The American Association of Teachers of Italian is a professional organization of scholars worldwide who contribute to the multi-disciplinary field of Italian Studies through teaching, research, and service. Our mission is to promote, advance, and preserve the study of Italian language, literature, and culture in its multiple historical and contemporary manifestations. The AATI achieves these goals by sponsoring meetings, seminars, conferences, competitions, workshops, national examinations, the National Italian Honor Society, and by publishing the quarterly journal Italica, dedicated to excellence in teaching and research in all areas of Italian studies. The AATI also collaborates with other professional organizations to accomplish its objectives.

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The American Association of Teachers of Italian

For over a century, the American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI) has played a pivotal role in promoting the study and teaching of the Italian language and culture in the United States. Established in 1924, AATI has grown to become a leading organization, fostering academic exchange, professional development, and cultural enrichment among Italian language educators.

Founding Years and Early Growth

The origins of AATI can be traced back to the early 1920s when a small group of Italian language teachers convened to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by educators in the field. Inspired by their shared dedication to Italian language instruction, these educators laid the foundation for what would eventually become AATI. The association was officially established in 1924, with Professor Fredi Fucilla serving as its first president.

In its early years, AATI focused on providing a platform for Italian language educators to collaborate, exchange teaching methodologies, and develop pedagogical resources. The association organized annual conferences and published newsletters, fostering a sense of community among its members. These initiatives helped solidify AATI’s position as a leading advocate for Italian language education.

Promoting Scholarship and Research

AATI has long recognized the importance of Promoting Scholarship and Research in the field of Italian studies. Over the years, the association has published various journals and scholarly publications to advance Italian language instruction and deepen the understanding of Italian culture. In 1926, AATI renamed its flagship journal, simply titled the Bulletin of the AATI, to Italica, which quickly became a prestigious publication within the field and the second oldest in the United States next to Dante Studies, founded in 1882.

Italica provided a platform for educators and researchers to publish their work, share innovative teaching methodologies, and contribute to the growing body of knowledge in Italian studies. The journal thrives today, showcasing cutting-edge research, book reviews, and teaching insights.

Expanding Educational Opportunities

Recognizing the need to support Italian language educators at all levels, AATI has expanded educational opportunities for teachers and students. The association has consistently advocated for including Italian language programs in schools (K-12) and universities across the United States.

AATI has actively collaborated with educational institutions, curriculum developers, and policymakers to establish standards and guidelines for Italian language instruction. The association has also worked tirelessly to promote the value of studying Italian, emphasizing the language’s cultural, historical, and economic significance.

In 1985, the National Italian Exam became the official national language contest for middle and high school American Association of Teachers of Italian students. This web-based proficiency and performance assessment measures written and aural interpretation skills in alignment with the ACTFL Performance Descriptors and the 2012 ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. This exam can be used to support students in preparation for the official exams of the Seal of Biliteracy, the SAT II, and it can make them eligible for the Società Onoraria Italica scholarships.

Professional Development and Networking

AATI has been at the forefront of providing professional development opportunities and fostering networking among Italian language educators. The association organizes conferences, workshops, and seminars where educators can engage with experts in the field, share best practices, and enhance their teaching skills.

These events offer a platform for educators to discuss the latest trends in language pedagogy, explore innovative teaching methodologies, and learn about new resources and technologies. AATI’s dedication to professional development ensures that Italian language educators stay abreast of the evolving educational landscape, enabling them to deliver high-quality instruction to their students.

Cultural Enrichment and Exchange

In addition to its focus on language education, AATI has been a proponent of cultural enrichment and exchange programs. The association recognizes the importance of immersing students in the rich tapestry of Italian culture, language, and history.

AATI has facilitated student exchanges, study abroad programs, and cultural trips to Italy, providing students with firsthand experiences that deepen their understanding of the Italian language and culture. These initiatives enhance language proficiency and foster cross-cultural appreciation and global citizenship among students.

AATI’s Leadership and Governance

Throughout its history, AATI has been led by dedicated professionals who have steered the association toward continued growth and success. The Executive Council, comprising elected officers and representatives from various regions, guides AATI’s strategic direction and ensures the fulfillment of its mission.

Under the leadership of its presidents, AATI has expanded its reach, strengthened its organizational structure, and forged partnerships with other language and educational associations.

The American Association of Teachers of Italian has been pivotal in shaping Italian language education in the United States for the past century. Through its commitment to scholarship, professional development, cultural enrichment, and advocacy, AATI has nurtured a vibrant community of Italian language educators and students. As the association enters its second century, it continues to inspire and empower, fostering a love for the Italian language and culture nationwide.


The American Association for Teachers of Italian (AATI) advocates for promoting the Italian language and culture in educational institutions. We have compiled a comprehensive list of strategies to boost enrollment in Italian classes at all levels, emphasizing the importance of preserving and advancing the study of Italian.

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