Education: Building the Future

After interviewing female leaders in the cultural and business fields, we went to the university this week to listen to outstanding female leaders in the education industry.

Teachers play an important part in creating the next generation’s talents of the world. This week we interviewed together two women: Peng Yan (right) and Clara Trivellone (center), lecturers in the Italian Department at Nanjing Normal University. With their strong will and determination, they are successfully managing and training students from all over China to build a more connected future.


Clara Trivellone: I teach in the Italian Department of the Faculty of Foreign Languages of Nanjing Normal University. I am mainly responsible for a series of Italian-taught courses such as: reading and conversation, writing, history, history of art and literature, ... Through the Italian Department and its Research Centre for Italian Cultural Studies, we mainly cooperate with the Italian Institute of Culture and the Consulate General of Shanghai for any kind of cultural event that may be organized in Nanjing. (You can look at the IIC online archive for information and photos of past events).

Peng Yan: I work in the Faculty of Foreign Languages of Nanjing Normal University. I am a lecturer in the Italian Department and a researcher in the Italian Cultural Research Center. The main courses taught include basic to advanced Italian, Italian-Chinese translation, and economic and trade Italian language. On behalf of the school, I often cooperate with the Italian Government Institute of Culture Consulate General of Italy in Shanghai to organize cultural and artistic activities related to China and Italy, such as China-Italy Education Summit Forum, art performances, academic lectures, and campus screenings of Italian films. We are also actively cooperating with companies to launch lectures and practical classes related to Italian food and culture. At the same time, we also invite entrepreneurs to campus to provide students with employment activities and learning.


Clara Trivellone: My difficulties mainly depend on my training and position. was appointed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a public exam for teachers of Italian language and culture that can be sent to work in almost any country in the world and not specific to China. As a consequence, when I first arrived in China, I did not have a deep understanding of the local language and culture, so some difficulties arose.

Peng Yan: I think the biggest difficulty is to help students build up the awareness and ability of cross-cultural communication. This ability is based on a thorough understanding of Chinese and Italian culture, as well as an independent thinking spirit. Our challenge and mission is to cultivate outstanding foreign language talents who will bridge the economic, political, and cultural fields between the two countries after graduation to overcome cultural barriers.


Clara Trivellone: For me personally, working in the education industry is the realization of my professional ideals. In terms of communication between the two countries, education provides strong support for the consolidation of bilateral exchanges and cooperation. We have the opportunity to stimulate young students’ interest in appreciating the common points in the different cultures.

Peng Yan: During our work we have met many people with strong language skills, and this is a good starting point. China and Italy have a very long and rich historical, philosophical, artistical background. In this sense we are very lucky to be able to teach an instrument, the study of the language, to our students. In this way they can be part of the foundation of connecting the two worlds together and promote the development of the two countries.

Third-party support

Clara Trivellone: I think third-party companies can provide a lot of help to foreign lecturers like me. Considering my position as a great opportunity to work for a better knowledge not only of the Italian language but also of Italian culture in China, I have been working to strengthen the connection between the Italian community in Nanjing and the department. This work is very difficult to accomplish on your own. With the support of Chinese and Italian sponsors and companies, third-party companies have the opportunity to organize cultural events in Shanghai, Nanjing and surrounding cities. Involving our Department and our students in these events, they can contribute to the growth of the interest for Italian language and culture in China among younger generations; this is of extraordinary importance for the relationship between the two countries.

Peng Yan: Because most of the teacher’s knowledge comes from books and media, the information and personal experience they are exposed to are limited. Students’ practical knowledge comes from third-party partners. In particular, consulting companies have the opportunity to have access to various communication channels between the two countries. We encourage professionals to come to our school to share their experience of the working world, so that our students are more connected to it.

Thanks to Professor Peng and Professor Trivellone and our trainee Angelica Wang for the time dedicated. Stay tuned for the next interview!

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