 17 million Americans who are proud to come from the “Bel Paese”. The extraordinary cooperation that has been established with our American friends represents the premise so that 2013 will further strengthen the bilateral relations between Italy and the United States. An objective also shared by President Barack Obama in the most recent Columbus Day Proclamation. The Year belongs to all those who want to be part of it, not only by participating in the scheduled events, but also by suggesting concrete ideas and initiatives that will engage them in the developing friendship between Italy and the United States – a friendship which, in the context of a unique and ancient social bond, is founded on the growing mutual understanding between our respective cultures. This is why I think it best to conclude by providing some important information on the journey to discover Italy: the website www.italyinus2013.org, Twitter hashtag #2013ItalianYear, through which everyone is invited to share ideas, thoughts, and information, and the social media platform of the Embassy of Italy in Washington, www.twiplomacy.it/USA, where you can stay up-to-date on preparations and events in the pipeline. Happy 2013 to one and all!
Claudio Bisogniero was born in Rome, on July 2 1954. After graduating with a Degree in Political Science from the University of Rome (1976) with a dissertation in International Economics, he completed his military service as an Officer in the Italian Army in 1976-77. He entered the Italian Foreign Service in May 1978. In September of 1981, he was posted to the Embassy of Italy in Beijing as First Secretary for Economic and Commercial Affairs with responsibility also for bilateral and multilateral development co-operation programs with China. From 1984 to 1989, he served at the Permanent Mission of Italy to NATO in Brussels, as Counselor with primary focus on disarmament and international security issues. He also served as a Delegate to the Senior Political Committee. In 1989, he returned to Rome and was assigned to the Office of the Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Republic, Francesco Cossiga, where he remained until April 1992. In this task, he covered a wide range of international issues, both bilateral and multilateral, relevant to all aspects of the international activity of the Italian President. From 1992 to 1996, he served at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. as First Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs, with special focus also on financial issues, relations with the IMF and World Bank, think tanks, and defense-industry co-operation. In 1996, he was assigned to the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations in New York, with primary responsibility for political affairs and UN reform. During this period he served as a member of the Italian delegation in the UN Security Council in 1996 and as a member of the Italian delegations to the 50th, 51st, 52nd and 53rd UN General Assemblies. In 1999, he returned to the home office, serving first with the Division of Personnel and later with the Office of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as direct collaborator to the Secretary General. In February 2002, he was appointed Deputy Director General for Political Multilateral Affairs – Deputy Political Director – responsible for NATO, United Nations, G8, disarmament, OSCE, anti-terrorism, and human rights. In June 2005 he was named Director General for the Americas, with responsibility for the relations of Italy with the United States and Canada, as well as with all the countries of Latin America. In October 2007, he took up his duties as NATO Deputy Secretary General, responsible for a variety of security and strategic issues on the Alliance’s agenda; he also followed the NATO Summits in Bucharest, Strasbourg/Kiel and Lisbon, and worked actively in the preparatory phase for the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago. Named Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Ambassador Bisogniero presented his credentials to President Obama on January 18, 2012.