On October 8, 2015, the Italian program celebrated the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth by hosting a marathon reading of the Divine Comedy at Temple University’s bell tower. The event succeeded in introducing the Temple and Philadelphia communities to the medieval text and helped to promote Italian culture.
Over 100+ students attended the event and shared cookies, coffee, and pizza as their peers each took turns on the microphone. Morning attendees enjoyed a wonderful performance by the Temple University marching band. Dr. Deborah Confredo welcomed three Italian representatives from the Associazione Nazionale Bande Italiane Musicali Autonome Piemonte who were visiting Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance to discuss partnership towards the continued development of music education in Italy and the US. Yuchen Pan, a vocal major at Boyer College of Music, made a guest appearance and serenaded the crowd with an assortment of operatic excerpts.
Festive programming continued with an evening segment featuring a keynote address by the Consul General of Italy Andrea Canepari. Dennis Looney of the Modern Language Association (MLA) then gave a plenary lecture addressing Dante’s sense of justice and community titled “Dante, Social Justice, and Community Engagement, or Why Study Italian Right Now!”