Ambassadorial concern over status of Italian languageStudent life
Italy’s ambassador is concerned with the standing of the Italian language at Swedish universities.
– From language comes everything else, says ambassador Angelo Persiani.
”I turn to you in this severely dire hour for Italian education in Sweden”.
This is how Italian ambassador Angelo Persiani begins a concerned letter to the principals of Sweden’s five largest universities, regarding the state of Italian at the universities.
In his letter from June 25, the Italian ambassador points at the graveness of the University of Gothenburg canceling their courses in Italian, starting January 2013. He also fears similar developments at other Swedish universities.
According to ambassador Angelo Persiani this is not in line with other trends in society. He mentions the lively cultural relations, trade exchange and industrial relations between Italy and Sweden.
– It is important to know languages to understand cultures. It is not efficient to do so through a third language, says ambassador Angelo Persiani in an interview with Lundagård.
This is not the first time an ambassador has expressed concern over cutbacks in Swedish universities. Some years back the Finnish ambassador reacted to Lund University’s dismantling of the Finno-Ugric institution.
In a reply to the Italian ambassador, the principals of Lund and Uppsala Universities, Per Eriksson and Eva Åkesson, writes that it is up to the individual faculties to plan their own courses and research, and that there will not be any further cutbacks in Italian at the universities of Lund and Uppsala.
”Concerning Uppsala and Lund Universities, we would like to stress that the state of Italian is not threatened at either one of the faculties. On the contrary, there are improvements being made, for instance through new hirings at both universities”, writes Eva Åkesson and Per Eriksson.
Ambassador Angelo Persiani is satisfied with the response from all concerned university principals. He has also taken an interest in the media debate regarding the impending cutbacks at the University of Gothenburg.
– Every principal has answered by mail, saying that there is no threat to the standing of Italian at the universities. There are even some universities planning to increase their budgets. We are satisfied with the response, says ambassador Angelo Persiani.
Text: Bengt Pettersson
Translation: Jesper Lodin