SIUE non-credit Italian instructor Barbara Klein, founder and president of the Italian Film Festival USA, received the Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy.EDWARDSVILLE - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville non-credit Italian instructor, Barbara Klein, has received one of the Italian Government’s highest honors, the Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy, for her work as president and founder of the Italian Film Festival USA, the largest festival dedicated to Italian film in the U.S.

“When I began a series of Italian film in St. Louis 13 years ago, I would never have imagined receiving this great honor,” Klein wrote in a prepared statement that was read during the award presentation at the Italian Cultural Institute in Chicago. “I accept it on behalf of the Italian Film Festival USA and the many volunteers who help organize the festival every year.

Klein is a long-time resident of the St. Louis area. She has been an adjunct staff member teaching non-credit, Italian courses for the SIUE Office of Educational Outreach since 2005.

“I have taken courses from Barbara Klein for about 10 years, and she is a wonderful instructor,” said Jeremy Jewell, PhD, professor of psychology and graduate program director in the SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior. “We are fortunate to have such a great leader in our midst. This accomplishment surely deserves recognition.”

The Honorable Giuseppe Finocchiaro, the Consul General of Italy in Chicago, presented the award to Klein. The Order of the Star of Italy was established in 2011 and represents an honor on behalf of all those, Italians abroad or foreigners, who have acquired special merit in the promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between Italy and other countries, and the promotion of ties with Italy.

The 14th edition of the Italian Film Festival USA will be held in April. The free festival will take place in St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Portland, Phoenix, Boulder, Memphis, Chicago and Kansas City.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.

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