SUF students help Italians reclaim Sicilian land
SUF students help Italians reclaim Sicilian landJune 26, 2007Daeya Malboeufdmking04@syr.edu
On June 27, two dozen Syracuse University Florence students will leave Florence, Italy, to spend four days in Sicily, as part of a new summer course on the Italian Mafia, taught by SUF professor Natalia Piombino. What makes this field study stand out from the ordinary is that the students will be accompanied by the consul general of the United States, Nora Dempsey, and the vice president of the Region of Tuscany, Federico Gelli. Both officials have expressed their strong support for the work the students will be engaged in — working in fields that have been confiscated from the Mafia by the Italian government.
The SUF students will work side-by-side with Italian students, helping in the cultivation of the vineyards and harvesting tomatoes. Several educational and social activities are planned to allow the students to deepen their knowledge of the Italian Mafia, as well as to get to know one another in a completely different setting.
“It is really exciting to be going to Sicily and seeing it through the eyes of those who live there rather than as tourists. Plus, we’re getting a completely unique learning experience,” says SUF student Jessi Eaves.
This is the second time that SUF will be sending students to Sicily. The volunteer work in the fields confiscated from Mafia bosses has become a high-profile, national symbol of public support in Italy’s fight for the rule of law. The presence of the consul general and the vice president of the region reinforces the strong official support for this initiative, especially as it involves Italian and American students working together in the fields, as a transnational affirmation of legality.
“By providing our students with examples of active engagement, we ask them to contribute to a better civil society,” says SUF Director Barbara Deimling. “This is not just study abroad, not just academics — but Scholarship in Action.”
On Sunday, July 1, a press conference will be held in the Town Hall of Corleone, with Vice President of the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission Giuseppe Lumia; Gelli; Dempsey; Deimling; Mayor of Corleone Nino Iannazzo; President of the Cooperative Lavoro e non solo Calogero Parisi; Secretary of ARCI, Sicily, Anna Bucca; and project coordinator “Liberarci dale Spine,” Maurizio Pascucci.
SUF is part of Syracuse University Abroad (SU Abroad), which consistently ranks among the best international education programs in the country. More than 2,000 students from both SU and colleges across the country study abroad with SU every year.
SU Abroad programs foster scholarship in action through a combination of world travel, academic excellence, internships and community collaboration. The University currently operates seven centers: Beijing, Florence, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Santiago and Strasbourg. Through the World Partners program, SU students may also study in more than 20 additional countries, including Australia, Chile, Ecuador, Israel, India, Korea and Russia. Visit http://suabroad.syr.edu to learn more.