By La Pietra Dialogues
In the lead up to the 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections, faculty and students gathered every Wednesday evening in the Limonaia of Villa la Pietra to discuss the latest from the campaign trail over food and drinks and to deepen their perspective with a series of guest lectures and screenings of some of the most memorable films dealing with American politics. On September 17, special guest Jo-Ann White in her talk “Notes from the Democratic Convention” spoke about her experience as a delegate for Democrats Abroad at the Democratic Convention in Denver, proving that her enthusiasm for the intricacies of American politics hasn’t dimmed after more than a decade living in Europe. On October 1, a panel of European graduate students from the European University Institute and the University of Florence representing seven European countries engaged in a vibrant and lively discussion – “European Perspectives on the U.S. Elections” – with NYU undergraduates on about how the American election process is viewed in Europe, what Europeans think about the candidates and what the election may mean for Euro-American relations. The discussion spilled over into the garden as students pursued their conversations in small groups after the formal event had ended. Finally, Professor Roberto D’Alimonte gave a talk “Berlusconi: An American Style Prime Minister” on October 8 about the growing similarities in electoral politics between Italy and the U.S. attributed to the introduction of American campaign techniques on the Italian scene by its current Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and identified features that are specific to Italian politics. The U.S. Elections Film and Lecture Series culminated in the international conference “The U.S. Elections: What Happened? Why? What’s Next?” on November 20-21. Distinguished panels of European and American political analysts, scholars, and media experts discussed the results of the elections and implications for U.S. foreign and domestic policy.