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Name: Ilaria Bernardi

PhD: Political Science and International Relations

Thesis Title: "Visiting the United States and Bringing It Back Home: the US Exchange Programs with Germany and Italy, 1950-1965"

Thesis Description:

My study explores the significance of US cultural exchange programs with West Germany and Italy as a unique element of post-war cultural diplomacy. Specifically, it examines the Foreign Leader and Foreign Specialist Programs at the height of the Cold War. These initiatives promoted exchange between cultural and political elites with the aim of contributing to democratization and modernization of the Western European countries, as well as engaging European leaders in support of American foreign policy. The analysis investigates the role of “cultural diplomacy” in political conflict and, in particular, its contribution to shaping a US-led Western world order. Moreover, such an analysis will help understand how cultural diplomacy influenced the perception of the United States in Italy and West Germany as well as the political and institutional course of these nations, not only in the years of the democratic stabilization but also in the subsequent developments.


Supervisors and Institution(s):

Professor Scott Lucas and Dr. Sara Jones, University of Birmingham


Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

  • Review: Valentina Iacoponi, Campi d'oro e strade di ferro. Il Sudafrica e l'immigrazione italian tra Ottocento e Novecento, Forum Italicum (April-May 2015), pp. 246-247


Other Research Interests:

  • Cold War history, Public Diplomacy, State-Private Networks, Transnational History


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