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Our History

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).

The Dante Alighieri Society of British Columbia

 For the promotion of Italian language and culture