In a recent ranking, Italy placed last behind France, Germany, Great Britain, Portugal and Spain for its efforts to protect and preserve its own culture and language.
The ranking was published in a report for the latest issue of Pagine della Dante, a tri-annual informational publication of the Società Dante Alighieri, Italy's main nonprofit organization to preserve and protect language and culture.
The ranking, a comparison of national annual investment in similar cultural organizations, revealed that 220 million is spent annually on the British Council, 218 million on the Goethe, 90 million on Cervantes, 13 million on the Portuguese Camoes and 10.6 million on Alliance Française. In 2010, the Italian state spent 600,000 euro on the Società Dante Alighieri, down 53 percent since 2009. ‘Facing the current English hegemony,' remarked Mario Garcia De Castro, director of the Rome branch of Cervantes, ‘we need as much institutional support as possible for the protection and promotion of our languages in the world. As such, it is imperative that public administrations and governments provide the resources necessary to proliferate our languages, which, aside from their traditional and cultural value, carry with them immense economic potential in the world.'