When Italian ambassador to the United States Claudio Bisogniero steps out into the frigid Milwaukee sunlight today, he’ll have a busy day ahead of him.
Bisogniero will visit MPS, MAM and the ICC today as part of a tour of Midwestern states.
First, the ambassador will visit students, staff and parents from Milwaukee Public Schools’ Italian language partial immersion program at Victory School, 2222 W. Henry Ave., on the city’s far South Side.
The school was the birthplace of the Italian immersion program in 2006 and despite a series of ups and downs, the rare public school Italian immersion program expands with some teachers from Italy joining the staff.
Five new Italian teachers were added to the program this year, including four from the Terra Madre, hired by principal Janine Graber and MPS’ Office of Human Capital in collaboration with WisItalia, a non-profit group that advocates for and supports the teaching of Italian.
The new teachers will help add seventh and eighth grade levels to the program, which began at K4 and added grades with each new year.
"We are proud of our program, grateful for the help of the Italian government to strengthen it and honored that Ambassador Bisogniero will be able to see it firsthand," said Graber in a statement issued by MPS.
Next, Bisogniero will visit Milwaukee Art Museum to see "Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting From Glasgow Museums."
Then, he will be feted in a reception held at the Italian Community Center at 4:45. ICC president Giuseppe Vella has invited representatives from all the city’s Italian cultural groups and mutual aid societies to welcome the ambassador.
This morning the ambassador is in Madison to meet with Gov. Scott Walker.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.