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Italian and Business

Past, Current and Future Steps to Foster Synergies

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Made in Italy Series Video

The Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies and the Italian Program at Montclair State University foster synergies with Italian companies in the New Jersey and New York areas in order to create opportunities for students in the rich and diverse ecosystem of the Italian economy in the region and to show real-life applications of the study of the Italian language beyond the classroom, with a focus on Made in Italy. These endeavors were also designed in view of the creation of a new interdisciplinary program, which over time has resulted in an innovative combined major in Language, Business, and Culture, including Italian (effective from Fall 2019 – see below for more details). The Inserra Endowment has played a critical role in these efforts by funding paid internships, public programs where the community on and off campus has met major business personalities, student on-site visits at offices, showrooms, and plants, and targeted meetings with companies in order to create an open conversation between the education and the business sectors.

PAST PROJECTS

  • Business Italian Style: Videos and Articles in La Voce di New York (2014 & 2017)
    Within the context of the Business Italian course taught by Dr. Enza Antenos (Assistant Professor of Italian) and with the participation of Dr. Teresa Fiore (Inserra Endowed Chair) and Maurita Cardone (then editor at La Voce di New York), students interview Italian entrepreneurs in the U.S. and learn first hand about the connection of language and culture in the professional world. Featured interviewees have included major personalities: artists (Gaetano Pesce), leaders in the art sectors (Cecilia Alemani) and CEOs (from Andrea Illy to Lidia Bastianich).
  • Meeting with NJ/NY-based Italian Companies (2017) – Click here to see flyer
    The Inserra Chair gathered a number of Italian companies to discuss collaborative projects. Outcomes have included: strengthened relationships with companies and organizations in order to continue to offer paid student internships as well as student on-site visits at offices, showrooms, and plants as part of specific courses. A unique feature of the meeting was a reverse-engineering approach where university faculty and administrators asked the companies for a profile of their ideal employees. One takeaway was a preference for students who can agilely move between the Humanities and Business, with a solid knowledge of Italian language and culture serving as a crucial qualification.

CURRENT PROJECTS

Paid internships

  • Internships at the Italian Trade Agency and Choose New Jersey (Summer ’17/Winter ’18 and Summer ’18/Winter ’19). These internship provide valuable pre-professional experience in key offices for the surveying, promotion, and support of Italian business in NY and NJ. Students acquire and practice skills in data management and organization that provide them with a thorough map of the business ecosystem of the area. Additionally, they participate and act as translators in business fairs, meetings, and promotional campaigns. Whenever possible, the CNJ involves students in a business trip to Italy to meet delegations and company representatives. See 2017 report and 2018 report, with stories and select images.

Courses

  • Introduction to Italian Business and Commercial Translation (The course is offered according to the regular revolving schedule in the Italian Program, roughly every 2-3 years at the moment). For a description, click on ITAL 321 from the online catalogue.
  • Intensive summer course (so far offered to high school students as ITAL140, and to be included in the catalogue as ITAL ITAL 240: Intensive Italian Bridge Course). The course includes guest-speaker talks on Made in Italy concepts as well as on-site visits and guided tours of companies and galleries active in the food, fashion, design and art sectors in the NY metropolitan area. See 2018 edition and 2017 edition for details, and the 2019 page. For more information, contact inserra@montclair.edu.

Public programs

Critical Made in Italy Series of Talks (2016-19) Food and Sustainability Video  Design Video
Scholars such as Daniele Balicco and CEOs, including Andrea Illy, offered a nuanced take on Made in Italy (Design and Food) as part of public programs and in-class talks. The series has also included programs about cinema/subtitling and art/industry.

NEW COMBINED MAJOR IN ITALIAN AND BUSINESS (from FALL 2019)

Language, Business and Culture, a new major in Italian and Business, has been launched to link the learning of world languages and cultures to the business world. This is a unique academic program offered at Montclair State University starting in Fall 2019. The Curriculum is comprised of three major parts, that is, a Required Core, Advanced Business Electives and a Concentration in World Language and Culture (LBC is also offered in other languages). While it is not officially linked to the Inserra Chair since it is a broad inter-college endeavor that has involved many faculty members and administrators at all levels, in the specific area of Italian Language, Business, and Culture, it has greatly benefited from the interdisciplinary context that the Inserra Endowment’s programs illustrated in this page have created over time. In particular, starting in 2014, there has been a regular stream of activities focused on business, paid internships, student-centered hands-on projects, and public lectures designed to actively link Italian and business. Upon the launching of the new offering in Italian Language, Business and Culture in Fall 2019, students of Italian will be able to already count on a vast set of materials, programs, contacts designed over the years, and in large part supported by the Inserra Chair.

For more information, contact current Italian advisor, Dr. Antenos Conforti, Assistant Professor of Italian.

EXTERNAL RESOURCES

Fulfilling the American Dream: Liberal Education and the Future of Work – Surveys of Business Executives and Hiring Managers. Association of American Colleges & Universities (July 2018).

When Business Speaks Italian: Lucio Noto (managing partner of Midstream Partners, LLC) interviewed by Lucia Pasqualini (Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) for i-Italy (Oct. 2016)

Lingua italiana in America: Article about the role of Made in Italy in university programs as well as other proposals for the growth of the discipline (La Voce di New York, June 2016)

2017 Teaching Symposium “Made in Italy as a Tool for Language Learning,” organized by the Coccia Institute and Dr. Antenos, Assistant Professor of Italian: See full program

See more articles on the Links page.