Andrea Lemma

General Director  @ Dante Alighieri Lab (Società Dante Alighieri)

Tiago Spagolla

Patrick Ohnewein

In the last three years, innovation and the digitalisation of professions have greatly affected the way we all work. For you who deal with offices located all over the world daily, how has this transformation influenced relationships and collaborations?

“For us, as for many, it was a moment of profound change, in some ways induced by the pandemic and in others strongly sought by President Riccardi. The Società Dante Alighieri was founded in 1889 by Giosuè Carducci and a group of intellectuals, in 134 years of history it has recorded and dealt with global crises, yet this was a time of extraordinary acceleration. We felt the urgent need to stay close to our global community by intervening with direct support and job opportunities, thus was set up, the platform for Italian language and culture around the world.”

In your portal you talk about hybrid courses. The concept of online classes has recently been completely legitimized through digital transformation, in some ways “forced” by lockdowns. How do you try to keep the digital experience as “human” as possible? Have you noticed differences in the results achieved through in-person or hybrid/online courses?

“Our digital transition plan could be titled “For a New Humanism”: focuses on the person, this was our main goal. We wanted to reach out to our 135,000 members and millions of “Italsimpatici” with the idea of making ourselves available, so we rethought the system in a bottom-up mode. Through CTA we receive requests from students, members, teachers, candidates, examiners, writers, and readers: students, in particular are interested in an educational environment with authentic teaching methods and materials. Our courses involve the presence of a lecturer; therefore, they are a combination of synchronous and asynchronous modes. We aim for immersive learning in our hybrid classrooms and pure online offerings. We can involve teachers and students in different time zones around the world by organizing international or vertical classes, followed for example in the case of the Chinese community, by a native Sino-speaking teacher. Online is a democratic choice; it puts everyone in a position to follow courses because it breaks down distances. The results are amazing, both in terms of participation and learning levels.”

There is a lot of talk about virtual tours designed to visit priceless cultural sites such as the Sistine Chapel. Do you also foresee increasing digitalisation of the experiences offered to your customers, or, in the case of Italy, does the real and not virtual connection with the territory maintain a key role in conveying an effective experience?

“ is a digital monument erected to Dante for the seventh centenary of his death. With the patronage of the National Committee of Celebrations set up at the MIBACT, the Società Dante Alighieri has chosen to promote the Italian places visited by the Supreme Poet or mentioned in the Divine Comedy in a tourist-literary key.”

“The idea of Secretary General Masi was the result of the long journey by Prof. Ferroni, scientific supervisor of the project, who followed Dante’s footsteps in today’s Italy, evoking that of the past with the authors and artists who enrich our history and culture. The “Viaggio nell’Italia di Dante” is the first national Dante itinerary that winds through Italian cities, towns, places, and landscapes enhanced by history and excellence, promoted by events by the Dante network. We are interconnected, we promote Italian culture and language digitally, with, and in person with a network of 482 committees, 350 exam centers and 93 literary centers around the world. Ours is certainly a physical-digital cultural model: people always come first.”

23 March 2023