“Bühnensprache Italienisch, anderswo’’ The Role of Italian Language on Foreign Theatre Stages

The Swiss Embassy in Berlin promotes the 19th Italian Language Week

October 28th, 2019
Marta Faraoni & Giulia Russo Wälti, News from Berlin

During the 19th Week of Italian Language in the World, the Embassy of Switzerland organizes a panel debate about the international role of the Italian language in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute.

On the 28th of October 2019, the Swiss Embassy in Berlin hosted the panel debate “Bühnensprache Italienisch, anderswo” or “Italian language on the stage” in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in Berlin. The Swiss Ambassador, H.E. Paul Seger, and the Italian Ambassador, H.E. Luigi Mattiolo, made a short speech where they underlined the cultural and economic connections between Italy and Switzerland. These countries have strong relations, in part because Italian is one of the four official languages in Switzerland. Since the focus of the conference was the use of the Italian language in the world, the conference was held in Italian, and a German translator translated from Italian to German. Prof. Lorenzo Filipponio from Humboldt-Universität Berlin was the conference moderator, while Mrs. Sara Rossi Guidicelli and Mr. Franco Sepe were the two main speakers.

Mrs. Guidicelli is a Swiss Italian speaker that studied Russian and French at the Ca’Foscari University of Venice. She has traveled extensively in eastern Europe, and lived for a long period in Italy after completing her studies. Now, she works as a journalist and writer in Valle di Blenio in Switzerland, and she has recently published “Nataša prende il bus” or “Nataša catches the bus” written in Italian. Mr. Franco Sepe is an Italian writer and professor at Potsdam University. He studied Psychology and Philosophy at Sapienza University in Rome, and then he moved to Berlin to join the Italian research team “Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche”. Currently, he teaches Italian culture and language at Potsdam University, located near Berlin. This event focused on discussing how Italian is a flexible language, that still plays a relevant role in the international cultural stage thanks to Italian and Swiss writers and artists.

Switzerland has a total of 8.5 million inhabitants, including approximately 5.9 million residents in the German areas, 1.7 million in the French areas, and more than 350,000 residents in the only Italian-speaking area, Ticino. This country shares the culture and identity deriving from the common languages with its neighboring countries, the four official languages in Switzerland; namely German, French, Italian and Romansh. Given its central position on the European continent, diplomatic relations between Switzerland, Germany, and Italy are essential to foster trade, services and cultural exchanges. For this reason, representatives of the government of Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union, promote their national interests through agreements within other multilateral organizations and through bilateral agreements with German and Italian governments.

Political and economic cooperation with its neighbors is a key component of Switzerland’s foreign policy, but it would be a mistake not to also consider the network of cultural collaborations which characterizes relations between the countries with which Swiss citizens share a part of their identity- a common language. This initiative promoted by the Swiss Embassy in Berlin, namely the collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture for the promotion of the Week of the Italian language in the world, is an example of how culture, and in this case the Italian language, can not only unite in diplomatic relations between ambassadors, but also in civil society.


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