A few months ago, the Italian Government decided to establish a remembrance day for Dante Alighieri, and the chosen date is 25 March.
After 700 years, Italy and the world are ready to celebrate the Greatest of Poets on a special day, featuring various activities in schools, city squares, town halls and libraries.

The situation we are going through at the moment makes it impossible to organize meetings and students aren't going to school. However, Dante is stronger than this predicament. This is why the Italian weekly magazine Panorama has launched an initiative that we hope will unite Italy and the world in his name.

We at Venice International University are supporting this initiative and we have asked our Member Universities whether Professors of Italian Literature, Medieval History, Philosophy and Political Science and their students might wish to take part in remembering a Poet that continues to have such an important role in Italian literature and world thought.

On Wednesday 25 March at 1pm (italian time) we were all invited to read the first verses of the first Canto of the Inferno, starting with the famous line "Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita”, up to verse 27. Five minutes of Dante, all together in a spontaneous flashmob.

This initiative succeeded in uniting us for a few minutes in the name of culture, by means of an extraordinary and eternal text such as Dante's, but it was also an invitation to rediscover the work of Dante Alighieri, beyond the merely symbolic gesture needed to praise and to start anew.

The success of this flashmob was due in part to the people who found the time to read over the text and made its beauty ring out, understood it and owned it. We will find that Dante Alighieri has so much to tell us and give us to help us understand our present time and one another.

This could be the start of a cultural redemption, with Dante at the helm and we as his followers, guided by the beauty, the wisdom, the art and the courage of the Florentine Poet.

We managed to make this first Dante Day special in all the Universities of the VIU Network by gathering around a Poet "who soars above all others like the eagle" and becoming his students once more.

Dante wrote the masterpiece of Italian literature in very difficult circumstances, in exile: hopefully we too will soon rise again from this condition of suspended time with that same energy and lucidity.

Here below you can find the contributions of VIU Member Universities EUSP, Ljubljana and Waseda, and of the Institute of Italian Culture in Tokyo.

European University at St. Petersburg
Professors Natalia Mazur, Oleg Kharkhordin et al.
Canto 1, lines 1-27 (Youtube video)

European University at St. Petersburg
Professor Oleg Kharkhordin
Message on the significance of Dante for Russian culture (Youtube video)

University of Ljubljana
Professor Boris A. Novak
Dante in The Doors of No Return (pdf file)

Waseda University
Professor Kate Elwood
Dante in Japan (Youtube video)

Tokyo University (via the Institute of Italian Culture in Tokyo)
Professor Mariko Muramatsu 
Youtube video

John Cabot University
A joint collaboration of the Departments of English Language and Literature and Modern Languages and Literature
Youtube video
Read the news published on the JCU Website here

Christine Bach (Présidente du Cercle Littéraire "Le Rendez-Vous Rive Gauche")
Youtube video

Simonetta Greggio (writer)
Youtube video