Italian Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata Awarded Honorary Degree

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Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata

Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata (right) and President Franco Pavoncello

John Cabot University was pleased to award an honorary degree to Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata in a special convocation on May 15, 2012.

Watch the video of the ceremony on the Italian news, TG1 (Courtesy of Datastampa).

The ceremony took place in the Lemon Tree Courtyard in the presence of the President of the University Franco Pavoncello, the Chair of the Board of Trustees Dr. Joseph Hagan together with distinguished members of the Board, the Dean of Academics Mary Merva, students of the Class of 2012, and many representatives of the international diplomatic corps.

Minister Terzi received the degree of Doctor of Public Service for his contributions as diplomat, scholar, and champion of international dialogue.

Singer Elena Bonelli gave a moving rendition of the American and Italian national anthems, followed by warm greetings by Chairman Hagan.

President Pavoncello welcomed Minister Terzi and read the citation for his honorary degree:

“As Ambassador of Italy to Israel during the difficult years of the second intifada, you quickly earned the trust and respect of all parties in the region, as a man of peace and compromise.

During your tenure as Ambassador of Italy to the United States, you played a key role in reinforcing the strong traditional friendship between Italy and the United States, while fostering the presence of Italy and Europe in that country. You launched new and unprecedented initiatives for the promotion of the Italian culture and language in the United States, which won you the respect and lasting proud admiration of the Italian-American Community.

Called to serve as Foreign Minister of Italy by Prime Minister Monti, at a pivotal time for Italy and Europe, you have skillfully promoted the interests of your country around the world, while forcefully speaking out in favor of the protection of human rights, democracy and international peace.

In recognition of your outstanding achievements and unabated faith in human progress, by the authority vested in me I admit you to the degree of Doctor of Public Service, and grant to you all the rights and privileges that pertain therein.”

Minister Terzi began his Lectio Magistralis “Responsibility to Protect” by thanking John Cabot for awarding him this honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service: “I feel deeply privileged to receive it from John Cabot University, a multilingual and international university that fosters intellectual tolerance, freedom and integrity.”

Addressing the Class of 2012, Minister Terzi stressed the importance of dialogue, mediation, and compromise, but also the ability to say no to what goes against one’s beliefs.

The Minister went on to say that courage is a quality that anyone can develop: “One of the greatest women of our times, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whom I had the honour to meet a couple of weeks ago, once said: ‘Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps more precious is the courage acquired through endeavour, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions.”‘

 Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata (sixth from left) with President Pavoncello, Dean Mary Merva, and the JCU Board of Trustees

Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata (sixth from left) with President Pavoncello, Dean Mary Merva, and the JCU Board of Trustees

He urged graduates to stand firm for their values: “In this interconnected world, you can download almost anything from the internet. But not your values. They must be your moral browser, because without them you are disconnected. And if you should find it harder to succeed, you should consider that it is much worthier to be a person of value than a person of success.”

Minister Terzi proceeded to illustrate the concept of “Responsibility to Protect,” stating that when mass atrocities are perpetrated, the international community carries the responsibility to protect the population affected. But he reminded the audience that the responsibility to avoid new horrors lies not only with governments, but also with each and every one of us: “By taking on your responsibilities, by refusing to let fear dictate your actions, you will help create a better and more secure world. And, above all, you will also keep a crucial promise. A promise that sums up our humanist heritage and the spirit of our times, in just three words: ‘No, never again.'” (Read Minister Terzi’s entire speech here.)

President Pavoncello concluded the evening by thanking Minister Terzi for granting JCU the honor of hosting him and listening to his inspiring words.