•Maria Mazziotti Gillan's letter on IDs Writing Seminar 2019


June 12, 2019

Dear Professor Margherita Ganeri:

Congratulations on the excellent program that you put together for the Italian Diaspora Studies Seminar in Calabria. I think that you and the University of Calabria are to be commended for your visionary approach to the Italian Diaspora Studies Seminar by opening it globally to a contingent of creative writers who will then carry the message to other parts of the world. Your approach is exactly what made the Italian Diaspora Studies Seminar so unique. It was absolutely extraordinary that you were able to convene participants from so many different countries including Ghana, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States. I believe that they will convey positive responses to Calabria, its people, its landscape, and its food, back to their own countries. As you know, I traveled with Marianna, a participant from the Republic of Georgia, and she also wrote in praise of the seminar in her native Georgian language on Facebook and received hundreds of responses.

I would be remiss if I did not also indicate the level of enthusiasm from the participants for your seminars on Carlo Levi, the southern question, Calabria in history and culture. Participants were raving about how wonderful your lectures were and how enlightening. It’s obvious you’re a magnificent teacher and they could not have been happier. They also complimented you on the field trips you arranged which combined with your lectures gave them a much better picture of Calabria’s past. Also I am impressed by the speakers you brought in to address specific issues. The whole program was well- rounded and extremely effective. I think the University Of Calabria is lucky to you have you as a professor and the students who come in contact with you emerge richer and with more intellectual depth.

I want to particularly commend your attention to detail and the excellent planning that went into making the event such a success. For me, who had never been to Calabria, it was an experience I will never forget and I’m singing your praises, as well as those of the region and of the University of Calabria, everywhere I go.

As Executive Director of the Poetry Center in Paterson as well as Director of the Creative Writing Program and the Binghamton Center for Writers at Binghamton University-State University of New York, I, myself, have planned many programs and I know just how difficult an event of this nature is to pull together and you did such an incredible job. I can’t praise you

enough or thank you enough for providing this opportunity for all of us to have such a wonderful

experience and to meet so many participants from the Italian Diaspora. Personally, I had never heard the stories of Canadian-Italian or Australian-Italians told in the manner that they were by the individuals from those two countries and I’ve invited them to send work to me and to recruit other writers of Italian descent to send work to my poetry magazine. I look forward to the volume that you plan to produce as a result of this magnificent seminar.

I hope that the University of Calabria understands the extent of the service you performed on its behalf and for Italian Diaspora Studies. Again, my congratulations!


Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Executive Director

The Poetry Center

Passaic County Community College

Paterson, NJ, USA