FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, DC – June 25, 2003) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) and UNICO National worked together with Matilda Raffa Cuomo, former NIAF board member, and the Embassy of Italy to have the College Board unanimously approve an Italian language course and exam to be part of the Advanced Placement (AP) Program for high school students. AP Italian will be offered in the Fall of 2005.
“The creation of a nationwide AP Italian Program helps guarantee that the Italian language and culture will be preserved in the next generation,” NIAF Chairman Frank J. Guarini said.
AP Programs, offered by the College Board, provide students the opportunity to pursue college-level courses while still in high school, and approximately 60 percent of the nation’s high schools offer AP college-level courses. Currently, the only foreign languages offered by the AP Program are French, German, Spanish and Latin.
The campaign for an AP Italian program began in the 1990s. In January 2002, Cuomo organized a meeting between the College Board AP director and representatives from the American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI), OSIA, NIAF and the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC. Later that year, these organizations submitted to the College Board a list of approximately 500 high schools interested in offering an AP Italian course. Additionally, the Republic of Italy pledged $300,000 for the AP Italian language campaign and $200,000 was committed by NIAF, OSIA and UNICO National.
According to the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Italian is the fourth most taught language in the United States. Italian language enrollment in U.S. high schools rose 46 percent between 1994-2000 compared to Spanish enrollment (26 percent). French and German dropped 2.75 percent and 13 percent, respectively.