Promoting the study of the Italian language at foreign universities plays an essential role in Italy’s cultural diplomacy. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation promotes Italian at foreign universities mainly through Italian language lecturers’ posts, as well as grants to Italian Chairs.
Grants for the creation and operation of Italian Chairs at foreign university institutions
Desk IV of the Directorate General for Public and Cultural Diplomacy provides grants for the creation and operation of Italian Chairs at foreign universities, intended to cover all or part of the salaries of lecturers and professors employed directly by the universities under local law contracts. In particular, support is provided for innovative projects aimed at the use of new technologies, as well as courses in strategic sectors (architecture, design, economics, food and wine) and, more generally, courses designed to have a large-scale impact in terms of increasing the number of the Italian language students.
The Ministry ensures the presence of Italian lecturers at foreign universities through the posting of tenured lecturers of Italian language and literature from Italy. The procedure is managed by Desk V of the Directorate General for Public and Cultural Diplomacy.
Reaching students all over the world in this way is an important result for spreading the Italian language in a strategic segment of qualified audiences.
The lecturer’s role
Lecturers are a major resource in the higher education system abroad: they are tenured teachers in Italian secondary schools called to hold Italian teaching posts at foreign universities, by also collaborating in providing assistance and tutorship to students and carrying out research activities in the field of Italian language and culture.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation may also entrust lecturers with the task of carrying out additional activities to promote the Italian language and culture by giving them non-academic assignments, which may include organising cultural events; teaching Italian language and culture in the courses organised by the Italian cultural institutes, diplomatic representations or consular offices; developing bilateral cultural relations, also with reference to scholarships and youth exchanges.
Teachers are selected on the basis of a competition organized every three years by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Education, which jointly manage the procedures. The requirements are to hold a degree in languages or literature and to be a tenured teacher in lower and upper secondary schools. Those with a degree in languages must also have passed at least two exams in the Italian language and/or literature during their university studies. It is also possible to apply for a lecturer’s post with a local assignment by applying directly to foreign universities. In this case, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs directly provides funding to foreign universities by supporting the creation and operation of Italian Chairs. Finally, after having consulted the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education may collaborate with foreign universities in the selection of specialised staff to whom it intends to entrust the teaching of Italian language and culture.
Italian lecturers’ posts around the world
130 lecturers’ posts have been established in the 2021/2022, of which 45 with extra-academic assignments, distributed in 63 countries around the world. Europe is the geographical area with the largest number of lecturers (62), followed by the Americas and by Asia and Oceania (21 and 24, respectively).
Browse the map and discover the Chairs and lecturers’ posts supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation throughout the world.