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A Discussion with Italian Education Expert on Educational Exchanges During the Pandemic

By Anjali Sharma

Dr. Annavaleria Guazzieri, the Education Attaché of the Consulate General of Italy to New York

PC: Society & Diplomatic Review

Dr. Annavaleria Guazzieri believes that as an education attaché, crossing cultural gaps and overcoming linguistic barriers is key to her position at the Consulate General of Italy to New York. “Bridges are powerful metaphors, just as rivers are”. She focuses on and promotes the Italian language and culture, in their multiple facets, from the times of the Etruscans to contemporary multiethnic Italy, through the Roman Empire, Dante and the Renaissance.

Annavaleria supports the growth of dual language programs in New York City public schools,

which have now increased to three (two in Brooklyn: PS112 and PS132, and one in Manhattan

PS242 on the Upper West Side), fostering connections and partnerships between Italian

schools and (iconic) American schools such as Fiorello La Guardia HS and Tottenville High,

promoting friendship and collaboration between American students and their peers in Italy. She helps schools in the Tristate area where Italian is taught as a world language to access funding opportunities offered by the Consulate General of Italy.

She is also involved in the promotion of teachers' development seminars and teaching certification courses in collaboration with Colleges and Universities. Annavaleria strongly believes that language learning in school is not just an opportunity to improve one’s educational skills; thanks to the study of world languages students can, from a very early age, be exposed to different cultures and traditions, and perhaps even take their first steps towards the rewards and challenges of diplomacy!

Dr. Guazzieri is from Venice and has been posted in New York for three years. She settled in Roosevelt Island, attracted, a Venetian would be, by the water flowing past both sides of the East River banks she can see from her windows as well as the Manhattan East Side.

In these times of COVID-19 she travels to the Consulate daily by bike. A real vintage one made in Italy, of course, named after the Italian champion Fausto Coppi. Traveling to Manhattan, the tour is long, strenuous but with a great deal of ambience and charm. Over a red iron bridge that was prized as the best looking one in 1995 into Queens, across Queensbridge Park, and over the Triboro Bridge into Manhattan. SHe is not alone, she is joined by hundreds of other cyclists and pedestrians.

Annavaleria with her trusted bike

PC: Anjali Sharma

The views all along the way are spectacular and the ride is worthwhile. When the Consulate closes, Annavaleria frequently bikes to Central Park to chill out with friends before the long ride back to her island casa. When Annavaleria has free time, she enjoys spending it on Roosevelt Island's lovely promenades by herself, meeting her New York friends, or escaping to Italian and Austrian Alps with her husband David and their two children, Thomas and Sylvia, doctoral candidates respectively at Chicago (in the US) and Cardiff (in the UK). David is a classical music aficionado and professor of English at Ca' Foscari University in Venice, Italy, and makes very good crispy potatoes.

Annavaleria with Consul General Francesco Genuardi(third from right), President of Manhattan Borough Gale Brewer, CEC3 Multilingual Committee Chairperson Lucas Liu, and representatives of the Italian American community " InItaliano" at the Bilingual Fair 2019, Fordham university, Lincoln center Campus.


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