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A Spotlight on Dr. H.J. Manzari

Written by: Ryan Ross and Amanda Stivason, Red & Black Contributors

 

The following article is a student feature from Dr. Berberick’s COM 230 Journalism class.

 

Dr. Manzari currently serves as the Director of the Latin American Studies Program and an Associate Professor of Spanish at W&J. (Courtesy W&J College)
Dr. H.J. Manzari has an open mind when it comes to travel. Dr. Manzari is a world traveler and a scholar, and he advocates for students to immerse themselves in different cultures other than their own.
When Manzari takes his students out of the country, especially Italy, he believes that it is important to eat well, so the students get an understanding of how food is very different in other countries.
Manzari, an Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin American studies at Washington and Jefferson College, believes travel offers students opportunities they may never get anywhere else, like looking at how food structures society differently.
“Mealtimes are very sacred, it’s not that people eat junk food… quality-wise, respecting more or less traditional practices,” Manzari said. In Italy, Italians practice the zero-kilometer farming system, where everything is grown relatively close, to eliminate transportation issues and ensure fresh products.
When Manzari takes his students out of the country, especially Italy, he believes that it is important to eat well, so the students get an understanding of how food is very different in other countries.”

Manzari also touches upon immigration and most people have this belief that people are immigrating illegally.

“We have this misconception that people are immigrating illegally,” Manzari said, “Most of them are immigrating because they feel they need to. They’re migrating because they feel unsafe.” 
Although many people across the world see immigration as a problem, Manzari sees it as a “good problem” for Italy.  
“We have this misconception that people are immigrating illegally,Most of them are immigrating because they feel they need to. They’re migrating because they feel unsafe.”  -Manzari said

Manzari says people migrating to Italy is a good thing for the country. He believes immigration is key for Italy to continue to succeed.
Italy has one of the largest aging populations in all of Europe. People are either growing old or dying, many Italians died when COVID-19 was at its peak in 2020. 
“If we don’t do something about it by bringing in younger populations… immigrants would be the solution,” Manzari said. Ultimately Manzari believes for Italy to continue its traditional practices, immigrants must continue to migrate to Italy.
In recent years, Italy has seen many refugees from Syria and North Africa, South Americans were common during the global pandemic.
Students here at W&J are open to the opportunity to experience Italy’s cuisine and experience a different culture. Manzari said “Things that we believe are Italian food aren’t Italian”; there are similar dishes here in America but made very differently.
As a professor at W&J, Manzari uses his experience from traveling to bring cultural values and knowledge to help students in and out of the classroom.
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