His Excellency Marco Clemente, ambassador of Italy to the Philippines, paid Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo a courtesy call on March 18, 10 a.m., at the Quezon Hall Board of Regents Room.
Clemente’s visit to the University aimed to foster cooperation between the Italian embassy and UP Diliman (UPD), with a possible organization of joint cultural events that would benefit UPD students along with the general public.
Along with Clemente on the courtesy call were his wife, Maria Rosaria Brizi -Clemente and Alessandro Milani, general manager of the Philippine Italian Association.
“It’s a very important relationship, this one we are starting today with UP. Of course, this relationship has a stronger meaning because you are one of the few universities [in the Philippines] where Italian classes are offered. My wife and I are very happy and privileged in knowing all of you. I am here to start and bring something in the future not only the teaching of Italian language and culture but also some cultural mission that we can start,” Clemente said.
For his part, Nemenzo warmly greeted the ambassador and thanked him for his visit.
“Thank you because you are the first visitors to the university. All my meetings are online these past two years. It’s wonderful to meet friends in the flesh,” Nemenzo said.
He said he is looking forward to the exchanges between the Italian embassy and UPD.
“One of the strengths of UP Diliman is the diversity of disciplines that all belong to this community. We really look forward to the exchanges. We really look forward to exploring partnerships not only in culture but in other disciplines as well,” Nemenzo added.
Meanwhile, Prof. Carlene PC Pilar-Arceo, PhD, director of the Office of International Linkages Diliman (OIL-D) likened Clemente and his party’s visit to the “buena mano” or the first business transaction of Filipinos, much to the ambassador’s delight.
“You are our first official visitors from our international partners after the pandemic, and this is almost to the day the (pandemic’s) second year anniversary. (You) are the buena mano, (and) in the business setting, it is something auspicious. The first transaction is the auspicious transaction; it will bring us luck through the day. So we are looking at this buena mano as an auspicious start to a new beginning, to a new way of doing things,” Pilar-Arceo said.
Clemente holds a degree in political science from the Luiss University in Rome and joined the diplomatic service in 1984. He assumed his duties in the Philippines on Sept. 2, 2021.
Also present to welcome the ambassador and his entourage were Prof. Rob Rownd, director of the UP Film Institute, Prof. Nina Rachel Agcaoili, chair of the UPD Department of European Languages (DEL), Prof. Daisy Lopez, PhD, and Elizabeth Lavadia, DEL faculty members, Noelle Rivera, OIL-D head of partnerships and communication, Prof. Laarni Escresa, PhD of the UPD School of Economics, and Prof. Rica Nepomuceno of the UPD College of Music. Escresa is a former scholar of the Italian government who earned her PhD from the University of Bologna and stayed in Italy for four years. Meanwhile, Nepomuceno trained at the Bologna Conservatory of Music and lived in Italy for eight years.