By Ellyn Toscano, Executive Director NYU Florence
This has been an important year for LPD. We have had the pleasure of welcoming more friends and colleagues to our events and strengthening our relationships with partners at other academic institutions in the city of Florence and at our home campus in New York. Our students have also become more involved in our activities, making LPPD a real force on campus. This fall we built on our Dialogue on U.S. Politics, reuniting some of last year’s panelists for an evaluation of the Obama administration’s first year. Participants from both sides of the aisle and the Atlantic discussed how Obama has measured up against the high expectations that greeted his election. We introduced a Dialogue on women in collaboration with the Vital Voices Global Partnership, bringing some of most important public sector, private sector and civil society leaders in the promotion of women from over 20 countries to La Pietra to talk about the progress that has been made and challenges that remain since the first U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995. The concluding International Town Hall on the Status of Women at Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio opened our Dialogue to the city of Florence. A group of panelists from the working session shared their experiences and answered questions from the audience. In the Spring, the AfroEuropa: Incontri Photography Exhibition and Lecture Series enriched our Transatlantic Dialogue on Migration, exploring how photography interacts with and contributes to the debate on immigration. A collection of photographs depicting the daily life of African migrants in Italy, as well as more controversial images of migrants’ voyages to Europe and forms of political mobilization, were displayed at the Biagiotti Contemporary Art Gallery in Florence. Distinguished experts from Europe and the United States continued our look at immigration with an analysis of the current direction of immigration policy in their respective countries and provided some historical context to current debate investigating the African presence in Renaissance Venice. Finally, our Ethics, Culture and Law conference brought young scholars together with some of the most eminent practitioners in the museum world from the U.S. and Europe to discuss the ownership of cultural patrimony. The strong contrast in points of view gave rise to a memorable concluding round table. In addition to our conferences, we were delighted to host a guest lecture by Professor Helge Pharo, advisor to the Nobel Committee, who gave our students an inside look at the workings of the committee and the decision to award this year’s Peace Prize to President Obama. LPPD also had the pleasure of welcoming special visitors on campus: Kerry Kennedy, Robert Shrum, Marylouise Oates and Awam Ampka. We would like to thank all who contributed to this year’s Dialogues for their enthusiasm and support. We continue to grow and look forward to more exciting projects in the future.