The Società Dante Alighieri was established in Italy in 1889 to maintain and promote the Italian language and culture abroad. It is made up of local Committees in Italy and abroad and is administered by a Council in Rome. The poet Giosuè Carducci was the foremost inspirer. In the manifesto of the foundation it was stated that wherever there was an accent of our language there was a piece of our homeland and it was impossible to forget. The fundamental vocation of the Dante Alighieri Society has been, and still is, to assist Italian emigrants.

This vocation for the Italian immigration world was restated by Ruggero Bonghi, historian, scholar, and first President. In his speech in Rome (March 1890) at the first congress of the Society, he stated the following:

We must defend in the hearts of the emigrants the Italian civilization and character, and encourage them to be the representatives in front of everyone […] Gentlemen, this is the goal of the Society named after the great poet Dante Alighieri.

To understand this heartfelt concern for the emigrants, it is important to remember that, in 1887, there were 215,665 emigrants who were without assistance of any kind. This was evident by the absence of Italian cultural-educative organizations abroad.

In 1888, Italian Prime Minister Francesco Crispi had a program approved that would create and establish schools abroad. Unfortunately, his government fell two years later and Crispi's plan was axed due to budgetary constraints.

To the question: What to do?  

Bonghi, President of the Dante Alighieri Society, boldly answered the question. He stated, “We will establish schools, we will write and spread books, we will establish libraries and will defend the rightful interests…”

And, since 1889, the “Dante” has made giant steps in the field of educative and cultural assistance to Italian emigrants.

In 1992, it was composed of the following:

  • In Italy: 110 Committees and 375,000 members
  • Abroad: 425 Committee in 58 countries with 500,000 members, 3,000 schools with 110,000 students
Presidents of the Edmonton Committee of the Dante Alighieri Society (1961–2007)
  • Sabatino Roncucci
  • Antonio Falcone
  • Antonio Caria
  • Nando Zenari
  • Ubaldo Aloisio
  • Dott. Joseph Pivato
  • Giovanni Bragaglia
  • Giancarlo Grelli
  • Prof. Enrico Musacchio
  • Reny Clericuzio

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