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About the Academy

In addition to the interdisciplinary Fellowship Program, which is described in detail below and which is the principal focus of the work of the Academy, new initiatives include:

A distinguished Visiting Professorship in Italian studies, in the fields of art history, archaeology, music and Italian, made possible by multi-year funding from the Compagnia di San Paolo (see details here);

The Advanced Program of Ancient History and Art, a summer archaeology program co-sponsored by Sapienza University of Rome's Honors Center for Italian Universities (H2CU). The program sends graduates and undergraduates to work at a spectacular villa near Vesuvius and --in Summer 2014-- at Hadrian's Villa near Rome for a credit-bearing Columbia course (see details here);

A grant from the Kress Foundation that (along with support from other institutions) sustains the Academies Project at the Italian Academy, a virtual library offering complete digitized books and manuscripts on the history of scholarly and artistic academies from the Renaissance onward (see details here);

A Visiting Scholar exchange program including cooperation on joint conferences with SISSA, the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati in Trieste;

The program on Law and its Manifestations in which the Academy, in conjunction with the Heyman Center for the Humanities, supports research and seminars to look at law and its images, and at the relationship between law and nature in theory, philosophy, history, and religious thought (see details of the 2011 and 2012 conferences supported by the Academy as part of this initiative).

These initiatives build on the impetus of other recent projects including the Academy's series of Art and Neuroscience conferences; the three dedicated Bodini fellowships offered in the fields of culture and religion, psychiatry, and finance; and the prestigious Premio New York for promising young Italian artists.
The Italian Academy was created in 1991 on the basis of a charter signed by the President of the Republic of Italy and the President of Columbia University. It was conceived as a center for advanced research in areas relating to Italian culture, science and society. It was also intended to provide a locus for collaborative projects between senior Italian and American scholars, particularly those open to interdisciplinary research. Given its international scope and its long-standing commitment to all aspects of Italian culture and society, Columbia was seen as an especially appropriate context for such a venture.

Funding for the Academy came from an endowment established at Columbia in 1991 by the Republic of Italy; since then, a variety of foundations and private donors have provided other endowments and gifts.

McKim Mead and White's 1927 Casa Italiana, elegantly reconstructed by Italo Rota and Sam White in 1993, is the home of the Academy. It provides an exceptional series of offices for the Academy's Fellows, as well as housing a library and a magnificent theater, in Neo-Renaissance style, in which major academic, theatrical and musical events regularly take place. (See our Annual Report).

At the core of the work of the Academy lies its Fellowship Program. Fellowships are open to senior scholars at the post-doctoral level and above who wish to devote a semester or a full academic year to genuinely innovative work. The most advanced part of the Fellowship Program is the Academy's ongoing Project in Art and Neuroscience, in which scholars in both the humanities and the sciences work together in assessing the significance of the latest developments in genetics and the neurosciences for the humanities, and vice-versa.

The Academy also serves as the chief reference point in the United States (as well as a frequent meeting place) for all links between the worlds of higher education in Italy and the US. Furthermore, its theater, library, and other public spaces offer important locations for a variety of performances, concerts and exhibitions designed to enhance cultural relations between the Republic of Italy and the artistic, political, and academic communities of New York and the United States.

Given the preeminence of New York in the field of contemporary art, the Italian Foreign Ministry, in collaboration with the Academy, has established an annual New York Prize (Premio New York) for distinguished work in the visual arts. Its purpose is to enable two promising young Italian artists, hosted by the Academy, to spend one or two semesters working in the city.