CULTURE AND TOURISM ON-LINE MAGAZINE
- FEBRUARY 2018 -
HOME - Bridge Italy - Culture - The Fulbright Project? An extraordinary opportunity for a cultural exchange
Culture
The Fulbright Project?
An extraordinary opportunity for a cultural exchange
Consul James Rodriguez, in charge of the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Consulate General in Naples, speaks to us after his intervention at the American Day held by Liceo Scientifico De Giorgi in Lecce by Flavia Pankiewicz
SHARE Facebook Twitter

Consul James Rodriguez

The “American Day”, a day wholly dedicated to American culture and cultural exchanges with Italy, organizes by the Liceo Scientifico Cosimo De Giorgi in Lecce at the beginning of this year, was a great success. English Teaching Assistants, or ETAs, winners of “Fulbright” scholarships, who are spending a year in Italy, came from numerous Italian cities like Florence, Rome, Cosenza, Gubbio, Naples and even Norway, to take part.

Those present were: Lindsay Paiva, Andrea Leone, Elyse McLaughlin, Tiffanie Bui, Nicholas Crown, David D’Antonio and Mattea Cumoletti, who is working as an English Teaching Assistant at Liceo De Giorgi in Lecce.

Their brief but brilliant contributions dealt with a wide range of themes: from their home towns to the history of jazz, from their favorite American football teams to problems of teaching methodology.

The meeting was attended by the School Principal, Giovanna Caretto, Patrizia Sanguedolce, the teacher who organized the event, and also Consul James Rodriguez, Culture and Press Relations of the Consulate General of the U.S. in Naples. Born in Washington DC, his family originally comes from El Salvador. He is in Naples with his wife and three daughters and is highly appreciative of Italian culture and cooking.

We asked him some questions about the “Fulbright Project”.

Could you briefly explain how the “Fulbright Program” was born and how it is structured?

The “Fulbright Program” began after World War II in an effort to promote cross-cultural communication. Now, it is a very prestigious program that many world leaders have participated in. A lesser known aspect of the program is the ETA – English Teaching Assistant. The ETA program selects young American graduates to work abroad in a community teaching English at secondary schools. Students at the school have an opportunity to learn better English skills while the ETAs gains cultural insight which they will share with others when they arrive home. We try to send ETAs all over Italy to work as “little ambassadors.”

This year how many winners are there in Italy, in which cities do they work and how was the destination “Italy” assigned to them?

In Italy, we have six ETAs stationed in Gubbio, Lecce, Napoli, Palermo, Roma, Cosenza. They give their preference on the geographical area, and then according to the selected schools we match them. ETAs are a hot commodity and we are happy to provide them.

Which criteria were used to select the schools?

We work in conjunction with the Ministry of Education to select schools that have a track record of academic excellence and good students. The schools need to be able to benefit from having a native English speaker working there. In addition, we look for schools that will be receptive to hosting an ETA and providing them with any necessary support.

You are about to end your diplomatic tour here in Italy. What’s your review of this experience?

Working in Italy has been a long-time dream of mine. In fact, I turned down the same position – Public Affairs Officer – in Melbourne, Australia to work here. Italy is one of the most sought after countries for people in the diplomatic service. As far as Southern Italy in particular, I just love the culture, the people and the food. There are so many opportunities to see historical sights and landmarks. It has been amazing! I have met some very impressive people who work hard to improve Southern Italy, economically speaking. Southern Italy, in particular, is really inspiring. While I’ve been here, I hope that I have improved my Italian. Overall I had a great experience. I will leave Italy with nothing but good memories and a hope to return in the near future.

What were your impressions during your visit in Lecce?

Lecce is a beautiful little city. I completely understand why it is called “Southern little Florence.” Salento in general is wonderful and the people in Lecce are so lucky that every morning they can choose which sea to go to. Plus, the city is surrounded by beautiful olive trees. I had a chance to visit an olive farm while I was there and the olive oil might just be the best in Italy, if not the world. Salento is amazing and I hope to make it back soon.

More articles
Culture   Eugenio Barba On Life and Theatrical Thought and Practice Culture   Mark Bradford and Wade Guyton Million dollar American art that’s taking Italy by storm Culture   “Poverty is sexist” The young ambassadors of ONE in Paris against extreme poverty Culture   The middle-eastern origin of blown glass, the pride of Venice Culture   “You don’t know the South” 
The culture of the South relaunched in Otranto Culture   Those Southern women who express the world Culture   Andy Warhol The immortal guru of Pop Art Culture   “Angels and saints in Chicago and Baltimora” Cultural exchanges between the University of Bari and the US Culture   Those farm women, thrilled at their first sight of the sea… Culture   My Puglia as seen from the UN Culture   Forty young Italians with ONE for the fight against world hunger Culture   “American Dreamers” The new dream of eleven American artists on show in Florence Books   Not even love transforms the Stock Exchange of destinies Books   And the dream of conquest turned into a mirage of the desert Books   Joseph’s Gargano Books   The tragedy of Mattmark A book so as not to forget Books   Journey through the gardens of Italy Books   When poetry investigates “time” Books   Amidst the storms of life it’s the strength of a loving heart that wins Books   That valley in the Gargano so rich in history that must not be forgotten Books   Grottaglie and its pottery through the life of the benefactor Vincenzo Calò Books   Eighty years of joyful culture Books   Sergeant Romano’s siege like in a movie Books   The magnificent eighty Books   San Marco in Lamis seen from its bell-tower Books   A great love for splendid Castro Books   Better not come home... Letters between Italy and America during the first World War Books   Story of a poet between Puglia and America Books   Worked to death under the sun of Puglia Books   When forgotten objects tell a life story Books   Masserie of Puglia Journey amidst Beauty Books   An excursion into the Salentine dialect … Mai pe iabbu Books   The moral revival of the South can start from its “best” Books   Life, anyway! Books   Rainbow of women Books   Amidst the mountains of Val d’Aosta …in pursuit of the culprit Books   …Once upon a time there was the past Writing about it to preserve the memory Books   Disorder and experimentation in the museum-houses of Ignazio Apolloni Books   Salento stories …in search of lost time Books   Pietro Marti, the great standard-bearer of Salento culture Books   Even tycoons cry Books   If a “whale” island appears one night out of nowhere… Books   From his ancestral Calabria to Roma Precious memories of a lifetime Books   The importance of rediscovering “fraternity” Books   In the wax museum to seek the dream of a better world Books   Naples “Kissed by God and raped by Man” Books   Once upon a time there was the padre-padrone Books   Second World War The drama of the fallen Books   On the Savannah lagoons …to heal Books   The meaning of the 20th century in the saga of the Stille family Books   In Fellini’s La dolce vita the germs of today’s Italy Basilicata   Craco The “second life” of a ghost town Po Delta   The Po Delta park Natural beauty and history Bari   “Cieli americani” in Bari Verona   Verona Shakespeare celebrated its beauty without ever having seen it Courmayeur   Courmayeur All the charm of the low season Ferrara   You can still dream in Ferrara Ferrara   “Action!” Amongst Ferrara’s myriad sets Music   Porretta Soul Festival The Italian Woodstock of black American music Matera   Pasolini-Matera Fifty years ago the first Gospel in the Sassi Naples   “Wood Stone and Friends” Jimmie Durham’s magic vitalism at the MADRE Naples   Art miracles at Vigna San Martino Naples   The Hermann Nitsch Museum From horror to awareness Bologna   Do you want to be FICO? In Bologna you can Bologna   Bologna “The Learned”, “The Fat”, “The Red” Bologna   At the MAMbo Arte Povera on display Polignano   From Brooklyn to Polignano Twelve artists out to conquer Europe Movies   With The Revenant DiCaprio rises again and aims for the Oscar Movies   Quo Vado? When the southern redneck turns politically correct Movies   When the cinema returns to the future Best of Italy   Andria Pietro Zito’s vegetable garden This is where his prize-winning dishes originate Best of Italy   The best Milanese panettone is… Salentine San Marino   “From Hopper to Warhol” on the gentle hills of San Marino San Marino   San Marino Historic appeal amidst breathtaking panoramas Turin   Reggia di Venaria Reale A treasure rediscovered Turin   The Egyptian Museum of Turin The immortal appeal of the Pharaohs Turin   “For President” Photogenic qualities will win the elections Padua   So much… In the city of the three “withouts” Milan   EXPO 2015 Not just food Milan   The oneiric inspirations of Joan Jonas Milan   “Autunno americano” Milan celebrates the States Milan   MILAN The metropolis is still “to drink” (…and “to eat”) Rome   “Empire State” New York is still the epicenter of art Venice   The immortal charm of the 
“Queen of the Sea” Venice   So many “Illumi/nations” with the Biennale d’Arte Rovigo   History and Art In the capital of the Polesine Rovigo   “Divisionism, the light of what is modern” 200 works on show in Rovigo