The Consulate General of Italy in San Francisco together with the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco and with the collaboration of a network of associations in the area considered the theme of sustainability from a narrative point of view, delving into the figure of Italo Calvino, as his work fits perfectly into this framework. The activities, all of which took place in-person, began on September 28th with a lectio magistralis by Prof. Andrea Dini, professor of Italian at Montclair State University, entitled “… As I Bend to Peer into the Envelope of Myserlf” Italo Calvino’s (American) Identity. The event was held in collaboration with The Leonardo da Vinci Society.
On October 19th, Lowell High School students (Italian 3-4 and AP), after reading togheter passages from the book The Invisible Cities, engaged in a reflection on the relationships between the cities recounted by Marco Polo in the book and the one in which they live, especially with reference to environmental issues. Calvino’s book inspired the creation of illustrations on which the students also wrote words or sentences of the original text. Each group exhibited and explained their work to the other classes and parents, and a short video of this educational experience will be produced in the coming days.
On October 20th, the 3rd graders of “La Scuola International School” presented a bilingual animated biography of Italo Calvino to all students, faculty and parents of the Institute, accompanying it with a timeline with images to define the main stages of the author’s life. The children’s work started by reading Calvino’s fairy tales which led to the identification of the writer as a model by virtue of his literary and social engagement and of his vision of the mankind-nature relationship. The impetus generated by the Italian Language Week in the World began an important educational journey that will continue with the reading of Marcovaldo and the start of a creative writing workshop that, with the collaboration of other classes will lead to the drafting of a journal.
The 7th and 8th grade students started by discussing what the adjective sustainable could mean in relation to language and came up with proposals such as: “A sustainable language is a language spoken by many people. A language that makes sense to everyone and can be learned easily. A sustainable language has a historical origin…”. Based on the discussion carried out and with the goal of analyzing Italo Calvino’s writing, students, in pairs, rewrote one of the stories from The Invisible Cities in a more sustainable language. Each group interpreted the description of the city of Bauci in a unique and special way, drawing on Italian language that was accessible to all, and then read their texts to small groups of pupils from Kindergarten up to 6th grade. At the end of the sustainable reading, one student read Italo Calvino’s text in the original to all present.
Finally, on the evening of October 20th, at the Consulate General of Italy in San Francisco, the event The Constitution of Italy took place. A Roundtable Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Italian Constitution, was organized with the Italian American Bar Association (IABA).Among the speakers were Consul General Sergio Strozzi, John Yoo, Emanuel S. Heller Chair in Law, Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California at Berkley, Alida Montaldi, President of the Tribunale per i Minorenni di Roma. The panel discussion highlighted the fundamental elements of our Constitution also in relation to the United States Declaration of Independence. A discussion ensued on the relevance and sustainability of the fundamental State Law in Italy and the United States.