Pizza Effect Project

“Pizza Effect” is a project coordinated by The Lotus Trust, an educational, relief and development organization in the UK. There are nine European countries involved: United Kingdom, Hungary, Slovenia, Germany, Croatia, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. This project will unite adults around a common idea of healthy simple food, appreciation of one’s own and other’s culture, and active social integration into the European community.

Through several cooking workshops, the partners will establish communication, encourage peer learning within target groups of adults, as well as intergenerational interaction. Using food as an integrating topic, the project aims to update the knowledge and skills of participating staff by improving their competencies necessary for managing organizations. Through a minimum of twelve international mobilities and six meetings, each partner will become familiar with large scale of practical adult training methods; improve their communication, fundraising and team-working skills.

By means of informal learning and self-expressive activities based on relevant topics, the barriers limiting the adults’ social integration will be reduced, knowledge base will be renewed and adopted to modern circumstances, healthy lifestyles will be promoted, and cultural diversity and social inclusion will be expanded. The people most at risk of social exclusion (women, children, migrants, refugees, elderly, disabled people and those living in rural areas) will be included.

As a result of the project “Recipe book – Pizza Effect” with the descriptions of culture and way of life of participating countries will be published and distributed locally by partners.

»Originally, pizza was looked down upon in Italy as the poor man’s food: it was just simple unleavened bread with a little tomato sauce for taste. Then, accompanying the early emigrants, it made its way to America, where it was garnished with cheese, olives, peppers, various meats, and so on, totally transforming the original into a kind of delicacy. Years later, when it made its triumphant return to the land of its origin, it became a highly respected dish on the menu of even the most eminent restaurants. The new product was eagerly accepted and even given pride of place in Italian cuisine. Lack of confidence in one’s own culture, combined with the blind acceptance of all things new and foreign, often results in a phenomenon that social scientists call the “Pizza Effect,” a phrase that was coined in as late as 1970 by an anthropologist named Agehananda Bharati.«

Project is being implemented with the help of Lifelong
Learning Programme of the European Union as Learning Partnership.

“The pizza, originally a type of plain bread, went with Italian migrants to America in the nineteenth century. There it developed into what we know today: flat bread topped with tomatoes, cheese, and anything else that might take the eater’s fancy. Successful Italians returning to Italy to visit their families took with them the new-look pizza, which was then taken up in the homeland before being exported elsewhere as genuinely Italian. The export of an item, idea, or symbol, its cultural transformation, subsequent re-importation, and impact is referred to by the scholar Agehananda Bharati as ‘the pizza effect’.” An example is the Theosophical Society whose founders (Madame Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott) were influenced by Eastern ideas and spread their own versions in the East. Another example is Gandhi, who was not very interested in religion until he went to London to study law, where he studied the Bhagavad Gita in English in Sir Edwin Arnold’s translation, and this deeply influenced his spiritual outlook.

Kim Knott (2000), Hinduism: a very short introduction, Oxford University Press, p. 78, ISBN 978-0-19-285387-5


Funded by the European Union Lifelong Learning Programme