Stefano Baldassarri, Ph.D.

As a teenager, I was lucky enough to have loving and courageous parents. They gave me a nest and they gave me wings as well, as the saying goes. At sixteen they asked me if I wanted to spend a year in the USA as a student on a program called “Experiment in international living.” A few months later I landed in Florida, where I lived with a local host family near Daytona Beach for my whole junior year in a local high school. It was 1985-86 (the same year MTV was launched) and I had the time of my life.

I thus started thinking that serving as some kind of liaison between the USA and Italy would be a fascinating, rewarding job. I only had to focus on a specific niche, as it were. Since I was not good enough in sports and an acting career was out the picture, I opted for academia. After all, I was studying Latin and Greek, so why not turn a torment into an asset? Being quite repetitive, I ended up getting two MA’s (one from “Università di Firenze,” the other from Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.) and two Ph.D’s (one from Yale, the other, again, from “Università di Firenze”) before becoming the director of The International Studies Institute (aka ISI Florence).

I have been in international education as a teacher and an administrator for some twenty-five years now. Working with students and scholars is a privilege. It’s more than a job; it’s a mission. It takes love, passion, hard work, and originality. In this field, one can help and learn a lot on a daily basis. That’s why, finishing this short bio, the following words from one of my favorite songs spring to mind: “I wish you were here.”