Who we are


The Department of the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies (DISO)  – leader of the Voices and Images of Intercultural Dialogue project in the Mediterranean – is the institutional heir, within Sapienza University of Rome, of the Oriental School, the Department of Oriental Studies and the Faculty of Studies Orientali, as a center for the promotion of scientific research and higher education in scientific-disciplinary sectors relating to civilization, culture and languages ​​of the countries of Asia and Africa, from antiquity to the contemporary period.

ISO inherits the long tradition of oriental studies, which began with the activation of single teachings (the oldest of which records remain are Hebrew in 1842, and Arabic in 1575). In more recent times the various Orientalist teachings gradually established met in Institutes (Ancient Near East, Islamic Studies, Indian Studies and Eastern Asia) constituting an Oriental School, then dissolved and mostly contained within the Faculty of Oriental Studies (2001-20010), which launched a new degree course (three-year) in Oriental Languages ​​and Civilizations and an homonymous Master’s degree course (two-year).

The creation of the Faculty of Oriental Studies has responded to the widespread and growing demand for knowledge on the ancient, medieval and contemporary “East”, resulting in a significant increase, in particular, in the teaching of Japanese language and literature, Chinese language and literature, and Arabic language and literature. The Faculty of Oriental Studies brought together 40 disciplines in five distinct areas: linguistics, philological, archaeological and historical-artistic, philosophical-religious and historical-political, each in turn divided according to the following geographical-cultural areas: Ancient Near East, Islam , South and Southeast Asia, Far East.

The Diso research doctorate in ‘Civilization of Asia and Africa’, established in 2007 and active since the 23rd cycle, also boasts a long history, being the result of several reorganizations that have taken place over the years from the union between the Doctorate in ‘History and Civilization of East Asia’, the one in ‘Civilization, society and economy of the Indian subcontinent’ and the one in ‘Islamic civilization: history and philology’.

With the university reform of 2010, the Faculty was reconstituted in the Department of the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies (Diso), within the reborn Faculty of Letters and Philosophy; within the limits of the progressive funding of the public university, from the early 2000s to today, Diso has maintained the already consolidated training and research offer, recently adding more attention to Third sector activities.


The DISO Library  represents excellence, among the libraries of Sapienza, and has therefore been included among the ten most important of the University; by its scientific and institutional nature, the Diso Library acts in an autonomy consistent with the developments of the Diso to which it belongs and, therefore, today it is increasingly involved in the activities envisaged in the Strategic Plan of the Department, in particular in those of Third mission, an area in which this project is located.


MedFilm Festival, created by the Methexis Onlus Association, is the first festival in Italy dedicated to the promotion of Mediterranean and European cinema and among the oldest film festivals in the City of Rome. MedFilm Festival was born in 1995 on the occasion of the Centenary of Cinema and the Barcelona Declaration on Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.

MedFilm works for the promotion of intercultural dialogue and the development of commercial cooperation between Europe and the countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, through quality cinema and audiovisuals, windows open to the world to recognize and appreciate diversity. as a value and culture as a driving force for the economy. The aims of the MedFilm Festival are the protection of human rights and intercultural dialogue; education and training of young people in the socio-cultural field; the fight against racism and xenophobia; the promotion and dissemination of European and Mediterranean culture.

Behind every film lies the infinite variety of identities and cultures, a priceless heritage, our precious reserve for the future. When a film disappears, it is all the cultural heritage that is impoverished.

Cultural heritage in continuous growth, MedFilm Festival is proud of the accession of the President of the Italian Republic and the Patronage of the Representations in Italy of the Commission and Parliament.