Past Events

Past Events 2008-2013

Third Annual New Jersey State-Wide Student Symposium Parliamo Italiano II: AP Italian

April 18, 2007
9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Montclair State University

Student Symposium Parliamo Italiano II: AP Italian brochure kiosk

On April 18, 2007 the Coccia Institute’s Third Annual Student Symposium will offer high school AP Italian students and their teachers, strategies for learning about Italian culture and language in preparation for the AP exam. The half-day symposium will cultivate a space in which students learn through an interactive workshop and discussion, followed by an academic competition. The symposium will provide instruction and assessment in cultural understanding, as well as in language proficiency. Now that the Advanced Placement Italian has been added to the College Board’s national language assessment program, there is a clear need for enrichment programs on Italian language and culture that are geared toward high school students and their teachers.

Please call early to reserve seating for your high school.

For Registration and Information
Please contact (973) 655-4050


The Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute Celebrates Third Anniversary with Senator Renato Turano

Senator Renato Turano headshot

The Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute will be holding a luncheon on Sunday, December 3, 2006 in celebration of its third anniversary, with guest speaker Senator Renato Turano.

Senator Turano is the president of four Chicago-based companies who won election to the Italian Parliament. There he will represent 400,000 North and Central American Italians in the new government of Romano Prodi. Italian citizens abroad have participated in two national referenda since they were granted the ability to vote in Italian elections via absentee ballots in 2001. But in May 2006, Italians abroad had the opportunity for the first time to elect their own representatives to the Italian government. Some 200,000 Italian Americans were eligible to vote for one Senator and two Deputies for the district of North America (the other three overseas electoral districts include: South America; Europe, excluding Italy; and Australia/Asia/Africa). Senator Turano will discuss the long term implications of this new Italian American electorate, the reasons why the Italian government decided to grant representation to Italians abroad, and the history of Italian American voting in the U.S.

On Monday, December 4, 2006 he will be giving a lecture at Montclair State University
at University Hall, 1:00-2:30pm, Room 1020.
All are welcome to attend!


Slow Food Revolution by Gigi Padovani cover

Founded in Italy in 1986 by charismatic Italian gourmand Carlo Petrini, Slow Food has grown into a phenomenally successful movement against the uniformity and compromised quality of fast food and supermarket chains. With nearly 85,000 members in 45 countries around the world, Slow Food has developed from a small, grassroots group into the most influential gastronomic movement in the world. Italian Journalist GIGI PADOVANI takes the reader on a gastronomic journey in The Slow Food Revolution: A New Culture for Dining and Living (Rizzoli), co-written with Petrini, who was recently acclaimed as a great innovator in Time magazine's list of "European Heroes." Together, they point out the practices and traditions of the world's ethnic cuisines, from the artisanal cheeses of Italy to the oysters of Cape May and the native American turkey. It includes testimonies from Slow Food representatives - such as Alice Waters of Chez Panisse - illustrating exactly what they are doing - and what still needs to be done.


November 13, 2006
1:00 PM
University Hall 1020


Marina Warner headshot

A prize-winning writer of fiction, criticism and history; her works include novels and short stories as well as studies of female myths and symbols. The event is co-sponsored by the Coccia Institute, the Spanish/Italian Department at MSU, and the Institute of Humanities.

The Lifesaver

Harold "Candyman" Dinzes offering a lifesaver As you walk the halls at Montclair State University you run into a gentleman who greets you with a smile and a candy lifesaver in his hand. Warmly known as "the candy man," Harold a junior at Montclair State University is here studying at 90 years old because he "always wanted to know."

A lover of history, Harold decided to go on a quest and learn all there is to learn about his beloved country. Taking Anthropology, Political Science, Archeology, Greek and Medieval Art and American History, Harold searches the pages of history to see how this all fits together.

A resident of Passaic, New Jersey, Harold has been married to his lovely wife Doreen for 56 years. They are proud parents of two sons and four grandchildren. He speaks a little French, Spanish and is fluent in German and English.

A Korean and World War II veteran, Harold served 12 active years in the armed forces. He trained in explosives and demolition as a reservist after WWII, from 1946 to 1950. He became a combat engineer commander when he was called again to serve in the Korean War from 1950-1953. He was injured in combat and has steel in his right eye. He suffered with jaundice, dysentery and yellow fever in Manila and was not sure if he would make it home.

Harold has been all over the world. When in Santourini, Greece he saw how the results of the volcanic explosions that leveled the countryside created a spectacular panoramic view of the city.

In Florence, Italy he watched history in the making when they were doing some excavation and found an archeological dig. He entered the Vatican as they were restoring the paintings and was amazed at the restoration of Leonardo Da Vinci’s work. He acquired a love for seafood marinara. As Harold attests, "How can you go to Italy and not fall in love with the people, the countryside and the food?"

While many people his age are using their retirement to travel, or stay home, Harold has chosen a busy lifestyle. He actively Harold Dinzes sitting outside participates in charity work for the Korean War Veterans and fundraises to help children cancer patients at Hackensack Medical Center. As a Korean War Veteran, Harold particularly enjoys the opportunity to visit local high schools and make history come to life for young students through pictures, diagrams and first person narratives. Harold and other veterans have been asked to return to the same schools for the past six years to retell their compelling stories.

Harold recollects that during the depression his mother hocked all her jewelry in order to send his sister to school. He never had the opportunity to also attend school as a young man, but is making up for the lost time now. His advice for today’s America’s youth is, "Don’t take no for an answer, you can do anything that you put your heart and soul to." Harold has just enrolled at UMDNJ to attend Medical School. "Only time can hold me back," he says.

When asked the message he would like to leave as a legacy of his life, Harold responded, "This country is worth fighting and dying for." Harold is one American who has repeatedly put his own life on the line to save his compatriots during both the Korean War and WWII. As we celebrate the many heroes who have fought for our liberties and freedom, we must say "thank you" this Veterans Day to Harold Dinzes, Korean War and WWII Veteran. Harold, as the pages of history continue to unfold for you in your classes, may we never forget that you too were part of history and were one of the heroes in the trenches known as "The Lifesaver."

Over 400 Students attend "The Second Annual New Jersey State-Wide Student Symposium

Parliamo Italiano
(See Pictures of Symposium here)
PP Presentation/The 2nd Annual Coccia Institute Symposium.ppt

On April 4th 2006, The Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute at Montclair State University presented “The Second Annual Student Symposium: Parliamo Italiano”. The symposium offered high school, and college students and their teachers strategies for learning about Italian culture and language and Italian American heritage. The half-day symposium cultivated a space in which students learned through a morning session of interactive workshops and discussions followed by an academic competition. The symposium provided instruction and assessment in cultural understanding, as well as in language proficiency and Italian American history. The recent announcement that Advanced Placement Italian was being added to the College Board’s national language assessment program, showed a clear need for enrichment programs on Italian language and culture that are geared toward high school students and their teachers.

The student symposium began with registration, coffee and pastry in the MSU Student Center Ballroom. A welcome address was delivered by Dr. Gina Miele, Director of the Coccia Institute, to over 400 students. Students then participated in two workshops led by distinguished professors at Montclair State University:

Prof. Nancy Carnevale of the History Department at Montclair State University spoke on “Italian American Enemy Alien Status during the WWII Years.” Using primary source documents, this workshop explored the history of Italian immigrants who were deemed enemy aliens during WWII. Students also explored the consequences of this history for Italian American ethnic identity in the post-war years.

Prof. Enza Antenos-Conforti of the Spanish/Italian Department at Montclair State University presented “Songs In and Out of the Classroom.” The workshop included a strategy, using technology out of the class, that enhances how we teach with songs, and what we can accomplish with them in the classroom setting.

Prof. Andrea Dini of the Spanish/Italian Department at Montclair State University presented a workshop on an Italian Language through gesture.

Special guest speaker Mr. Anthony Martignetti presented “The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment during World War II" Mr. Martignetti is the former New Jersey State Chairman for the Order Sons of Italy in America, a foundation supporting educational and cultural programs throughout the State of New Jersey.

Following the workshops, students participated in a competition that tested their knowledge in three areas-Italian language, Italian and Italian American History, and Italian and Italian American Culture. The three top schools were awarded Italian medals and a text on Italian Literature for their school libraries. The books were generously donated by the Passaic Valley Chapter of UNICO. St. Peter’s Prep: won 1st place. Lenape High Scholl won 2nd place. Bishop George Thomas High School won 3rd place.

In addition, a $500 grant was presented to Paramus High School for bringing the most students to the symposium.


***BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND AT Montclair State University***

Conversazione e Caffè
offered through
The Center for Italian and Italian American Culture (CIIAC)

tea in a cup with a spoon Every Sunday, 6:00 – 7:30 PM, Richardson Hall
(Please call CIIAC for further information and exact location of the meeting.)

Practice your Italian conversation skills in a social setting with a native speaker facilitator.
New participants please call CIIAC (973) 571-1995 prior to attending.

Conversazione & Caffè also offered in TWO ADDITIONAL locations:
Cedar Grove Library –2nd & 4th Monday of the month, 6:30 – 7:45 PM, Cedar Grove Library, Municipal Plaza, Pompton Ave., Cedar Grove, NJ.

Montville Library – 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, 7:00 – 8:30 PM, Montville Library, 90 Horseneck Rd., Montville, NJ.
For full meeting schedule and other library events, visit

Josephine Maietta cavaliere
New York / Insignita del titolo dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà

Josephine Maietta receiving the title of Cavaliere dell 'Ordine della Stella della Solidarietá Italiana by Consul General Antonio Bandini

Josephine Maietta, named by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) as "Teacher of the Year," was honored recently with the title of Cavaliere dell 'Ordine della Stella della Solidarietá Italiana by Consul General Antonio Bandini. The title was confered on Maietta by Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. The Coccia Institute joins the Italian American community in congratulating Cavaliere Maietta.


Learn Italian Vocabulary: Act, Create and Produce a Show

Gianni Rodari black and white headshot GIANNI RODARI (Omegna, Novara, October 23, 1920 - Rome April 14,1980) was a surreal great Italian writer for children. In 1970 he won the Andersen Award, the most important international prize for children's literature. Rodari showed children how to play with language. His books tell us stories and show children the process of narrating. He taught a new and different way to work with children and he has shown that it is possible for parents to enrich the relationship with their children in a more communicative and open way. Gianni Rodari's gift to everybody is his fantasy, his humor, but especially his optimism. He has written several books for and about children. The Grammar of Fantasy: An Introduction to the Art of Inventing Stories is one of the books by Rodari still available in the States.


LA STORIA DI TUTTE LE STORIE (THE STORY OF ALL STORIES) is the story of a journey: the journey that a child makes in growing up, from birth to self-awareness. In the play, Colombina, Balanzone, Pulcinella and Arlecchino make the journey together with other characters they meet on their way. The stops of the trip are:

The Birth
The country of the fears
The words market
The island of the fables
The game of the little box
The man who wasn’t there
Final Parade
Represented for the first time in La Spezia, Italy on March 20th 1976, the text came from the encounter of children with theatre. “The idea – said Rodari – was to make theatre for children starting from their experiences, their invention, and their words. I have always thought that theatre is to be born into the theatre, making theatre. La storia di tutte le storie is not a complete text, yet is raw material for a theatre piece.” La storia di tutte le storie is still considered one of the most important of Rodari’s opera as well as one of the fundamental theatre pieces for children.

Introducing our Teachers

Laura Caparrotti headshot LAURA CAPARROTTI (Acting), born in Rome, has a doctorate in Performing Arts from the University “La Sapienza” in Rome, Italy. She also studied independently with Dario Fo (Nobel Prize for Literature 1997), Annie Girardot and Elsa Wolliaston. In New York Laura performed in several Off Off Broadway productions. She has directed and performed in several K.I.T. productions such The Papaleo Case – il Caso Papaleo by Ennio Flaiano, A, B, C a one-woman-shows, Philosophically Speaking by Eduardo De Filippo. She is also the curator of the exhibition Italians of Montclair. She is the representative of Antonio De Curtis (Toto’), and of the De Curtis Family in the States. She is currently teaching Theatre &Italian workshops in Manhattan, together with Marta Mondelli. She is the artistic director of the KIT -Kairos Italy Theater Inc. (

MARTA MONDELLI (ITALIAN/SET) is a graduate of the European Theater School of Bologna. With her Theater Company Chie'discena performed all around Italy. She also performed as lead actress in two Italian movies (Quore and Stai Con Me) and in America in several Independent movies, Come Away With Me, with Marta Mondelli headshot Mariangela Melato, and The Groomsmen by Eb Burns with Brittany Murphy. In New York, she also performed in several off-off Broadway productions. She is the lead female in the English version of The Papaleo Case, performed also at Fox Theater, Montclair. Marta teaches theatre & Italian in Manhattan as well as privately. She is an illustrator for several publications, including children books.

For More Information:

Please call Jill Lichtig at (973) 655-4050


Italian Cultural Institute of New York, The Department of Spanish and Italian, The Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America cordially invite you to an afternoon with Novelist and Playwright Dacia Maraini, Monday May 1 2006 at 1:00pm University Hall room 1020

The Second Annual Italian and Italian American Studies Student Symposium: Parliamo Italiano

April 4, 2006

Please join us for this special half day conference of interactive workshops, discussions and a competition centered on Italian language and culture for high school students and their teachers. Three hours of professional development credit will be available for of kids on a stoop

On April 4th, 2006, The Coccia Institute’s Second Annual Student Symposium will offer high school students and their teachers insight and a strategy for learning about Italian language and culture and Italian American heritage. The half-day symposium will cultivate a space in which students learn through a morning session of workshops and discussions followed by an academic competition. The symposium will provide instruction and assessment in cultural understanding as well as in language proficiency and Italian American history.

For More Information please call Jill Lichtig at (973) 655-4039