Migration and Integration: Italy in 2016


In 2015 about 154,000 migrants from Northern Africa had arrived to Italy after the EU-Turkey deal. Under this agreement migrants who arrive in Greece after 20 March, 2016, will be sent back to Turkey if they do not apply for asylum or their application is rejected. Both Turkey and the EU would benefit from this exchange. Turkey will work towards fulfilling the human rights requirements needed to enter the EU. In addition to this, Greece’s current financial crisis will be eased due to Turkey’s cooperation in taking back migrants who put a strain on Greek infrastructure. An October 2016 article from the Independent states that the number of migrants may have gone up due to “the EU stepping up its naval Sophia mission in the Mediterranean to go after arms traffickers and train the Libyan coast guard.” Smugglers place migrant families on unreliable and dangerous boats, so EU officials feel that they have the obligation to rescue these people and bring them to Italy. However, EU guidelines do not permit these migrants to be eligible for asylum, so as a result they will be deported. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that Nigerian migrants make up approximately a fifth of the arrivals in Italy, Eritrean migrants are at 13 percent, and finally they are followed by Sudan, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Somalia, Mali, Senegal and Bangladesh.

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Black Femininity Series: The Millennial Meets the Movement


Truthfully, I have a very boring bucket list. Actually, I have a non-existent bucket list. There are only a few things that I want to accomplish before my death, and since these things are so few I never felt the need to list them. These wishes are more like pipe dreams – things I passionately want but would never expect to actually happen…until one actually did.

I have always been fascinated with African-American history in the US. My lullabies were negro spirituals. My cartoons were 90s sitcoms with all Black casts. My bedtime stories were newspaper articles about the Civil Rights Movement. I had the urge to march before I could walk. So when the opportunity arrived to meet Angela Davis, I stopped rushing to my Italian class and decided that I would be a little late.

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Navigating Unity in Diversity: Black Femininity Series

The Black Femininity Series Panelists
The Black Femininity Series Panelists with student organizers and NYU Florence Director Ellyn Toscano

A day before the iconic Angela Davis and feminist thinker Gina Dent spoke to the New York University Florence community about systemic racism within American institutions, two NYU Florence students organized a series of panels to discuss how race and gender impact the representations and interactions of Black women globally. The event was entitled the “Black Femininity Series.”  Six Black women, leaders in their respective fields, shared their experiences and reflected on how they combat the prejudices they face that affect their professional relationships and self-perceptions.

I was one of the organizers of the event alongside my friend and colleague Rahni Davis. Rahni and I are young Black women ourselves, passionate about diversity, promoting more nuanced representations of Black women and their role in society, and bringing this diverse conversation to the global forum in Florence, Italy. On a cold October evening together we jotted down a proposal for the Black Femininity Series in the basement of Rahni’s home stay. The idea ascended to heights we never anticipated. Read more

Inside American Politics Series Fall 2016

This year the United States will have its 58th presidential election. There is intense media attention to the American elections around the world. The elections last for a very long time, much longer than in most European countries. As the world follows the ins and outs of the presidential primaries, party conventions, general election debates, and electoral college ‘horse-race’, all the hustle and bustle leaves many scratching their heads and wondering just how the American political system works.

Following NYU Florence’s successful EU in Focus series, designed to introduce NYU students to the inner workings on the European Union and to give them the opportunity to engage with EU actors on the ground, this fall NYU Florence will offer American and non-American students in Florence our first American Politics in Focus series. The series will include introductory talks and will culminate in NYU Florence’s prestigious annual Inside American Politics conference.

Machiavelli’s Advice to Citizens on How to Choose a Leader

With Stephen Holmes, Professor, NYU School of Law; Introduced by NYU Florence student and Gallatin Junior Kennedy Hill

The 2016 Presidential Election: Views from Abroad

With Nicole Bacharan, French Political Analyst; Roberto D’Alimonte, Professor LUISS Guido Carlo University Rome and Lecturer NYU Florence; and Ellyn Toscano, Executive Director NYU Florence; Introduced by NYU Florence freshman Antonio Kieschnick

What if Hillary Clinton Was A Man… and Donald Trump a Woman? Gender and the 2016 Presidential Election


With Catharine Stimpson, Professor New York University, Steinhart Institute for Higher Education Policy

NYU Florence Students React to the Election Results

Interviews by NYU Florence students Kennedy Hill and Kira Boden-Gologorsky; Filmed and edited by Kira Boden-Gologorsky

The 2016 Presidential Elections: What Happened? Why? And What’s Next?

Top American political actors from the Republican and Democratic parties gathered at La Pietra to discuss the election results one week after the vote. Watch the full video of the conference here.


Inside American Politics: The 2016 Presidential Election: What Happened? Why? And What’s Next?

Top American political actors from the Republican and Democratic parties gathered at La Pietra to discuss the election results one week after the vote.

Welcome Remarks

By NYU Florence Executive Director Ellyn Toscano, U.S. Ambassador to Italy John R. Phillips, and Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella

Panel 1: The 2016 Election Cycle: What Just Happened?

With Lynne P. Brown, NYU Senior Vice President for University Relations and Public Affairs; Brian Baker, President of Future45 (pro-Trump Super PAC); Joel Benenson, Chief Strategist Hillary Clinton Campaign; Jonathan Capehart, Journalist, Editorial Board The Washington Post; Stephanie Cutter, CNN contributor, former Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama 2012; Kevin Madden, Senior Advisor to Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential Campaign

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Black Femininity Series: Rachel Wang and her Project 1000 Londoners

Black Femininity Panelist Rachel Wang is sharing with the NYU Florence community access to her incredible work with the project 1000 Londoners, produced under her film production company Chocolate Films.

To Wang, this work is a source of inspiration and shines light on the extraordinary black women that exist in our world today.

1000 Londoners Trailer




Alexandra Burke



Black Femininity Series Speaker Spotlights: Social Entrepreneur Saran Kaba Jones

Photo Credit: Forbes Magazine
Photo Credit: Forbes Magazine

Saran Kaba Jones is the Founder and CEO of FACE Africa, a community development organization working to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and services in rural communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Since launching FACE Africa in January 2009, the organization has funded over 50 projects and reached 25,000 people in rural Liberia. Prior to founding FACE Africa, Ms. Jones worked at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University and as an Investment Project Manager for the Singapore Economic Development Board. She is currently a Board Member of the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group West/Central Africa and is also a member of the U.S. State Department’s International Information Programs. She has been listed by The Guardian as one of Africa’s 25 Top Women Achievers, by Forbes magazine as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa and by Black Enterprise as one of 10 International Women of Power. Saran is a frequent speaker on topics including water infrastructure, entrepreneurship and gender equality and has served on panels at the World Economic Forum, Harvard University, MIT, the London School of Economics, and the African Union. Read more

Black Femininity Series Speaker Spotlights: Political Analyst Zerlina Maxwell

Photo Credit: YWCA New York City
Photo Credit: YWCA New York City

Zerlina Maxwell is a TV political analyst, speaker, and writer. She has a law degree from Rutgers Law School and a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University. Her writing focuses on national politics, candidates, and specific policy and cultural issues including race, feminism, domestic violence, sexual assault, victim blaming and gender inequality. She has consulted with the United States Department of State to promote the use of social media by students in the West Bank and is a frequent speaker at colleges, universities, and organizations. Maxwell has succeeded in leveraging her voice on social media: she has been profiled in The New York Times as a top political Twitter voice to follow during the 2012 election season and was selected by TIME magazine as one of the best Twitter feeds in 2014.  In 2015, Maxwell was one of five journalists invited to travel on Air Force One with President Obama on his trip to Selma for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Maxwell has hosted live political and celebrity interviews for The Huffington Post and her writing has appeared in New York Daily News, The Washington Post, JET, Marie Claire and CNN.com. Maxwell was a frequent fill in host for ‘Make It Plain’ with Mark Thompson on Sirius XM Progress and also a democratic commentator on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. She most recently served as the Director of Progressive Media for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

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Black Femininity Series Speaker Spotlights: Film Producer Rachel Wang

Photo Credit: Chocolate Films | Our Team

Rachel Wang is a Black British filmmaker, producer and entrepreneur. She won the award for Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2015 Black British Business Awards and is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Middlesex University. Wang developed her video production company, Chocolate Films, 15 years ago to produce documentaries and film content. Clients include Buckingham Palace (Royal Collection), Jeep, Arup, Museum of London and the Bargello Museum (Florence). Chocolate Films also serves as a social enterprise that outreaches to disadvantaged young people and adults of diverse community groups and deprived backgrounds with film-making workshops in animation, drama and documentary and community public engagement programs.

Photo Credit: Afro Saxons Chocolate Films
Photo Credit: Afro Saxons Chocolate Films

Wang is passionate about promoting diversity in the media. Her first cinema film, Afro-Saxons, was a feature-length observational documentary that followed five Afro-Caribbean salons as they competed for the biggest hair competition in the UK. In a review by The Guardian the movie was herald for the “unpretentious way” it describes the “creativity and entrepreneurialism in modern Britain, and it’s impossible to watch it without a smile on your face.” Afro-Saxons was re-released in 2015 as part of the British Film Institute’s ‘Britain on Film’ season. Currently, Wang serves as the Creative Director of the award winning web-series 1000 Londoners which was born from her desire to create a digital portrait of London to showcase the eclectic tapestry of Londoners though a diverse collection of 1,000 short documentaries. These three-minute short films are published online and shown in cinemas with the support of the British Film Institute and Film London. The project intends to “insight into the lives of 1000 people who consider themselves to be Londoners, taking in all ages, religions, race, income, interests and opinions.”

Watch her Chocolate Films co-founder Mark Currie give a TedxTalk on 1000 Londoners on YouTube or read an interview of Rachel about the 1000 Londoners project here.

Come to our Black Femininity Series panel on “Black Women on the Screen” and hear Rachel discuss her experience as a Black women in the media and film production industries!