On Tuesday evening friends of the Academy gathered for a reception at the Consulate General of Italy in New York to welcome recently appointed AAR President Peter N. Miller. Introducing Miller, Consul General Fabrizio Di Michele noted the importance of AAR’s presence in Rome and expressed his hope that the Academy and the Republic of Italy can continue to strengthen their relationship.
Peter N. Miller, who earlier this month gave a lecture addressing the question of what an “American” Academy in Rome means today, at this occasion flipped the script to “ask not what it means to be an American Academy in Rome but what it can mean for the twenty-first century United States to have a home for the arts and humanities offshore in Rome.”
Miller added: “Unlike the other national academies, ours has scholars alongside artists in equal numbers. Having them together means that we are about both the breadth of imagination and the depth of research. We are about questions. Ultimately, like the United States of Emerson and Thoreau, the American Academy is about freedom. The freedom from (constraint, external demands, time’s relentlessness) but also freedom to (reinvent one’s questions, one’s subject, one’s network, even one’s sense of self and purpose).”
Noting the Academy’s deep contribution to cultural and intellectual life in the US over its history, Miller concluded by reminding the audience that AAR “stands for the importance of learning and creativity” in a democratic society and must do its part to help ensure that the American scholar “continue[s] to thrive and help our wider society meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.”
Among the guests of the reception were former AAR President Adele Chatfield-Taylor and her husband John Guare, Board Chair Calvin Tsao, Trustees David Lang and Jim Brennan, Board Chairs Emeriti Cary Davis and Mary Margaret Jones, former deputy director Cristina Puglisi, and former interim director Elizabeth Rodini, as well as numerous Trustees Emeriti, Rome Prize Fellows, and other longtime friends of the Academy.