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The Center for Italian Studies was founded in 1985 by Stony Brook University Distinguished Service Professor Dr. Mario B. Mignone.

Dr. Mignone founded the Center in order to provide cultural enrichment that reflected the cultural heritage of the Italian and Italian American community on Long Island. For the last half century, the Center for Italian Studies at Stony Brook University has built a strong cultural bridge between the University and the community at large.

Through its active calendar of events and activities, the Center strives to be a gathering place for people with a variety of interests to meet and discuss new ideas and to share ongoing interests in Italian and Italian American Studies.

Existing Support of the Center

The Center supports its events through the generosity of the community and caring individuals. Through their generous interest and support, the Center has accomplished much and in some cases, has made history on Campus and in the community. 

The following are provided by external support from the community:

  1. Alfonse M. D’Amato Endowed Chair in Italian American and Italian Studies, positioned in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of European Languages, Literatures and Cultures. The D’Amato Chair, established in 2008, was made possible by a fundraising effort, led by then Stony Brook University Council Chair and current Stony Brook Foundation Board member Richard Nasti, along with the late Distinguished Professor Mario Mignone. and campaign assistance by Unico National/Brookhaven chapter.The Chair is the first endowed chair in the College of Arts and Sciences.  
  2. The Roberto and Palmina Mignone Fellowship in Italian and Italian American Studies; 
  3. Josephine Fusco Endowment Fellowship Awards in Italian and Italian American Studies,
  4. The Cavaliere Rick Nasti Lecture Series in Italian and Italian American Studies;
  5. The Dr. Joseph Tromba Lecture Series in Italian and Italian American Studies;
  6. The  Unico - Roy Dragotta Lecture Series;  
  7. Dr. Vito and Carolyn De Simone Endowment for a Visiting Lecturship in Italian and Italian American Studies;
  8. The Francesco P. and Dina D'Alto Malgeri Endowment in Italian Culture;
  9. The John F. Lauro Fund to stimulate interdisciplinary research on issues that encourage a better understanding of Italy and Italian Americans;
  10.  The Dr. Michael De Luca Award for Achivement and Excellence in Italian Studies.

Activities of the Center 

By striking the difficult balance in promoting and responding to the scholarly, intellectual and instructional needs of the University and by satisfying the cultural interests of the community.

Reviewing the history of the activities of the Center, it becomes evident that lectures, symposia, and international conferences are prevalent in each annual calendar of activities:

    1. The presentation of recently published books takes place with great frequency. New books bring to the public forum new knowledge and are the medium for disseminating fresh ideas. Such presentations not only offer authors the opportunity to reveal the fruits of many years of hard work and to share the excitement of their scholarly findings, they also provide the audience with the opportunity to interact with the writers and enter directly into the process of molding new ideas.
    3. Lectures by a variety of speakers (scholars, creative writers, journalists, representatives of different branch of government and judicial system, etc.) enrich our public forum with and create discussions on issues of great relevancy to a wider constituency.  
    5. Symposia and international conferences on a great variety of topics have become a trademark of the Center. From literature, to art, to music, to science, to international affairs, speakers from many parts of the world have come to Stony Brook to address issues of specific or broad nature.  Since 1985 the Center has organized over fifty conferences and has brought to Campus a long list of great personalities (Italian Minister of Justice Clemente Mastella, Italian Ambassador to the UN Francesco Paolo Fulci, Italian writer and intellectual Umberto Eco, President of the Council of Europe Giovanni Di Stasi, President of Italian Senate Paolo Grasso, New York  State Chief Administrative Judge Gail Prudenti, and many more).  The Idea of the Mediterranean: An International Conference to Explore What the Mediterranean Region Represented in the Age of Progress and What it May Represent in the Era of Geopolitical Realliances and Globalization brought  to Campus for three days twenty four leading experts on the Mediterranean from five different countries and four Ambassadors to the UN from four Mediterranean countries and had as
    6. the  keynote speaker Amara Lakhous, the very well known Algerian Italian writer.

Scholarly publications are also of great importance to the Center:

      1. While at Stony Brook under the Editorship of Professor Mignone,  Forum Italicum has become one of the leading journals of Italian Studies in the world. In 2012 SAGE Publications became publisher and distributor and in 2013 ANVUR (Agenzia Nazionale per la Valutazione dell’Universita’ e della Ricerca) placed the Journal in “Class A”, the top rank for its quality of research. The middle issue of every year deals with specific topics/themes (Music and Italian Society, Economy and Literature, Italian Dialects, etc.) and has had special guests editors from different parts of the world.
      2. In 1987  Forum Italicum launched Filibrary, a book series. To date 42 volumes have been published dealing with a variety of topics: social issues, historical events, literary themes, specific writers and poets.  Some volumes are the proceedings of conferences held at Stony Brook or at other universities. 

The outreach program for community cultural enrichment is not less important:

    1. The Annual Concorso di Eleganza: A Celebration of Italian Vehicle Excellence and Beauty attracts students and members of our community.  It is a show only for Italian vehicles (FERRARI, LAMBORGHINI, MASERATI, ALFA ROMEO, LANCIA, FIAT AMONG OTHERS). It is a display of “art forms on wheels” to illustrate another form of Italian culture.
    2. The Annual New Italian Cinema Festival, in its  tenth year, presents between 6-8 movies  to the community. Scheduled on a weekend in fall, it attracts a large audience (being free of charge like every other events, it helps).
    3. Italian Language Classes for the community is another big draw. With a substantial donation from a member of the local community, the Center  has been able to include Italian classes for children.
    5. Exhibits and talks on Italian regions and cities always attract large audiences. The biggest event of this kind has been “Sicilian Crossings”, an arrangement of 120 panels, organized in historic sequence, that portrayed the history of Sicilian emigration. It was first opened at Ellis Island with the participation of President Shirley Strum Kenny, State Senator Kenneth LaValle, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the President of  Regione Sicilia, and the Director of the Center for Italian Studies. When the exhibit was brought to Stony Brook, it became one of the most popular cultural events in the history of the Campus. 
    7. Outreach to the Local School Districts through assistance provided the American Association of Teacher of Italian (AATI), Long Island Chapter with its Annual Poetry Contest for Secondary School Students.  In   addition, the Center sponsors an Annual Essay Contest for Secondary School Students on Italian and Italian American Themes and Topics.