Don’t Miss ‘Empowering Women in STEM’!

April 24th, 6:00 p.m. at Villa Sassetti, Via Bolognese, 120, 50139 Firenze

Abstract: The dialogue “Empowering Women in STEM” is a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and locally engaged initiative, designed to promote diversity and female presence in the STEM fields in Italy and Europe. The movement to increase female presence in the STEM fields has grown over the past several decades. However, the issue still remains and is underestimated. The stereotypes in today’s society make it hard for minorities to prove their qualification for jobs, having to agree to lower pay and even face sexual harassment at the workplace. Breaking stereotypes and holding truthful conversations is crucial in the process of raising awareness in society. The goal of “Empowering women in STEM” Dialogue in Florence is to step away from stereotypical images of the scientist, initiate a diverse and inclusive discussion, and share ways of getting involved in the movement. Respect and inclusion are the keys to fighting the problem of female underrepresentation in STEM.



18:05 – 18:10 – Alice and Yana open the event

18:10 – 18:30 – Caroline Dahl – An overview on the issue

18:30 – 19:15 – Curated panel discussion

19:15 – 19:45 – Q&A panel discussion

19:45 – 20:00 – Concluding remarks



Caroline Dahl – ​Clinical Innovation Fellow, PhD, CTO, Ortrud


Caroline Dahl is CTO and co-founder at Ortrud Medical, a Swedish company that makes an intelligent tourniquet for intravenous access. In her work she applies engineering principles to biology. Her background is in synthetic biology as part of the University of Edinburgh iGEM team at MIT, systems biology and biophysics at the University of Oxford, and executable biology as software engineer at Microsoft Research. Today she is a Clinical Innovation Fellow at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and assists technological innovation based on her background in wet, soft and hardware. To promote and create environments that support work and knowledge exchange, she is on the board of Stockholm Makerspace, co-organises the Sthlm Hardware meetup, and founded the Geek Girl Startup group for Swedish women tech entrepreneurs. She mentors Uppsala and Stockholm medtech teams, and teaches electrical power generation to ten-year-olds. In addition, she is an active member of Tekla, MakerTjej and MakerSheroes networks – great initiatives that show female tech presence and leadership by teaching.

Patrizia Guaitani– Executive Infrastructure Architect and Manager of Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure, IBM Systems and Technology Group IBM Italy Women In Technology


​Guaitani ​leads a team of technical experts in traditional storage and next generation data center environments with her work on IBM’s software defined environment strategy. She is the leader of skill development for IBM’s Systems Team in support of new strategic initiatives, such as the use of Cognitive Computing, Hybrid Cloud, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence. During the last eighteen years at IBM, Patrizia has held other technical roles in leading the design and implementation of IBM’s innovative technical solutions for banking and insurance. Prior to working for IBM, Guaitani spent fourteen years with ST Microelectronics. This year, Patrizia was nominated by IBM General Motors as a Women In Technology Leader.

Svetlana Videnova Product Definition Analyst, Amadeus

Bulgaria / France / UK
​Born in Bulgaria and raised in France since the age of 13, Svetlana Videnova speaks both languages, and English, fluently. She completed a degree in Computer Science in Toulouse at European Institute of Technology, followed by a year at California State University of San Marcos to study Intercultural Communication in order to expand her academic knowledge beyond programming languages. Whilst studying, Svetlana undertook numerous work internships to gain practical experience as both a developer and a Project Manager. At the end of her studies, Svetlana accepted a role as Technical Account Manager at the French Fintech start-up Mangopay, a role which brought her to London to help with the expansion of the company. With her international background and passion for discovering diverse cultures and mindsets, she moved into the technically complex travel industry as Product Definition Analyst at Amadeus, a major European IT Provider for the global travel and tourism industry.

We The Students

«Istruitevi, perché avremo bisogno di tutta la nostra intelligenza. Agitatevi, perché avremo bisogno di tutto il nostro entusiasmo. Organizzatevi, perché avremo bisogno di tutta la nostra forza.»

“Instruct yourselves, because we will need all our intelligence. Stir yourselves up, because we will need all our enthusiasm. Organize yourselves, because we will need all our strength.”

(Antonio Gramsci, the first issue of L’Ordine Nuovo, May 1 1919)

On the evening of Wednesday, April 13th, over thirty NYU Florence students gathered around a banquet table in Villa Sassetti to participate in a discussion around the mobilization of identity and revolutionary activism. Among the students sat two great political activists and scholars: Angela Davis and Gina Dent.  “We the Students” created by Wendy Koranteng was the first student-organized La Pietra Dialogue of the semester.

Read more

Artist Patricia Cronin at Villa La Pietra

Born in 1963 in Beverly, Massachusetts, Patricia Cronin was educated in several art schools, including Brooklyn College of The City University of New York for her M.F.A and Rhode Island College for her B.F.A. From solo exhibitions in various countries (including The Lab Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy), to publications such as The Zenobia Scandal: A Meditation on Male Jealousy (2013), her work is internationally renowned and is becoming increasingly popular. She has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the New York Foundation for the Arts (Deutsche Bank Fellow) Artist Fellowship in 2007, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Rome Prize in Visual Art between 2006-2007. Read more

Days 47-54 of the Trump Administration

This week in Trump’s presidency brings up a stock of new issues with WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of documents detailing the C.I.A.’s hacking operations and techniques. According to The New York Times,There is no evidence that the C.I.A. hacking tools have been used against Americans,” but WikiLeaks affirm that both Apple and Android smartphones have been compromised. According to WikiLeaks, their source’s agenda was to begin a public debate on “whether [or not] the C.I.A.’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers,” but an argument has been made that the source was instead an outside power that took the documents and gave them to WikiLeaks in order to either weaken national security or to release the code to foreign hackers. The F.B.I. and C.I.A. have opened up a criminal investigation into the leak’s origins, and some officials told CNNthat the documents published so far are largely genuine.”

In other news, President Trump has continued to accuse former President Barack Obama of wiretapping phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. After tweeting Saturday “How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” Trump asked for an investigation into his allegations as he continued to tweet inflammatory accusations about the Obama administration, about which Mr. Obama has remained quiet. A presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley, told The Wall Street Journal that the fact that “a sitting president would charge his predecessor with a felony…creates a feeling of instability in the United States.” Since then, the Department of Justice has not submitted any hard evidence to President Trump’s claim for the House Intelligence Committee to review. Rather, they have requested and received an extension for the deadline on a date before the hearing on Russian involvement in the U.S. election on March 20th. Sunday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain told CNN that “The president has one of two choices, either retract or provide the information that the American people deserve…I have no reason to believe that the charge is true, but I also believe that the president of the United States could clear this up in a minute,” and that following Monday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to clarify that President Trump was neither being literal or specific in his accusations. Read more

Middle East Now: Initial Reactions

A crowd of people were already overflowing onto Via Camillo Cavour from the packed Cinema La Compagnia when I arrived. It was strange to see the area so lively, especially on a Tuesday night. April 4th was the opening of this year’s Middle East Now film festival in Florence. Marked by a musical performance by Bachar Mar-Khalife and a screening of Last Men in Aleppo by Firas Fayyad (the winner the Sundance film festival), the festival had drawn in Florence and all of the seats in the cinema were filled from 9pm to midnight. I could go on for hours about the rollercoaster of emotions Last Men in Aleppo put me through, but I think it is better for everyone to watch it for themselves. Read more

CHNDY: The Middle East, As Shown By A Middle Eastern Artist

On April 3, La Pietra Dialogues invited Mohamed Al Kindi, known professionally as Chndy, to host a students-only discussion on the filmmaker, photographer, and visual artist’s past and current projects.  Students gathered in Villa Sassetti to listen to Chndy’s insights on art, creativity, and identity. In addition, videos and photography were viewed and reflected upon during the question and answer portion.

Read below for photographs taken from the artist’s website, along with more information about the dialogue.
Read more

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” — Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison. Photo Credits: Athena LeTrelle

In April of 1952, Ralph Ellison, an African American writer, highlighted numerous social and intellectual issues regarding black identities, black nationalism and racial policies that have been existing in the American society with the publishing of his iconic book Invisible Man. In April 2017, 65 years later, we are going to reflect on these issues again by re evaluating the book onto the unsolved problems proposed there. Read more