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NIAF SUPPORTS AP ITALIAN WITH $500,000 CHALLENGE GRANT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or elissa@niaf.org


(WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 26, 2010) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is proud to announce that we will support the Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Culture Program in Italian for high school students across the nation with a $500,000 matching grant.

”The study of the Italian language and its culture is at the core of NIAF’s mission to preserve and expand our rich heritage,” NIAF Secretary John F. Calvelli, said. “NIAF’s Board of Directors are determined to give students the opportunity to obtain college credit for their work and voted unanimously to fund this project during its board meeting.”

“NIAF’s decision, demonstrating a commitment for which I am thankful, confirms the importance of the partnership established by the Italian Government and the principal Italian American organizations for the purpose of reinstating Italian in the AP Program. Hon. Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Ambassador of Italy to the United States, said. This establishes an important example that, I am certain, will be followed by other organizations.”

Ambassador Terzi secured a commitment from the Italian government for $1.5 million over a three-year period toward the program. The Embassy of Italy and NIAF join a coalition organized by The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, of which NIAF is an active member, in launching a nationwide campaign to raise the funds necessary for the remaining $1 million needed by the College Board. Other members include OSIA, UNICO, the Columbus Citizens Foundation and the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit.

In 2005, the College Board began offering AP Italian but announced three years later that it would cancel the program after the 2008-2009 academic year, citing lack of interest, unless outside funds totaling $3 million became available. Despite extensive work within the Italian American community, the AP Italian program ended in 2009. Although some high schools continue to teach the Italian language, even at the AP level, AP Italian exams are no longer offered. As a result, students of Italian can not obtain college credit for their work, deterring some from studying the language and prompting them to instead study French, Spanish, German or even Japanese – all languages for which AP exams are offered.

To support the NIAF AP Italian Matching Fund and for more information, contact Serena Cantoni, NIAF director of education and culture, at 202-939-3111 or serena@niaf.org.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage and culture of American of Italian decent. Visit www.niaf.org




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