Interview with Paola Cordone (Istituto Italiano di Cultura)

Summer has arrived to the Netherlands, but our local EUNIC Cluster never stops. Neither do its members! EUNIC – Interviews is the ideal platform to introduce you our Italian colleague Paola Cordone, and the beautiful cultural events she is involved with during this warm season 🇮🇹🇳🇱🇪🇺

What kind of projects is Paola working on since she became the Director of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Amsterdam? What changed in her professional experience since the outbreak of the pandemic? How did she like her arrival to Amsterdam early this year?

1) What role do you play in your institute/embassy?

I am the Director of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Amsterdam, which is part of a network of 83 Italian Cultural Institutes in the world. The Italian Institutes depend from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy and, therefore, we are part of the Italian diplomatic mission to the Netherlands, led by the Embassy of Italy. The Institutes’ mission is to promote the Italian language and culture, both classic and contemporary. We do so by offering courses of Italian language and by organizing events which focus on various cultural sectors, from literature to art, from music to cinema, from theatre to gastronomy.

An important aspect of our mission is to establish and enhance the collaboration between Italian institutions and artists with the numerous local partners. A good example of this cooperation is the exhibition that was inaugurated on July 10 in Den Haag, ‘Le latitudini dell’arte‘, organized by institutions and galleries of our two countries. Italian contemporary artists could exhibit their works together with artists living in the Netherlands, giving rise to a fruitful artistic dialogueThe Italian Cultural Institute is located in a fascinating historical building in Amsterdam in Keizersgracht and I hope that soon, if the sanitary situation keeps improving, we will be able to welcome anyone wishing to learn Italian or visit our library or attend the events that we will propose.

2) How do you contribute to EUNIC?

I arrived in Amsterdam very recently and I haven’t had the chance to follow from the beginning the initiatives organized by EUNIC for this year; nevertheless, the Italian Institute participated to the European Literature Night 2021, which took place on June 19 and was a great success, and we will be part of many more projects. The EUNIC meetings to which I participated so far were very interesting: EUNIC Netherlands is a big cluster and the first impression I got is that all the participants seem very active, dynamic, and friendly.

3) What is the best aspect about being a EUNIC Netherlands’ member?

I arrived in Amsterdam last March and, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, so far I have not had the opportunity to know many people or visit many cultural centres. I had a chance to see the colleagues online via Zoom meetings, but I am now really looking forward to get to know them ‘live’. In my experience, it is very important to be able to meet, exchange ideas, competences, strengths, or talk about the problems we have to deal with in our job. Very often we discover that the challenges we face are surprisingly similar, and it is very useful to have the opportunity to share our concerns and to feel that we are part of a community that we can count on, wherever we are posted in the world.

Thank you, Paola Cordone, for sharing your experience joining EUNIC Netherlands.