About the ICS
The Italian Cultural Society of Washington D.C. (ICS) is your home for cultural and social events in the Washington metropolitan area, and for courses to learn or improve your Italian. Our community is growing and involving the entire US.
Our mission is to enhance the appreciation and knowledge of Italian language and culture. We create opportunities to explore the many facets of Italian culture, and to strengthen bonds between the Italian and American people.
We do this primarily through the Italian Language Program, founded in 1974, thanks to contributions from Ministero degli affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale. We are an ENTE GESTORE e PROMOTORE della lingua e cultura Italiana, recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Embassy of Italy. The main mission as Ente Gestore is to include the Italian language in the curricula of American private and public schools, and promote our language and culture among families, through courses (our school counts over 2,000 enrollments per year) and events. We work in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute and with the Italian Embassy.
The ICS organizes cultural events every month, and special events for Christmas, Carnival, Easter and an annual Gala. We finally offer a scholarships program to award students who excel in Italian, classics, art, science and music.
ICS members include Italians, Italian-Americans and Italian sympathizers. We welcome everyone, regardless of race, national origin, or religion. The only requirements for membership are an interest in Italian culture and a desire to share that interest with others. The Italian Cultural Society of Washington D.C. is a 501c non‑profit organization.
History of the Italian Cultural Society of Washington, D.C.
The bust is signed: Giuseppe Martegana, 1888. The official catalogue lists the bust as: “Gift of members of the Italian Society of Washington, Citizens of Italian descent, 1888. Accepted by the Joint Committee on Library.”
In 1978, the word “Cultural” was added to the Italian Society of Washington to reflect its broad objectives, and the organization was chartered as a non-profit corporation in the District of Columbia.
Dr. Maria Guarrera Wilmeth
Dr. Wilmeth envisioned an organization that would provide educational services to the Italian community in collaboration with the Education Office of the Embassy of Italy, and would serve as a welcoming venue for Americans wishing to learn the Italian language and about Italian culture in the Washington metropolitan area.
In addition to establishing a role for the Italian Cultural Society as an Ente Gestore to manage Italian Embassy efforts in placing teachers of Italian in local schools, and educating children of Italians planning to return to Italy, Dr. Wilmeth — along with Prof. Roberto Severino of Georgetown University and others — initiated a very successful program, with funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities, to bring teachers from all over the United States to Rome for several weeks: “The Art of Teaching Italian through Italian Art.”
Dr. Wilmeth received many honors for her work, both within the United States and from foreign governments, including Japan. The Italian government honored her as Commendatore dell’Ordine della Stella della solidarietà italiana.
Dr. Wilmeth retired from her post for health reasons after a brief illness.