When people typically think about the Italian Mafia, they generally imagine violence and extortion. Most people would never walk the streets of Sicily’s capital, Palermo, and associate the parks and public spaces with organized crime. But Paloma Socorro, who will travel to Palermo in September under the U.S. Fulbright Student Program to study how the Mafia has influenced architecture in the city, says that the city is currently transforming public spaces using billions of dollars of seized Mafia capital.
“At its core, it’s a story of resilience,” says Socorro, who will graduate from Northeastern this spring with a degree in political science. “I’ll be studying how the city is reclaiming its history and rebuilding itself after enduring so much fear and violence. Hopefully this will be an opportunity to shed light on what has and hasn’t worked in the city.”
Through the nine-month, all-expenses-paid Fulbright program, Socorro will be working with a nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the effects of the Mafia called the Fondazione Falcone.