Renowned International Ultra-Cyclist to Speak Sept. 13 as Kickoff for … – University of Arkansas Newswire

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Omar Di Felice, an Italian ultra cyclist.

The U of A campus community can hear from renowned international experts across a range of topics during the fall semester through the “Rome Talk Series” hosted by the Graduate School and International Education’s Rome Center. The lecture series includes four talks held on-site at the center’s location in Rome, Italy, and can be attended virtually.

The four lectures offer attendees the opportunity to engage with thought-provoking speakers and topics spanning geopolitics, adventure, fashion and visual storytelling. The talks are intended to inspire, inform and help attendees gain a new perspective on the world.

“We take great pride in providing our students with enriching cultural opportunities through the Rome Talks Series,” said Francesco Bedeschi, director of the Rome Center. “Our ability to invite distinguished speakers is closely tied to our presence in Rome and the expansive network of contacts our European Hub affords us. As we look ahead, we’re already planning for the upcoming spring semester, where we’ll delve into other significant themes, including artificial intelligence, innovation, sustainability, as well as entrepreneurship and business.”

The speakers, dates and times for the lectures are:

Sept. 13, 11 a.m.: Omar Di Felice, Trans Am Bike Race Champion

Omar Di Felice, an Italian ultra cyclist, and champion of the 2023 Trans Am Bike Race, will kickoff the lecture series with a talk about his experiences pushing the boundaries of human endurance. In early 2022, he circled the globe above the Arctic Circle, covering 4,200 kilometers in just two months, including a historic winter ascent to Everest’s base camp. In 2019, he crossed Alaska by bike, and in 2021, he traversed the Canadian Arctic in winter.

In 2023, Di Felice made history by winning the iconic Trans Am Bike Race, a grueling 7,000-kilometer solo journey across the United States from Oregon to Virginia, making him the first-ever Italian to win the event.

During his talk, he will discuss the challenges, triumphs and environmental advocacy that drives his passion, including his experiences in the Trans Am Bike Race, his personal journey and sustainability efforts, and fighting climate change on a global scale.

The lecture can be attended virtually via YouTube.  

Oct. 5, 11 a.m.: Dario Fabbri, Geopolitical Expert

Dario FabbriDario Fabbri is a renowned Italian journalist and geopolitics expert. With a degree in political science, Fabbri has dedicated his career to understanding global dynamics. He has worked with prestigious magazines like Limes and Conflicts, in addition to contributing to important Italian and international newspapers, and his podcasts and lectures at universities have earned international acclaim. Currently, he serves as the editorial director of Domino, a geopolitics magazine he co-founded. Fabbri’s talk will focus on the geopolitics between the United States and China.

The lecture can be attended virtually via YouTube.  

Oct. 18, 11 a.m.: Fatimah Hossaini, Acclaimed Photographer

Fatimah HossainiFatimah Hossaini is an accomplished Afghan-Tehran born artist, photographer and curator, as well as the visionary founder of Mastooraat Organization. Among the youngest to receive the Hypatia International Award, she combines her background in engineering and photography to craft powerful narratives on identity and femininity in Afghanistan. A fervent advocate for women’s and refugee rights, her work has garnered international acclaim and has been featured in exhibitions and publications worldwide, including recognition from prominent media outlets like BBC, The Guardian and Bloomberg. Her talk will focus on the power of visual storytelling to convey stories, emotions and perspectives from around the globe.

The lecture can be attended virtually via YouTube.  

Nov. 15, 11:30 a.m.: Sofia Bertolli Balestra, Artistic Director

Sofia Bertolli BalestraSofia Bertolli Balestra is the creative force behind the renowned Balestra fashion dynasty. Tasked with research, design and brand identity, she carries the legacy of historic Roman fashion houses like Sorelle Fontana, Lancetti, Emilio Schuberth, Gattinoni and Balestra itself, which defined Italian fashion in the mid-20th century. Sofia’s academic journey in literature, journalism and art history, combined with her discovery of her grandfather’s iconic sketch, led to the creation of their new logo. Collaborating with her mother and aunt, she continues the family’s tradition of audacity, independence and feminine empowerment in fashion. Her talk will center around the magic of design, creativity and self-expression.

The lecture can be attended virtually via YouTube.  

About The Rome Center: Since its inception in 1992, the Rome Center has served as a premiere locale for transformative study abroad experiences for University of Arkansas students. Originally founded exclusively for architecture students, the center was expanded for students from across the university in 2016. Students can study abroad at the Rome Center during the fall, spring and summer semesters, with courses offered across the university’s academic disciplines. More information on the Rome Center is available on their website.

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