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Issue 18, December 2012 -

Celebrating the Winter Season!

We take a look at Winter Festivities around the world

Grade 11始s eventful GCSE history trip to London

A grade 12 student gets ready to usher in the new year

Rome International School

The future starts in the early years The aim   of   educators   should   be   to   help   children  be  who  they  want  to   be,  without   forcing  them  to  adopt   one  way  of  life  over   another.   This   is   the   conclusion   we   can   reach   from   a   very   interes:ng   ar:cle   by   James   J.  Heckman,   a   Nobel   laureate   and   Professor   of   Economics   at   the   University   of   Chicago,   published   in   the   Boston   Review   (September/October   2012).   Success   in  life  depends  both   on  cogni:ve   skills   and   non-­‐cogni:ve   characteris:cs   (including   mo:va:on,  self-­‐confidence  and   other   socio-­‐emo:onal   quali:es),   as   Heckman  states   in   his  paper   on   “Schools,   skills   and   synapses”.   There   is   strong   evidence   that   the   development   of   both   cogni:ve   and   socio-­‐emo:onal   skills   is   at   its  highest  in  early  childhood  and  that   the   main   growing   factor   is   the   family   environment,   with   its   s:muli,   care,   nurture,  and   dedica:on   to   spending  :me   together,  which   interact   with   the   gene:c   a s p e c t s   o f   h u m a n   d e v e l o p m e n t   (according  to  the  most  recent  acquisi:ons   in   epigene:cs   which   studies   how   environmental   factors   affect   gene   expression   in   ways   that   are   inheritable).   And   here  we  get   to  the   point.   Heckman’s   research   shows   that   there   is   a  strict   link   between   the   parents’   level   of   educa:on   and   their   children’s   life   chances   (something   that   also   common   sense   s u g g e s t s ) .   T h e   m o s t   r e l e v a n t   environmental  factors  for  children   are  the   family   and   the  school,  which  cooperate  in   their   educa:on.   So,   again,   we   find   that   educa:on   is   a   key  factor   in   building   and   modeling   the   future,   for   individuals   as   well   for  society.  What  we  can  now   add   to   our   awareness   is  the  relevance  of   age:   if   early   childhood   is   crucial   for   the   best   development   of   cogni:ve   and   socio-­‐ emo:onal   skills,   the   beginning   of   the   schooling   process   and   the   choice   of   school   are   crucial   too.   We   are   lucky   enough   to   be   able  to   offer,   in  our   school,   the   possibility   of   a   very   early   start   (we   accept   children  as  young  as  two!)  offering   a   first   class   educa:onal   programme,   to   maximise  the   beneficial  effects  as  a  result   of   the   family’s   environment.   Thus,   we   help  in  building,  as  soon  as  it   can  be  built,   the   basis   for   each   individual   child’s   personal  life  project. Ivano  Boragine Head  of  School  


A special day for children

In 1954, the United Nations (UN) recommended that “Every country should introduce a Children’s Day which will be devoted to fraternity and to comprehension among children of the world, and which will stand out by activities encouraging Children’s well-being throughout the world.”(1) BY ENRICO  DAL  CIN


n the 20th of November 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Thirty years later, on the same day in 1989, almost all UN member states ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Thus, the convention is a legally binding treaty and children have rights that have to be respected worldwide.


organisations involved in children’s welfare like Fondazione Francesca Rava’s project in Haiti to re-build schools destroyed during the 2011 earthquake in Port-au-Prince. This year the school will begin to collaborate with SOS Villaggi dei Bambini: an international charity committed to creating a ‘loving home for every child’. This is a practical answer to the fundamental need of belonging to a family and to feeling loved, supported and secure in a safe and loving home.

This convention has inspired each country to create laws to promote children’s well-being as well as international treaties to protect them in situations of conflict, a milestone for It’s natural to think that this subject is ensuring the best-interest of future related to ‘far away lands’, however generations. it’s surprising to learn that SOS Villaggi th This year on the 20 of November 2012, d e i B a m b i n i i s v e r y a c t i v e i n the mainstream media’s attention has d e v e l o p e d c o u n t r i e s . G r o w i n g been on the economic downturn of numbers of poor and broken families the Euro-zone, accompanied by a lot a r e i n c r e a s i n g t h e n u m b e r o f of speculation on the future policies of abandoned and abused children. This the re-elected US President Obama. organisation, in addition to looking The celebrations for the International after children from broken homes, is Day for Children has not been also trying to prevent more families covered by most of the major media from becoming separated. outlets. Thankfully, whilst we are all th and concerned about the present and its D a y s l i k e N o v e m b e r 2 0 inevitable problems, there are some organisations such as SOS Villaggi dei organisations which concentrate on Bambini serve to remind us of the the fundamental rights of future importance of taking an active role generations. Our school has worked to and participating in every way we can raise the awareness of such rights, for in defending children’s rights. e x a m p l e c o l l a b o r a t i n g w i t h (1)

Grade 11 head to London! BY CHARLOTTE ROUGH


s part of Year 11 students’ History GCSE they headed to London on Tuesday the 9th of October to carry out research for their coursework assignment. Their investigations centered on the Tower of London. Ms Rough and Dr Orbison accompanied the Grade 11s as they wrapped up warm and headed to London’s famous landmark to take part in a tower workshop. Students played the part of history detectives as they photographed and examined the castle and its history, gathering crucial information for their assignments which count towards 25% of their final grade.


They got to explore the Tower and investigate its changing functions and features over its incredible 1,000 year history.

Ripper murders. With our experienced ‘ripperologist’ guide we trawled the East End at night as we tried to trace the steps of the infamous Jack. We then headed to an East End restaurant for dinner!

Learning by looking During our   recent   teacher   inset   in   October,   one   topic   discussed   was   the   importance   of   having   good  display  work  around   the   school.   We   were   encouraged   to   really   think   about   what   we   put   up  on   our   classroom   walls,   to   make   sure   it   was   relevant,   s:mula:ng,   connected   to   the   curriculum   and   of   course   interes:ng  for  students. The   best   displays   make   us   stop   and   look,   because  our  a[en:on  has  been  arrested,   our   minds  cap:vated.   Maybe   it   is   something   we   recognise   and   sympathise   with   or   perhaps   even   something   we   strongly   dislike   or   disagree   with.   But   that   is   the   power   of   the   visual   image.   It   focuses   our   a[en:on   for   a   very   important   moment   before   we   have   an   opportunity  to  ‘reject’.   We   are   all  influenced   by   visual   images.   Adver:sing   companies   would  obviously  not   spend   millions  of   euros   each  year  on  poster  and  magazine   campaigns   if  this  was  not  the   case.  This   influence   is  not   just   true   for   those   with   visual   spa:al   intelligence.  Visual  media   can  communicate  a   message   or   make   an   appeal   to   a   mass   audience.

Students also went to the Imperial War Museum where pupils and teachers visited the moving Holocaust exhibition in preparation for Grade 11’s examination topic on Nazi Germany. We visited the National Gallery and looked at some of the art depicting the Tower of London. Students also had time to shop on Oxford Street and at Spitalfields Market and walk though the historic city taking in the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square. It was an enjoyable trip and the students worked hard in preparation for their coursework which they will begin writing up in the next few weeks.

This is   a   very   powerful   tool   which   some   schools  do  not  fully  exploit.  Many  educa:onal   experts  believe   that   a   significant   amount   of   learning   is   done   subconsciously.   ‘When   key   informa:on   is   displayed   around   the   room,   the   brain   will   absorb   it   without   the   student   even  realising....Any   change   in  the   classroom   –  the  layout,  the  orienta:on,  the   wall  displays   –   will   be   s:mula:ng   and   bring   about   a   posi:ve   reac:on   in   students’(1).   Around   our   school  we   now   have   various   images   such   as   pain:ngs,   essays,   posters   from   campaigns,   fact   sheets  and   pieces  from   magazines.   The   quality   and   diversity   is  growing   all   the   :me.   One   recent  visitor  to  the   school  commended   us   for   the   sense   of   ‘interac:on’   created   by   our  displays.   So  next  term  we   will  con:nue  to   encourage   staff   and  students  to  use  our  walls   and   display   areas   as   an   ac:ve   part   of   the   learning   environment.   By   doing   so   we   help   create,   ‘...feelings   of   ownership   and   i n v o l v e m e n t ,   l e a d i n g   t o   i m p r o v e d   mo:va:on’ (2)   in   all   sec:ons   of   the   community,  a  highly  suitable   target  for   us  to   con:nue  to  pursue. (1)   Mike   Hughes,  

Strategies for   Closing   the   Learning   Gap,  Network  Educa@onal  Press,  p.93

It wasn’t all work though, and with the information gathered ready for the write up back in Italy, it was time to explore the city. Ms Rough and Dr Orbison took the students to the East End to explore the area of London’s famous unsolved crime…the Jack the

(2) The   Impact  

of School   Environments:   A   literature   Review,   The   Centre   for   Learning   and   Teaching,   University  of  Newcastle,  2005 hQp://

William Ireland Principal,  Middle  and  High  School


The Silent Killer “Ignorance and prejudice are fuelling the spread of a preventable disease” which must be suppressed and tackled at once. BY CLAUDIA ZACCARI


IV or   Human   Immunodeficiency  Virus   is   one  of  the   most   deadly   diseases  in   human  history.  It   a[acks  the  immune   system   resul:ng   in   the   progressive   destruc:on   of   the   body’s   defence   cells.   This   process   ul:mately   causes   a   disease   known   as   Acquired   Immunodeficiency   Syndrome,   which   we  commonly   recognise  as  AIDS.  Thousands  of   young   adults   worldwide,   especially   between   the  ages  of  15  to   28,   are  infected  with  the  HIV   virus   each   year.  It   can  be   transmi[ed   from  an   infected   person   through   what   doctors   call   "high-­‐risk   behaviours”   including   blood   transfusions,   sharing   needles   or   syringes   for   drug   injec:ons,   steroids   or   ta[ooing   and   unprotected  sexual  intercourse.    

In the   year   2000,   all   the   UN   member   states,   signed   up   to   the   Millennium   Declara:on,   commifng   themselves   to   achieving   eight   ambi:ous   goals   by   2015.   The   Millennium   Development   Goals   (MDGs)   focus   on   social   issues   which  affect  billions  of  people.   The  sixth   MDG  aims  to  have  halted   and  begun  to  reverse   the   spread   of   HIV/AIDS.   There   are   goals   and   targets   set   by   the   UN   to   further   raise   the   awareness  of   AIDS  in   all   corners   of   the   world.   Sta:s:cs   confirm  that   the  number   of   new  HIV   infec:ons   fell   steadily   from   a   peak   of   3.5   million   in   1996   to   2.7   million   in   2008   and   deaths  dropped   from  2.2  million  to  2  million   in   a  :me  span  of  two  years.  The  epidemic  appears   to  have  stabilized  in  most  regions.*

AIDS is  at   first   a   very   dormant   disease   and   for   some  the  symptoms  do  not  appear  for  10  years   following  the  ini:al  infec:on.   Worryingly  there   is   s:ll   no   cure   for   HIV   and   AIDS   today,   therefore   preven:on   is   cri:cal.   It   is   also   essen:al   that   we   con:nue   to   educate   the   world’s   popula:on   against   AIDS  in   order   to  try   to   eradicate   it   from  society.  It   must   not   all   be   “doom   and   gloom”,   in   fact   we   must   remain   posi:ve   and   this   must   be   done   through   educa:on  and  publicity.

Since 1988,  World   AIDS   day  is   observed   every   year   on   the   1st   of   December.   It   is   a   day   dedicated   to  raising  the  awareness  of  the  AIDS   disease   caused   by   the   spread   of   the   HIV   infec:on.   This   day   gives   the   opportunity   to   deepen   knowledge   about   the   facts   and   preven:ons.  There   are   many  campaigns   which   fight   against   this   disease   however   it   is   important   that   we  as   a  global   community  take   ac:on   and  do   our   very  best  to   par:cipate  and   support  campaigns  such  as   the   Italian   ANLAIDS  


(Associazione Nazionale   per   la   Lo[a   contro   AIDS).     According  to  UNAids’  annual  report:  “gefng   to   zero  new  HIV   infec:ons  will  require  substan:al   r e d u c : o n s   e a c h   y e a r   i n   s e x u a l   H I V   transmission,   which   accounts   for   the   overwhelming   majority   of   the   people   who   are   newly  infected.”   Mitchell   Warren,   director   of   AVAC,   Global   Advocacy   for   HIV   Preven:on,   said:   "If   we're   serious   about   ending   Aids   we   must   move   faster.   If   ending   Aids   were   a   marathon,   we'd   already  be  behind  pace  at  the  first  mile  marker.   In   2013,   we   must   aggressively   expand   HIV   preven:on   to   stay   on   track   to   bring   new   infec:ons  to  zero”.   If   we   can   achieve   our   goal   of   sharing   the   message   of   the   dangers   of   drugs   and   promiscuity  then  we   can   win  the   ba[le  against   AIDS.     In  the  mean:me  medicine  must  con:nue   to  advance  in  order  to  discover  a  cure  for  those   who  been   infected  in  order   for   them  to  live   life   to  the  full  without  prejudice  or  fear.   *­‐development/2012/nov/20/ risky-­‐sexual-­‐behaviour-­‐aids-­‐un

Mental + Athletics = Mathletics! BY ELENA  VITTORI



he European   Maths   Challenge   took  place  on   the  6th   and  the  

7th of   November   2012.   Mathle:cs   is   a   website   that   lets   students   prac:ce   Maths   online.   It   is   a   really   spectacular   website   that   inspires   students   from   all   over   the   world   to   prac:ce   Maths.   Every   year   Mathle:cs   has   an   interna:onal   compe::on   online.   At   Rome   Interna:onal   School   students   from   Grades   1   to   9   par:cipated   and   worked   extremely   hard   for   two   days   in   the   European   Maths   Challenge.   Everyone   did   their   best   and   Rome   Interna:onal  has  a  champion:  Ki   Ha  K!  He  is   our   fabulous   champion   because   he   was   one   of   the   top   students   in   Europe.   CONGRATULATIONS   to   this   outstanding   ‘mathlete’.   All   mathletes   should   con:nue   working   hard   so   that   YOU   can   be   the   next   champion!


Winter festivities around the world


Have you ever wondered, when some of us are celebrating Christmas, what other winter festivals people have? Well, in our school there are lots of different ones. I interviewed some students to find out about their celebrations and also researched others.

Hanukah One winter   fes:val   is   called   Hanukah.   In   the   Hebrew   calendar   it   is   the   25th   day   of   Kisley  ,   but   for   us   it   falls   between   the   end   of   November   and  December.   It   lasts  for  eight   days;  every  day  they  light  a   candle   in   a  candle   holder   called   chanukiah   but   everybody   calls   it   menorah.  When   they  light   the   candle   they   receive   a   gir.   They   also   have   one   extra   special   candle.   For  Hanukah  they  make  a  special  dish  made   of   pancakes   and   potato   with   a   sauce   called   chanukah;  the   dish   is   called   latkes.  Another   special   food   made   of   jelly   doughnuts   with   chanukah   is   called   savganiot.   They   have   a   tradi:onal   game   called  sevivon  where  you   have  a  top   that   you   spin   and   if   you   win   some:mes   you’ll   receive   money  or   nuts.

pink or   red.  They   also   have   fireworks  in   honour   of   the  na:onal  flag.      

Snow and Festivals


In Japan   there   is   one   of   the   most   famous   snow   fes:vals   in   the   world   at   Sapporo.   Every   year   two   million   people   come   to   see   the   spectacular   ice   sculptures.   It   lasts   for   all   the   month   of   February.   The   reason   for   this   fes:val   is   that   in   1950   some   high   school   students   made   six   wonderful   ice   sculptures   in  Odori  Park.  People  voted  and  decided  to  have  this   fes:val   and   now  four   hundred   people   make   these   wonderful   sculptures  in  Odori   Park.   There   are  other   snow   and   ice   fes:vals   in   the   world.   Other   well-­‐ known  fes:vals  are  in  Alaska  and  China.

Novruz Bayram Some students   in   my   class   celebrate   a   winter   fes:val   called   Novruz   Bayram.   It   starts   on   the   sixth   of   March   and   finishes  on  the  sixteenth,   so   it   lasts   for   ten   days.   The   reason   for   this   fes:val   is   that   a   long   :me   ago  people  decided   to  have   a  fes:val   of   peace   and   of   wishes,   where   all   the   money   that   they   got   by   selling   things   went   to   poor   people.  They   also   give   them   food.   They  eat   tradi:onal   biscuits   which   are   diamond-­‐shaped   because  that  is  the  shape  of  a  star.   They   also   eat   sun   and   moon   shaped   biscuits   and   have  special  grass  which  brings  good  luck.  They  also   have   tradi:onal   games;  one   of   them   is   connected   with   wishes  because  you  go  to   a  friend’s  house  with   a  hat,  you  leave  the  hat   on  the   floor   then  you  make   a   wish   and  knock  at  the  door   and  hide.  Your  friend   will   put   some   candies   in   the   hat.   When   he   or   she   has  gone   you  listen   to   what   they  are   saying  and  if   it’s  a  good  thing  your  wish  will  come  true,  and  if   not,   it   doesn’t.   The   other   one   is   really   funny.   In   the   arernoon   you   paint   an   egg   and   at   twelve   o’clock   you  play  a  match  with  a  partner   to  see  who  has  the   strongest   egg  by  tapping  it   with  a   spoon!   Whoever   wins   gets   a   candy.   Some   countries   celebrate   this   fes:val   in   a   different   way.   In   Kazakhstan   they  put   water   out   in  the  snow   and  the   next   day  it   becomes  

Diwali Diwali is  the   fes:val  of   lights.   It’s   the   most   important   fes:val   for   the   people   of   India.   E v e r y t h i n g   i s   l i t   because   then   all   the   spiritual   darkness   will   go   away.  It   lasts   for   five   d a y s   i n   O c t o b e r   a n d   November.   In   all   of   India   there   many   reasons   for   celebra:ng  this   fes:val  that   are  based  on   the  Hindu   religion.   For   the   five  days   they   do   different   things   like:  the   first   day   they  clean   the  house;   the   second   day  they  decorate   the   house   with   lamps;   and   the   third   day  is   the  most   important   one   because   they   celebrate  Diwali   with  their   families.  The  fourth   day   is  the  first   day  of  the   new  year   and  on  the  last  day,   the  brothers   go  to  see   their   married   sisters  (if  they   have  them)  and  the  sisters  offer  them  lunch. Whichever   fes:val   you   celebrate   this   winter,   we   wish  you  a  happy  one!

This week  a   rather   bossy  Red   Robin   took   up  residence  in  my  pa:o  area,  cha[ering   angrily     and     menacingly   puffing   up   his   red   chest   at   the   sight   of   his   own   reflec:on   in   the   mirror.  Red   berries   are   appearing   on   my   Holly   bushes   and   the   bright   orange  fruit   on   the  bare  branches   of   the   Persimmon   tree   look   like   deliberately  placed  decora:ons.  The  logs   in  the  fireplace  give   off  a  warm  glow   and   there’s   no   denying   it,  winter   is   arriving!   Along  with   lights  and   candles,   these   are   the  sights  and  colours  which  will   brighten   up  my  long  and  damp  winter  in   the  Tiber   Valley,   where   sleeping   clouds   oren   forget   to   rise   unless   blown   away   by   icy   winds.  It   couldn’t   be   a   further   cry   from   my   previous   Decembers   in   Queensland,   Australia  where   I   would   be   strolling   the   beach,   sipping   cool   drinks   at   beachside   cafés   and   joining   friends   and   family   for   picnics  and  barbecues.   These  thoughts  brought   to   mind   another   expatriate  who  suffers  the  winter  cold.   I   would   like   to   share  the  following  poem   by   Valerie   Bloom,   performance   poet,   born   in   Jamaica   and   now   living   in   England.   Her   inspira:on   came   from   the   clever  poem  “No”  by  Thomas  Hood. De De  snow,  de  sleet,  de  lack  o’  heat, De  wishy-­‐washy  sunlight, De  lip  turn  blue,  de  cold,  “ACHOO!” De  runny  nose,  de  frostbite, De  creakin’  knee,  de  misery, De  joint  dem  all  rheuma:c, De  icy  bed,  (de  blanket  dead De  burs’  pipe  in  de  afc. De  window  a-­‐shake,  de  glass  near  break, De  wind  dat  cut  like  razor, De  wonderin’  why  you  never  buy De  window  from  dat  double-­‐glazer. De  thick  new  coat,  zip  to  the  throat, De  nose  an’  ears  all  pinky, De  weepin’  sky,  de  clothes  can’t  dry, De  days  dem  long  an’  inky. De  icy  road,  de  heavy  load De  las’  minute  Christus  shoppin’ De  cuss  an’  fret  ‘cause  you  feget De  ribbon  an’  de  wrappin’. De  mud,  de  grime,  de  slush,  de  slime, De  place  gloomy  since  November, De  sinkin’  heart,  is  jus’  de  start,  o’ De  winter:me, December.

Photo sources: Novruz  Bayram:  h[p:// Snow  and  ice  fes:vals:  h[p:// sapporo_snow_fes:val.htm  

Patricia MarEn-­‐Smith Principal,  Early  Years  &  Elementary




2013 here we come! BY VIRGINIA CABELLA


How time flies! Itʼs the end of the year and itʼs the perfect time to reflect on all thatʼs happened this year and see what to improve on in the coming year. o many things happened in 2012, it’s sometimes easy to forget how significant the year actually was. It was a year where we stepped back from the brink of disaster and chaos in some areas, and made genuine progress in others. Think about the elections held on the 6th of November in the U.S. where, after a very close battle between the two candidates, President Obama achieved a victory that many had said could not happen and showed how many people still had faith in him.


Several other noteworthy events took place. The Olympic games were held in London from 27 July to 12 August. People from all over the world came to see world class gymnasts, footballers, wrestlers, and cyclists to mention a few sports! Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, winning his twenty-second medal. Saudi Arabia(1) , Qatar(2) and Brunei(3) entered female athletes for the first time, meaning that every currently eligible country has sent a female competitor to at least one of the Olympic Games. In addition,

APP REVIEW NAME: insTuner PRICE ON APP STORE: Free APP TYPE: Utility (Guitar Tuner) DEVICES: iPhone, iPod and iPad CONNECT TO GAME CENTER: No


women's boxing was also included making the 2012 Olympics the first at which every sport had female competitors!(4) Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. In late October, Hurricane Sandy devastated portions of the Caribbean and Northeastern United States, with lesser impacts in the Southeastern and Midwestern states and Eastern Canada. This makes it the second costliest Atlantic hurricane behind hurricane Katrina. At least 209 people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries and it was estimated in early calculations to have caused damage of at least $20 billion(5). This event was useful for us to open our eyes to the immense privileges we enjoy, and to understand how fortunate we have been. Many times people appreciate things only when they lose them, let’s not make the same mistake! Personally my main progress was moving from grade 11 to grade 12, where I experienced a complete change in my academic environment. I am currently in

the first year of the IB Diploma Programme. Things have started to get difficult, more determination and strength is needed and I’m finally accepting the fact that time is moving incredibly fast and I have to keep up! Choices for the future have to be made, and for me and my classmates its very stressful because we’re noticing that we’re growing up quickly! This year has been like a roller-coaster. On the whole, I am satisfied with my year because I managed to cope with all sorts of situations. My objectives for next year are simple. To improve my work at school; my listening skills; to concentrate more, not only in school but in different occasions; and to gain more determination, which I think is the main ingredient to succeed in life. Without sacrifice and perseverance you will never obtain what you’re aiming for!



(3) (4) (5)

This app is made for guitar players who need to have a tuner always ready to make sure their instrument is perfectly tuned. It has a simple interface that even a new user can understand and start using the app without problems.

The Tone Generator, instead, allows you to pick a note and click play. Once you have done that it will play the sound of that note and allow you to tighten or loosen the string until its sound matches that of the sound provided by the app.

It has two types of tuning: Chromatic Tuning and Tone Generator. The first allows you to play one of the strings of your guitar. It will then tell you if you need to tighten or loosen the string. To have a perfectly tuned guitar you have to repeat this step for each string.

I use this app regularly and would suggest this app to any guitar player who often needs to tune their guitar.







What do Montepulciano wine and the 2009 earthquake in Aquila have in common?

Sloppy seismology he earthquake   of   6   April   2009   was   a   tragedy   in   Italy.   Three   hundred   and   nine   people   were   killed   at   the   :me,   and   nearly  twenty  thousand   were   ler   homeless.  However,  the  story  has   con:nued   to   develop  since   then,  from   the  famous   “sciacalli”,   those   who   went   around   the   ruins   of   the   city   stealing   anything  that   had  not   been   destroyed,   to   the   G8   summit   that   was   held   in   the   city  to   a[ract   interna:onal   a[en:on   to   the   disaster.   The   history   of   this   earthquake   reached   a   new   turning  point   on   22   October   2012   when   seven   men  were   sentenced  to  six  years   in  prison.  What   is  the   crime,  associated  to  the  ‘quake,  that  could   result  in  a  prison  sentence?  The  answer  is  sloppy   seismology.


On 31   March   2009,   one   week   before   the   earthquake,  three  seismologists,  two  engineers,   a   volcanologist   and   a   public   official   had   taken   part   in   a   mee:ng  of   the   “Na:onal   Commission   for  the  Forecast  and  Preven:on  of  Major   Risks”.   The   aim   of   the   mee:ng   was   to   assess   the   dangers   that   the   city   was   facing,   as   small   tremors  had   been   felt   over   the  last   month.  The   outcome   of   this   mee:ng   was   a   reassurance   to   the  city’s  residents  that  the  frequent  ac:vity  was   nothing  of  concern,  and  the  small  tremors   were  

actually reducing  the  pressure  between   the  two   plates   thus   minimizing   the   risk   of   a   major   earthquake.   The   minor   tremors   were   seen   as   something   “normal”   as  Fabio   Picu:,  one  of  the   prosecutors,   underlined.  However,   it   was   later   found   that   all   of   the   evidence   pointed   in   the   other   direc:on.   The   increase   in   the   frequency   and  intensity  of  the  tremors  is  normally  the  sign   of   a   bigger   earthquake   in   the   future.   The   prosecutor   also   accused   the   seven   men   of   having   made   contradictory   and   misleading   statements.  (1) Most   of   these   statements   were   made   by   the   public  official   involved  in   the  story,  Bernardo   De   Bernardinis,   who   told   residents  to   relax   with   a   good   glass   of   Montepulciano   wine.(2)   Other   reassuring   statements   were   made   during   the   conference   itself   by  De   Bernardinis,   and   all   of   this  became  evidence  against  them. In   fact,   it   was   partly   due   to   these   statements   that   the   city’s  residents   didn’t   leave   the  city  or   sleep   outside.   This   unfortunately   resulted   in   hundreds   of   deaths,   which   could   have   been   prevented.   This   is   the   reason   why   the   judge   sentence  the  men  to  prison.  

Jason Reed/Getty Images

The analogy  that  has  been  made  with  this  case  is   the   one   of   a   doctor   who   ignores   standard   prac:ces   and   causes   the   death   of   the   pa:ent.   The   men   are   not   being   sentenced   for   not   predic:ng   the   earthquake,   as   it   is   common   knowledge   that   it   is   difficult   to   predict   earthquakes,  but   they  were  sentenced   because   of  not  being  able  to  interpret   simple   clues,  such   as  the  tremors,  which  are  normally  regarded  as   a  sign   that   an   earthquake   in   the   near   future   is   possible.   That   said,  there  is  no   standard  prac:ce  in  these   cases;   these   men   did   not   have   guidelines   to   follow,   like   a   doctor   would.  This   sentence   may   result   in   future   predic:ons   to   be   too   much   on   the  side  of  cau:on   for  fear  of  prosecu:on.  Could   the   last   casualty   of   this   earthquake   be   free   speech?   (1)  h[p://­‐

found-­‐guilty-­‐in-­‐l-­‐aquila-­‐earthquake-­‐trial.html (2) h[p://­‐ ground



Discovering the importance of food security In October we paid a visit to the FAO headquarters in Rome. I found the trip very interesting because I got to know the importance of FAO’s work. FAO stands for Food and Agriculture Organization and it is a specialised agency of the United Nations. We were guided through the FAO office by two officers who explained to us that the organisation’s efforts are primarily to ensure that people worldwide have proper access to food and health care. In addition to Rome, FAO is present in over 130 countries, and approximately 55% of the FAO staff members are based in Rome. There are seven departments

at FAO covering agriculture, fisheries, forestry, economic and social development, natural resources management and environment, technical cooperation, and human resources and corporate services. Our two guides told us that with the current world population at seven billion, one billion people are starving and another one billion are malnourished. FAO is is trying to provide assistance to countries that that need help improving agriculture and other sectors in order to ensure a better standard or life. I was interested to hear about the organisation’s work in India. One of the

projects is related to rural poverty, as roughly more than 300 million people live in poverty in India. We were told that the country has been successful in reducing the proportion of poor people from 55% to about 27%. A major cause of poverty in India is lack of health care and limited access to social services, and financial resources. Our visit to FAO was a useful reminder of the importance of food and agriculture to the economic and social development of a country and its inhabitants.






Presidency at any cost? BY ARIS SCHULER-SHAH

RIS report is a monthly publication by Rome International School. Registration Registrazione n. 476 del 31/12/10 Direttore Responsabile Maria Corbi Editor-in-Chief Tania Gobena Graphic design Tania Gobena Photography Steve Orbison Tania Gobena Darren McDonald

Rome International School Via Panama 25 00198, Rome +39 06 84482650/1


oth Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have spent vast sums of money in the race to the White House. Many will suggest that both Obama and Romney have spent their money carelessly at a time of economic crisis to advertise and promote themselves anywhere they can, without regard.


Obama’s party, the Democrats, have spent over 540 million dollars in advertising and campaign spending over the 2012 elections. (1) Most of those advertisements have been screened in Florida, Ohio and Colorado, as they were the states which had been undecided and had the largest impact on the outcome of this years U.S e l e c t i o n . R o m n e y ’ s p a r t y , t h e Republicans, have spent a great deal less on campaigning and advertisements. The Republicans spent over 336 million dollars into advertisements.(2) Although spending less, like the Democrats most of that campaign spending was focused in Florida, Ohio and Colorado, the key deciding states. Many people  might also ask where the money has come from for the parties’ spending is quite a large sum. All of the money has come from donations from their most loyal supporters. Different amounts were made by various parties/ candidates. Obama raised over 632

孔子学院 On Wednesday   28   November   the   High   School   Chinese   class   visited   the   Confucius   Ins:tute   in   Rome,   one   of   the   300   around   the   world.   It   is   located   in   Via   Principe   Amedeo,   inside   "La   Sapienza"   University   and   has   been   open   since   2006.   At   the   Ins:tute,   you   can   learn   Chinese  language   and   culture   with   na:ve   teachers.   The   Ins:tute   has  a  library  where  you  can  find  a  range   of  books   in  all  Middle  East  and  Far  East  languages! We   were   warmly   welcomed   by  the   Director   of   the  Ins:tute,  Dr.  Wén   Zhēng  (文铮),  an  old  friend  


of our  teacher  Ms.  Parnanzone. BY GIANLUCA PARADISO


million dollars of which almost all was spent on advertising. Whereas Romney raised a bit more than half of what Obama raised, just over 390 million dollars.(3) It might seem that both parties had some cash to spare but in fact both parties are quite significantly in debt. However, this mass spending by parties for advertisements and campaigning gives the advertising industry a significant boost, often bringing in up to 900 million dollars in profit.(4) Although much money is spent and made in the process of making these advertisements, they are not always successful in convincing the undecided. Therefore, campaigning by giving speeches and conventions are often the most effective methods used. Not everyone may be happy with the result of this year’s election. It has put much financial strain on both the Democrats and the Republicans. It has, however, given many sectors of the economy a significant boost. But is it money well spent? f-us-election-campaign-final-day.html (2) IBIID (3) (4) 2012/12/07/166734266/most-expensive-presidentialcampaign-ended-in-sprint-to-spend (1)

RIS report December  

The winter issue of our monthly school magazine features articles on: children's rights; highlights from Grade 11's History trip; a grade 5...

RIS report December  

The winter issue of our monthly school magazine features articles on: children's rights; highlights from Grade 11's History trip; a grade 5...