Over two and a half days on the last weekend in November, the National Italian Youth Forum 2011, by GIA (Giovani Italiani Australia) will attract young people from all over Australia to exchange ideas about Italian culture and issues affecting the Italian community.
GIA is an Italian-Australian national youth network of volunteers that promotes Italian language and culture to the wider community. This year the Forum will take place in Victoria in Carlton - Melbourne's own Little Italy - as well as in the city and South Yarra - all great tourist hubs for any interstate and international visitors thinking about attending this event.
18-35 year-olds who register for the Forum can get involved in workshops and discussion panels that focus on Italian language, traditions, food and travel or you might just want to meet new people to extend your networks. But if you think the Forum is just a serious event, GIA insists that it will also be serious fun. There will be many opportunities to socialise and try out some Italian bars and cafes in Lygon Street or Chapel Street between sessions, or in the city once the main business is over.
Speaking of business, important issues such as the teaching of Italian in schools and the role of young people in maintaining their Italian heritage in Australia are some of the topics that will be covered. For newly-arrived Italians to our shores, a free workshop will be offered to help them make the most of their time in Australia. Experts will give tips on how to find work, look for accommodation, study English or apply for relevant visas and permits. A new website called punto informativo will be launched to provide this information online for future vistors to Australia.
During the event you can learn to play and compete in a scopa (card-game) tournament, discover a new dish at the Mangia! Mangia! cooking demonstrations or take a guided tour through the new interactive Museo Italiano (Italian Museum).
A Mercato della Domencia (Sunday Market) will be set up by various Italian organisations, associations and clubs in Australia on the final day to showcase their social and cultural activities. And if you're thinking of visiting Italy in the near future, here's a chance to speak to travel operators to help you organise your plans for working, studying or just plain backpacking through Italy.
And by the way, you don't have to have an Italian background to attend the Forum; you just need an interest in the culture and language but be sure to register in advance at the website below.