Professor Henry Frendo’s new book, Colonialismo e nazionalismo nel Mediterraneo, was officially launched on Friday 30th October in the Aula Magna of the University of Urbino by its Rector Professor Stefano Pivato. As part of a plan to further its international relations and contacts, the Rector also conferred on the Maltese historian a scroll appointing him the University’s first ‘Academic Ambassador’, an initiative reported in sections the Italian press.

Present for the ceremony was Malta’s ambassador to Italy H. E. Walter Balzan, the Dean of the Faculty of Jurisprudence, the Columbian scholar Professor Edoardo Rozo Acuna, and the University’s Pro-Rector for International Relations, Professor Giuseppe Giliberti, who wrote the introduction to Frendo’s book. Professor Anna Maria Giomaro, who helped coordinate this work as a special monograph edition of the prestigious journal Studi Urbinati, was also present.

After the presentations a packed Aula Magna participated in a symposium on the subject, several students having already read the book. The author delivered the main address on the role of language, culture and geography in history, politics and identity during the past two centuries. His oration was followed by complementary interventions by two authors on Mediterranean affairs, Dr Maria Eleonora Guasconi, who teaches international relations, and political scientist Dr Massimiliano Cricco.

The Bologna-based national daily Il Resto del Carlino illustrated its news report ‘L’Ateneo da il via ai suoi ambasciatori e inizia con Malta’ by a colour photograph of former Maltese premier Dr Enrico Mizzi, who had graduated in laws from Urbino in 1912. The organizers had a blow-up of this photograph on a large screen as a backdrop to the event. Henceforth a framed portrait of his will be a permanent exhibit on campus.

Colonialismo e nazionalismo has been sent to all Italian university libraries and is being reviewed in journals and newspapers by Italian scholars. It is considered to be the first comprehensive work of its genre to have been published in Italian. Locally, some copies of it are available from the Klabb Kotba Maltin’s bookshop in Valletta. Further information, illustrations and updates are available on the University of Urbino’s website

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