Dear CAIS Members,
Had it not been for the COVID emergency, last week we would have held our conference in Sorrento. During the AGM on Sunday, June 7th I would have officially introduced Professor Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano as the new President of CAIS for 2020-2023.
My mandate as CAIS President is officially over as of last week. However, according to the changes in the CAIS constitution that we passed a year ago, the outgoing executive will function together with the new executive, in order to guarantee a smooth transition. Moreover, to ensure continuity, I will serve on the CAIS executive as Past President for the next three years.
As President of CAIS, I am happy to report that our association is economically in excellent standing and that, in the past six years, we were able to further increase the reputation of our organization around the world as a beacon of scholarship and diversity.
I am also pleased to report that during my tenure as President we reached some major milestones. Last year we changed the name of the organization from CSIS to CAIS, which became necessary in order to avoid any confusion with other Canadian organizations.
Thanks to our webmaster, Andre Mohan, we also recently redesigned our web page, which now has a more modern look.
We created the position of Communication Officer, which greatly improved our online presence and increased our numbers of followers. We now have around 1,300 followers on Facebook, almost 1,000 subscribers to our mailing list, and a few hundred followers on Instagram and Twitter. Our Communication Officer, Andrea Penso, will post his annual report on our web page soon.
We also organized two important conferences. The one that took place on the Ottawa campus in 2018 was the best-attended conference in Canada to date for CAIS/CSIS, with 110 participants. On that occasion we welcomed famous anthropologist Franco LaCecla, among other illustrious guests.
We also organized a conference in Orvieto and Ficulle in 2019. Among our guests we welcomed eminent political philosopher Giacomo Marramao. This was the most highly attended conference in terms of absolute numbers, with 280 participants.
Both conferences were beautiful and well attended and I was proud to welcome our colleagues both in Ottawa and in Umbria, two places that are very close to my heart.
If not for this year’s health emergency, our 2020 conference at Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento would undoubtedly have been a great success. We are very sorry that we could not be there this week and I am grateful to the Sant’Anna Institute for being there for us every step of the way and for their support and friendship for all these years.
Last but not least, we were extraordinarily proud to welcome Marco Paolini, renowned actor, playwright, and founder of Italian narrative theater, as our esteemed CAIS honorary member.
The beginning of 2020 was dramatic both for Italy and Canada and deeply affected our scholarly communities around the world. My heart is filled with sorrow after what we have all been through, including the fear and the uncertainties of these dramatic times, and most of all, for the loss of so many lives. We cannot foresee the human and economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, but I remain hopeful that we shall open a new chapter in the life of our countries and in the organization of our scholarly communities. For CAIS, I am confident that Professor Iannacito-Provenzano’s leadership will be vital to carry us through these difficult times. Professor Iannacito-Provenzano knows that she can always count on me as she takes on her role as President of CAIS, and I wish her all the best in this new adventure.
On a personal note, looking back on my three years as President, along with the previous three years as Vice President, I feel enormous gratitude for the many ways in which CAIS enriched my life. It gave me great pleasure to personally meet so many of you and to create long-lasting collaborations and friendships. I am particularly thankful for my collaboration with past and present members of the executive, in particular Sandra Parmegiani, who is now Director of our journal, Quaderni d’italianistica. I am also grateful for the work and dedication that our Communication Officer, Andrea Penso, has given to CAIS. Finally, CAIS owes a great debt of gratitude to Andre Mohan, our webmaster, for his professionalism, knowledge, and unfailing availability.
In closing, I wish us all a productive second part of this year, with continuous engagement with Italian studies and with all the other things that matter in our lives as scholars of the discipline. Let us all concentrate on our health and productivity in the coming year.
It was a privilege to serve. Until we see each other again, I remain yours,
Past President, CAIS