Four members of the SALVI Board of Directors served as faculty at last weekend’s Living Latin in New York City conference held February 18 and 19, an annual event of the Paideia Institute first held in 2013. In a lineup of seventeen speakers from all parts of the US and abroad, the number of SALVI representatives on the front lines of the conference made us one of the most visible organizations taking part. The event was hosted by the Fordham University Classics Department, represented by Prof. Matt McGowan, whose affability and expertise Rusticatio Veteranorum participants remember with affection from 2016. Given this year’s record attendance of over 240 people, and the conference’s prestigious location at the Fordham Law School next to Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera House, LLiNYC has established itself firmly as the highest-profile Living Latin event in the country. “From the very beginning,” said Paideia President Jason Pedicone, “the presence of SALVI has helped make LLiNYC what it is.”
Each of the four SALVI Board members — President John Kuhner and Nancy Llewellyn, Justin Slocum Bailey and Keith Toda — led reading sessions and lectured, generally once in Latin and once in English. Rusticatio Veteranorum celebrity guests Alexis Hellmer and Daniel Pettersson were also part of the conference faculty and gave presentations in Latin; Alexis on the work of modern Mexican Latin poet Franciscus Caprarius (Francisco Cabrera), and Daniel on the Latin history of the Swedes by sixteenth-century Swedish historian Olaus Magnus.
Nancy Llewellyn spoke in Latin about the importance of broadening the Living “Latinosphere” from its present Classics-heavy membership to include Medievalists. In English, she outlined the work of her mentor the late John Rassias, inventor of Rassias Method teaching methodology. Justin Bailey’s Latin presentation introduced listeners to the five extant Latin translations of the classic adventure novel Robinson Crusoe, while his English presentation explored the connection between the aural acquisition of language and reading fluency. Keith Toda’s Latin talk was a practical demonstration of how to turn movie clips into CI-based Latin lessons, an idea he developed further in his English presentation. John Kuhner delighted conference-goers with Latin karaoke, featuring his new Latin lyrics to a number of classic popular songs including the Beatles’ Hey Jude, which got an encore performance by the entire conference at the final plenary session. John’s one-year-old twins John and Mary quickly established themselves as mascots of the conference, giving everyone who saw them not only a reason to smile in the moment but great reason to hope for the future of Latin.
Pedicone added that “the Paideia Institute is grateful to John Kuhner, Nancy Llewellyn, and the broader SALVI community for the hard work and collaborative spirit they have brought to this event. It is a wonderful example of the kind of syngergy Classics needs to survive and flourish.” SALVI congratulates our friends at Paideia on their achievement and looks forward to coming back to New York in 2018.