Tom Cesarini, PhDExecutive Director

Tom Cesarini has served as a longtime volunteer in San Diego’s Italian community. Tom holds a PhD in Leadership Studies and an MA in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. He is also chief executive and lead consultant of Social Sector Consulting, which provides a host of services to nonprofit-sector organizations.

As a volunteer in the Italian community, Tom has helped to promote Italian arts, culture, and heritage for numerous local Italian cultural organizations. Noting an absence of a singular point of reference for San Diego’s myriad Italian groups, he founded Convivio in 2003 and the Italian Historical Society of San Diego in 2006 with the express goal of establishing an Italian cultural institute in San Diego in partnership with academia as well as a satellite cultural center / heritage museum in San Diego’s Little Italy. Tom’s vision for the Institute for Italian Culture includes a language academy, reference library, computer and media lab, historical center and archives, and event and exhibition space.

A nominee for the USD William P. Foster Outstanding Dissertation Award, Tom’s doctoral dissertation is titled, “The Multiple Meanings of San Diego’s Little Italy: A Study of the Impact of Real and Symbolic Space and Boundaries on the Ethnic Identities of Eight Italian Americans.” Through the narrative constructions of participant life stories, Tom examined the perceptions of Italian Americans in San Diego with a connection to Little Italy.

Tom’s academic interests include the fields of group relations; adult development; cultural and ethnic studies; film and society; nonprofit-sector trends; Emergent Leadership Theory; Integral Theory; and the philosophical and ethical components of leadership.

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