Center for the Study of Migration and Racism in Italy
Beginnings and Aims
The idea for the Center came out of the Fall 2008 Conference on “Racism in Italy; Past and Present” organized by Isabella Clough Marinaro and James Walston. Many participants suggested that there was a need for both academic research and an institute to monitor the situation. This impression was confirmed in the subsequent conferences so we decided to create an informal arrangement which would act as an umbrella for activities which go from research and university teaching to work in the Roman community to coordination with other interested bodies. Members of the diplomatic community were interested in sharing experiences and from our part, we felt that it could be useful to use other countries’ experiences so that dealing with immigration in Italy would make use of those experiences.
We also felt that as an international institution which already bridges cultures and one of whose primary goals is to do just that, AUR could use its Ghana development projects integrated into its teaching, research and community work in Rome since the final aims were similar.
Today, after almost four years of activity, the Center brings together people from civil society in Rome, local authorities, voluntary associations and NGOs working for integration, cooperation and development.
- To underline AUR’s mission as a center for ethical multiculturalism and to provide a forum in English to present new research and discuss pressing issues with policymakers, academics and commentators.
- To create teaching opportunities for AUR students and other opportunies for working with immigrants in Rome.
- To provide opportunities for AUR faculty and student research and for research from other institutions.
- To enhance AUR’s mission to work within and for the Rome environment. The Center is a way in which AUR contributes to the integration of immigrants in the city.
- To work with Italian and foreign institutions to encourage exchanges of ideas and best practices in dealing with issues of immigration and racism.
Conferences, courses and seminars in AUR
- Nov 2008. First one day conference “Racism in Italy today and in the past”. Seventieth Anniversary of the Racial Laws. The highlight of the conference was the testimony of Pietro Terracina, survivor of the October 1943 roundup of Roman Jews; Mr. Terracina was taken to Auschwitz and came back in 1945.
- April 2009. Second one day conference “Racism in Italy. The role of the media”. One session was broadcast by RAI International. Mass media italiani e razzismo – 3 aprile 2009
- Nov. 2009. Third one day conference “Racism in Italy. The Second Generation”. Published in Bulletin of Italian Politics.
- Nov. 2010 Two day conference: “Rome Today: Changing Faces of the Eternal City”. Papers on immigration and racism in Rome. Proceedings to be published.
- April 2011. Two day conference: “Italy at 150”. Various papers on changing Italian identity.
- October 2011. Two one day seminars on Leadership in the Immigrant Communities of Rome. Organized with Roma Capitale, and Group of Adjunct City Councillors.
- February – May 2012. Agorà perCorso. Seminars on sustainable development and integration, mostly in Italian, for students and workers in the NGO and voluntary sector. The seminars were held in AUR and different Rome City libraries.
- 20 March 2012 Seminar on Multicultural Rome for Post-Graduate Certificate of Education trainee teachers from the University of Exeter, conducted by Bjørn Thomassen and James Walston
- Bulletin of Italian Politics Volume 2, number 1, Summer 2010 Symposium: The Sons and Daughters of Migrants: Italy’s Second Generations articles from the Nov. 2009 conference, edited by Isabella Clough Marinaro and
- James Walston “New Italians” blogs by James Walston.
- 4 Nov. 2011 “New Italians” – Leadership in the Immigrant Communities
- 3 Dec. 2011 “New Italians”. The Good News and the Bad.
- 18 Dec. 2011 “New Italians”, Old Racism and New Violence
- 6 Jan. 2012 “New Italians”. The Paradox of Immigration and Crime in Italy.
- Other non-academic articles
- James Walston Immigration. Helping Immigrants Integrate Wanted in Rome 1 Feb. 2012
- Forthcoming: Global Rome, Changing Faces of the Eternal City articles from the Nov. 2010 Conference, edited Isabella Clough Marinaro and Bjørn Thomassen
- 2011 “Sustaining education – educating for sustainability” Development program in Cape Coast School for the Deaf and the Kokrobitey Institute, Ghana. With support from the Latium Regional government.
- 15 April 2009 Book presentation by Milissa Grant of her At the Elbows of My Elders. One Family’s Journey Toward Civil Rights
- 22 April 2009. Biblioteca Basaglia, XIX Circoscrizione, Via F. Borromeo 67, 00168 Roma. 17.00 – 19.00. Part of the AUR’s activity as a member of the City of Rome’s “Comitato Cittadino per la Cooperazione Decentrata” Educare alla cooperazione interculturale. (Terzo incontro presso le Biblioteche di Roma). “Due esempi della cooperazione culturale: portare studenti in Ghana per imparare. Collaborare alla fattoria di una scuola per sordi”.
- 2 June 2009. Rome City Council Roma Protagonista. Internazionalizzazione e Sviluppo. James Walston represented AUR speaking on “Il modello americano”
- 29 Sept. 2009 screening of “Inside Buffalo” at AUR. Documentary by the Italo-Ghanaian director Fred Kuwornu on the 92nd Division of the US Army. These were the black soldiers who fought on the Gothic Line in Tuscany and who inspired Spike Lee’s film “The Miracle at St. Anna”. The director presented the film.
- 15 Jan. 2010. Screening of “Inside Buffalo” at the W.E.B. Dubois Centre, Accra in collaboration with the Italian and US embassies in Ghana.
- 23 March 2010. The Open Society Institute organized a conference in Rome entitled “Diritti umani in Italia: una Consultazione con la Società Civile”. The Center was represented by James Walston who chaired the session on “Minacce alla libertà di espressione” and by Isabella Clough Marinaro who spoke on roma issues.
- Spring Semester 2011. AUR students take part in volunteer teaching (of Italian) scheme for irregular immigrants at the ex-SNIA works on the via Casilina. Most of the learners had been the victims of the racist attacks on migrant workers in Rosarno in Calabria in January 2010. They were moved to other parts of Italy, some to Rome where AUR students taught Italian.
- 2 March 2011 Seminar for Italian university students “The American Dream, the Italian Dream” organized by the US Embassy, Rome and the Center for American Studies, Rome. James Walston gave one of the two presentations “Light and shade in the American Dream” which dealt with immigration and integration.
- 21 March 2011. Centro Benny Nato, Rome, “ Uniti contro le vecchie e nuove discriminazioni “ James Walston spoke on “Razzismo in Italia”
- 24 March 2011. British Embassy, Rome. One day seminar: “Integrazione: come tradurla in realtà?” chaired by James Walston.
- 27 January 2012. Michael Lapsley, “Young People and the Art of Peace”. Lapsley campaigned against apartheid and was a member of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and founder the Institute for Healing Memories.
- 7 March 2012. Angelina Motshekga, South African Minister of Basic Education “South Africa. Education and Women’s Empowerment”.
- 29 March 2012. Screening of “An African Election” by Jareth Merz presented by the director and discussed with the Ghanaian Ambassador. The film describes the 2008 Ghana Presidential elections which were exceptionally closely fought and were resolved without violence or court action. Part of the “Educating for Sustainability” project with Ghana.
Members of Center
- Isabella Clough Marinaro. Sociologist and political scientist, expert on Italian society, roma issues in Italy and the UK.
- Gabriella D’Amico. Development and international relations. Coordinator AUR education for sustainable development and integration programs.
- Bjørn Thomassen. Chair of the Department of International Relations. Anthropologist and political scientist. Widely published on political theory and identity politics
- James Walston. Political scientist. Expert on Italian society and politics. Coordinator AUR Ghana program.