Inside North Korea with Imma Vitelli

By Samantha Chang, NYU Florence student

On September 20th La Pietra Dialogues hosted journalist and international correspondent for Vanity Fair Italy Imma Vitelli, who recounted her daring journey into the most isolated and authoritarian state on the planet: North Korea.

One of the most inaccessible places in the world, the government has very strict regulations on the admittance of foreigners. Very few reporters have been granted access to visit the country and witness conditions on the ground, especially with the recent increase in international tensions.

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Florence Vigil for Peace Coming up on September 11th

New York University Florence and the City of Florence invite the Florentine community to a special Vigil for Peace to commemorate September 11, 2001 together in Piazza della Signoria with a celebration of peace.

Students and Florentine residents from all ethnic and religious backgrounds and nationalities are invited to submit ‘readings for peace’ – texts, song lyrics, poems, or any other written form. Texts can be selected from any cultural tradition and be in any language. Selected submissions will be featured on the project website Florence Vigil for Peace in the lead up to a public reading of the texts on September 11, 2017, followed by the lighting of a candle. The readings and candle lighting will end with a collective moment of silence for all victims who have lost their lives on and since September 11 and a public reaffirmation of our collective commitment to peace and the value and dignity of human life.

Here are some scenes from the past 2 years’ vigils:

The Florence Peace Quilt, started in 2016, will also be updated and unveiled at the ceremony.

Quilting, a longstanding tradition that has deep roots in both European and American cultures, as well as other cultures around the world, embodies the harmonious interweaving of disparate and distinct elements – patches, or blocks – into a unified and complex whole – a patchwork.

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World Premiere of ‘Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me’ in The Season at Villa La Pietra

Coming up in The Season at Villa La Pietra, the World Premiere of PBS biographical film of Sammy Davis Jr. directed by Sam Pollard and written by Laurence Maslon, who will be in attendance to present the film. It is the first documentary to examine the personal and artistic identity of this extraordinary entertainer in the context of the social and racial evolution of the 20th Century.

Sammy Davis Jr. (1925-1990) “was the ultimate hipster, who lived at both the margin and the center, who indeed brought the margin to the center of American life.”

– “Rat Pack’s Sammy Davis Jr. Lives on Through Daughter’s Stories”, NPR, May 8, 2014.

The film screening will be followed by a conversation with Laurence Maslon.

June 20, 6pm

Villa La Pietra

NYU Florence

For more information visit the Villa La Pietra Website.

 

LPD Semester in Review


During the first week of the semester, new NYU Florence students were jet lagged, struggling to unpack, meeting new faces at orientation week, discovering Conad, and marvelling at the Duomo. Some of us needed to adjust to the nonchalant staring of local Italians, and some of us continually failed to bring our own bags to the grocery store. We fell in love with Za Za, Gusta Pizza, and Edoardo’s gelato. It took a lot of time management to juggle booking flights, travelling, academics, and connecting to people back home. Regina Onorato, an NYU Washington Square senior, reflects that studying abroad has “made me more aware of my identity. Trying to adjust to a new language and culture is tough, but rewarding.” While studying abroad, students often undergo a lot of self-exploration and are challenged to rethink their established beliefs and perspective. This is the spirit of LPD – to encourage a deeper exploration of important issues and topics in the humanist tradition of Florence.
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Malaysian Political Cartoonist Zunar Banned from Travelling Outside of Malaysia

Malaysian Political Cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, otherwise known as Zunar, has been banned from travelling outside of Malaysia since October of last year. Zunar was arrested by Malaysian police on December 17 at a public book promotion event in Kuala Lumpur. He was detained and interrogated before being released and 1,000 copies of his books were confiscated. He faces potential charges of “undermining parliamentary democracy” in addition to standing charges of sedition, which carry a possible sentence of 43 years in prison, for publicly insulting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in his cartoons.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the Malaysian government to drop all criminal charges again Zunar and to stop harassing him in what they call a “relentless campaign of judicial and police harassment of the journalist“.

On World Press Freedom Day, May 3, The Washington Post spotlighted Zunar’s plight along with two other persecuted cartoonists, “On World Press Freedom Day, the plights of three persecuted cartoonists deserve a spotlight“.

Zunar gave the talk “Cartooning in Malaysia: The Art of Protest” at NYU Florence in September 2015, followed by a cartoon-drawing workshop for students.

You can watch Zunar’s full Dialogue here:

Trump 100 Days: Global Student Dialogue

Yesterday, students from NYU Florence, NYU London and NYU Washington D.C. participated in a Global Student Dialogue on the 1st 100 Days of the Trump Administration. Students reported on the main developments in critical domestic and foreign policy areas and also shared insights into how the Trump Administration is viewed from the perspective of the U.K. and Italy and how it looks from inside the Washington beltway.
Brennan O’Rourke and Walker Curtis from NYU London
Presentations included:

Trump and the Law‘ by Erin Oh (Florence)

Betty De Vos and LGBTQIA+ Student Rights in Education‘ by Brennan O’Rourke (London)

Transgender Rights Under Trump‘ by Jordan Smith (Florence)

Immigration Policy and the U.S-Mexico Border Wall‘ by Maria Navarro (Washington D.C.)

National Security or Criminalization? Immigration Under Trump‘ by Nidia Corona Gonzalez (Florence)

The Economy Under Trump‘ by Walker Curtis (London)

Trump and Climate Change‘ by Daniella Azoulay (Washington D.C.)

Trump on China‘ by Antonio Kieschnick (Florence)

Seeing Trump from Abroad‘ by Lukas Villarin (Florence)

The Dialogue was introduced and moderated by Henry Clarke (Florence).

Watch the Dialogue here:

Visit the Trump 100 Days blog to read their coverage. A special thanks to Managing Editor Regina Onorato and Digital Manager Elizabeth Grummon from NYU Florence!

Unisex Fashion

Unisex Fashion as illustrated by Givenchy. Photo Credits: Givenchy Fall 2010

Unisex clothing has been a fashion niche for years. Challenging the traditional perception and stereotypes of gender, this kind of clothing and design is becoming increasingly popular and accepted by the majority. Considering this, several questions may be asked: Where does unisex fashion originate? What are the social concerns behind this fashion in regards to gender? What is the relationship between this fashion andgender equality? Read more

Empowering Women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

On Monday night, NYU Florence students Yana Chala and Alice Huang kept the ball rolling on student led dialogues with their conversation, “Empowering Women in STEM”. The event brought together a panel of three women in tech: Caroline Dahl, Patrizia Guitani, and Svetlana Videnova. The panelists were of varying ages, from different countries across Europe, working in different fields and companies. Yet, it was remarkable to see these three women who had never met before share their common experiences and challenges of being a female minority in the tech field.

Alice Huang kickstarted the event with the dichotomy between Nichelle Nichols’ progressive idea of science, and the continuing reality of female underrepresentation in science that seems to lag behind Nichols’ aspirations for the field.

“Science is not a boy’s game, it’s not a girl’s game. It’s everyone’s game. It’s about where we are and where we’re going.” – Nichelle Nichols (former NASA Ambassador and actress)

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Vital Voices: Women and International Leadership Development

On April 19, 2017, an intimate group had a cozy discussion with Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, on developing women’s leadership.

I was among them, and I had been anticipating this talk all semester. Nelson’s work is much inspired by former American First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, so I was eager to hear her take on the past U.S election cycle and the “highest, hardest glass ceiling” that remained unshattered.

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