His Excellency Giancarlo Aragona, the Italian Ambassador, made an official visit to the University last week at the invitation of the Department of Italian Studies.

The Ambassador was welcomed to Birmingham by the Vice-Chancellor. He then made his way to the European Research Institute where he was met by the Dean, Professor Adrian Randall, Professor Ron Speirs, Head of the School of Humanities and the Director of the Graduate Centre for Europe, who hosted yesterday's lecture, Dr Nicholas Martin.

At the ERI, Ambassador Aragona gave a public lecture, entitled “Italian Foreign Policy: The Future of Europe and Transatlantic relation”, before taking questions from students and staff who had attended.

Mr Aragona is one of Italy’s most senior diplomats and was posted to London in 2004. During his address he spoke of the University of Birmingham’s remarkable achievements both in the UK and globally.

Professor Michael Caesar, from the Department of Italian Studies said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the Italian Ambassador to Birmingham. He has come in recognition that the department is one of the leading centres for the study of Italian and Italian Culture. It is a huge honour.”

The visit provided the opportunity for the Ambassador to meet staff and students within the department and learn about the current initiatives in teaching and research here at the University. He ended his visit with a guided visit to the University’s prestigious art gallery, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.