Category: Students

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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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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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. Read more

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.

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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

Civil Society Activism and Democracy: Risks and Promises

“Civil Society Activism and Democracy: Risks and Promises” will analyze non-governmental organizations, think tanks, foundations, universities and activists that act as agents of participatory democracy at both the national and global levels. The dialogue was organized by NYU Florence professor Gianluca Sgueo and will take place on May 2 at 6 p.m. in Villa Sassetti. It will feature journalist and activist Angela Gennaro, scholars Jamal Shahin and Vigjilenca Abazi, and lawyer Giulio Carini.

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Diversity in the Film Industry

Italian Ghanaian director and activist Fred Kuwornu will come to Villa Sassetti at 6 p.m. on April 21 for the dialogue  “Diversity in the Film Industry,” part of the “Race, Racism and Xenophobia in a Global Context” series that NYU Florence is organizing this semester. Kuwornu will present his documentary “Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in the Italian Cinema” (2016), which explores the careers of black actors in Italian film. The documentary’s website describes it as “a call-to-action for increased diversity” and more dignified roles for these actors. Read more

Citizen Journalists: Reporting from the Capital of ISIS

Abdel Aziz al-Hamza and Hussam Alissa join Imma Vitelli at Villa Sassetti on April 6 at 6 p.m. for the last of Vitelli’s Craft Talks on Journalism, “Citizen Journalists: Reporting from the Capital of ISIS.” Al-Hamza and Alissa are two of around 17 Syrian activists who helped found Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (R.B.S.S.) in April 2014, an underground citizen journalist group based in Raqqa, a city in northern Syria that has become the capital of ISIS. R.B.S.S. works to document life in Raqqa and has captured evidence of crucifixions, beheadings, sexual abuse and other violent acts. It serves as a source of information for the foreign press who are unable to have reporters on the ground in Raqqa. Read more

Middle East Now Festival Coming to Florence this Week

The Middle East Now Festival brings cinema, food, art and music from the Middle East and North Africa to Florence. The seventh annual festival will be held from April 5-10 at Cinema Odeon, Cinema Stensen and other places throughout the city. This year’s theme is “Live and Love Middle East,” and 44 films will be presented. The entire program can be downloaded here.

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