Italian Secretary visits class, speaks on EU economy

Italian First Secretary Massimiliano Mazzanti visited a class yesterday to tell 14 students about the Italian economy through his first-hand experiences.

Mazzanti spoke to students for about an hour on the state of Italian economy since World War II, describing how Italy’s exclusive economic zones and the “economic miracle” helped shape the country’s politics and culture.

The visit was to international affairs professor Angela Iovino’s class. The class will also visit the Italian embassy later this month and have lunch with dignitaries to discuss the state of Italy.

In the class, called “Cultural History of Modern Italy,” students learn the political and cultural history of Italy since its unification in 1861.

“Once I designed the Cultural History course, I shared it with a Minister of Political Affairs at the Italian Embassy who found the course intriguing and agreed to invite my class every autumn to the Italian Embassy,” Iovino said.

“As Italians, we always remember that we were in the Roman Empire, conquering the world, but that was thousands of years ago,” Mazzanti said. Now, Italy still struggles to pay off debt incurred since World War II, Mazzanti added.

He also discussed the implications of a more economically interdependent Europe in recent years.

“Many of the wages didn’t change but prices doubled,” he said about the euro, the European Union’s central currency.

“Our economy is now No. 6 in the G8,” he said. “Hopefully Italy can remain in this group in the future.”

Junior Derek Platt, who will study in Rome next semester, found the visit an opportunity to learn more about the culture where he will be living.

“I took (the class) out of interest prior to me going to Italy,” he said. “It was good to hear Mazzanti sum up what we learned and give his own viewpoint on the current events, that was the part I enjoyed the most.”

“It’s customary to learn in a lecture format, but GW has many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom that more professors should take advantage of,” Platt said.

“It is so rewarding to see students engaged in conversation with political officials,” Iovino said. “The only problem I have when we visit the Italian Embassy is actually leaving the building; students loll around and devour the Italian gelato!”

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