The Dante Alighieri Society of British Columbia

 For the promotion of Italian language and culture

The Dante Alighieri Society (Italian: Società Dante Alighieri) was founded in Italy in 1889 by Nobel prize winning poet Giosuè Carducci with the aim of promoting appreciation and understanding of the Italian language and culture across the world.

The society was named after Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), the pre-Renaissance poet from Florence author of The Divine Comedy, who is  traditionally considered the father of the Italian language. The Society's head office is in Rome, in Piazza Firenze, the central reference point for over 500 chapters, 400 of which are located outside of Italy, in 60 countries over five continents. All chapters of the Dante Alighieri Society (DAS) conduct their activities independently, under the direction of their own elected officers, in a manner that best suits local needs, preferences and capacities while adhering to the Society’s basic principles.

The official purpose of the Dante Alighieri Society is to “promote the study of the Italian language and culture throughout the world…a purpose independent of political ideologies, national or ethnic origins or religious beliefs; the Society is  a free association of people – not just Italians – but all people everywhere, united by their love for the Italian language and culture and the spirit of universal humanism that these represent.”

In 2005, the Dante Alighieri Society (along with the Alliance Française, the British Council, the Goethe-Institut, the Instituto Cervantes and the Instituto Camões) was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanities.

You can find more information about Dante Alighieri Society's history and mission on their website,

The Dante Alighieri Society is also the organizer of the PLIDA Tests to certify knowledge of Italian, all with the academic approval of the Sapienza University of Rome. The Certification test is designed on the principles of the communicative approach, based on real-life tasks so as to test the ability in four areas: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The PLIDA Certificate is officially recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour and Welfare and the Ministry of Education, University and Research in Italy. See more on this here.

Stefano Gulmanelli – President

Stefano Gulmanelli holds a PhD in Sociology and International Relations and a Master in Economics. He was born in the Middle East and has lived in Europe, Africa, Australia and Canada. He has matured his professional experience in the corporate world, journalism and academia. He is currently lecturer at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. 

David Avren – Secretary

David is a founding Board member and its Secretary. Born in Canada, with English as his native language, he is a longtime student of Italian language, and an enthusiast for Italian culture. He is a lawyer and Vice President, Director of Legal Services and Compliance at RECBC.

Arianna Dagnino ­– Events

Arianna Dagnino is an Italian writer, researcher and lecturer. After having completed her PhD in Sociology and Comparative Literature at the University of South Australia she has relocated to Canada and joined the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of British Columbia. 

Federica Ferruda – Treasurer

Federica Ferruda was born in Padua and grew up in Verona, where she graduated from Secondary School in Linguistic Studies. For over 20 years in partnership she has been working with her husband, a professional artist, in the management and development of his professional career.

Tom Henry  Membership Coordinator

Tom Henry is a retired senior officer of the Royal Canadian Air Force and a retired senior business manager from a British Columbia technology company.  He is a graduate engineer. He has studied the Italian language for many years and had the good fortune to visit Italy for work and pleasure many times.

Gary Waines Public Relations 

Gary is a supporter of the Italian cultural and linguistic landscape and passionate about Italian music, design, and architecture.

Our Mission

The Dante Alighieri Society of British Columbia is one of the 400 branches of the Dante Alighieri Society, whose head office is situated in the XVI century Palazzo Firenze in Rome. "La Dante" is  a non profit organization whose objective is to promote and foster Italian language and culture by:

  • Helping to develop an appreciation of Italian achievements in the arts, literature, science, and industry.
  • Promoting the study of the Italian language.
  • Promoting a spirit of understanding among people through the arts and other cultural activities.​

​The Dante Alighieri Society is also the organizer of the PLIDA Tests to certify knowledge of Italian, recognized by the Italian government for immigration/work purposes and with the academic approval of the Sapienza University of Rome. See more on this here.