I.A.I. Papers 2006
La Trobe University,
THE BOOK: The
Italian Australian Institute (I.A.I.) is a non-profit organisation
operating under the auspices of the Grollo-Ruzzene Foundation in
partnership with La Trobe University and with the support of community
organisations such as the Associazione Nazionale Alpini (an organisation
of Italian ex-servicemen and their families).
Its aims are to encourage and
support study and research into all areas - historical, cultural,
social, political - of the Italian presence in Australia.
The Italian Australian Institute (I.A.I.)
in its present form and programs was founded on the basis of the
recommendations emerging from the Congress "In search of the Italian
Australian into the New Millennium" held in Melbourne from the 24th to
the 26th May 2000.
The premises of the I.A.I. are on
the campus of the La Trobe University, which has a long history of
involvement with Italian studies and boasts a strong tradition of
teaching Italian language and culture as well as research into all
aspects of the two hundred year Italian presence in Australia.
In order to implement its mission
as fully as possible, the Institute also actively seeks partnerships
with the Victorian Government and other tertiary institutions in
Victoria, throughout the rest of Australia, and overseas.
The Italian Australian Institute is
also interested in enhancing the relationship between Italy and
Australia, especially in terms of the younger generations.
One of the fundamental aims of the
Institute is to motivate, encourage and offer increasing support to
young scholars in all research endeavours pertaining to the field of
Italian studies in Australia.
It does this by awarding
scholarships to research students specialising in these fields, by
organising conferences and seminars, and by publishing and distributing
the results of past and present research.
The Institute and the La Trobe
University are already discussing the option of increasing the number
and the value of scholarships and we are confident that the Victorian
Government Ministry for Education and Ethnic Affairs will be happy to
cooperate in this enterprise.
The I.A.I. operates as a custodian
for the Italian heritage of Australia by collecting and preserving any
material which bears witness to Italian culture in this country, so that
it will remain accessible for future generations in particular those
interested in consulting it for research purposes.
The I.A.I. holds an extensive
library covering all aspects of Italian immigration to Australia and the
rest of the world. It contains thousands of volumes and documents,
with sufficient scope to allow it to continue in its mission to collect
any archives, books and documents which the Italian community and other
organisations may intend to donate. Otherwise, these risk being
lost or destroyed, as has been happening all too frequently in the
The Institute has already received
on of the largest collections of books and papers relating to the
Italian presence in Australia, donated by the Melbourne and Sydney
chapters of the Scalabrinian Brothers. This collection documents
over half a century of selfless commitment within the varied and dynamic
world of immigration and constitutes an indispensable tool both for
academic researchers and social workers.
In the state of Victoria alone
there are more than three hundred regional social clubs, professional
associations, returned soldiers associations etc., of which only about
ten have their own premises.
A further aim of the I.A.I. is to
act as a magnet for these Organisations, providing on request a place
for their committees to meet, as well as storage for documents
pertaining to their activities, if for various reasons they cannot do
this on their own premises.
The main office of the Institute is
located in a vast complex of buildings and gardens all protected by the
National Trust. The wide open spaces and the availability of a
large theatre allow hosting of both social and recreational activities.
Some of the other buildings close
to the I.A.I. premises are already housing the Centre for Hellenic
Studies and it is anticipated that more research Institutes will be set
up here in the future.