"The decision of the University of Trento to bestow an honorary degree on Antonio Megalizzi is a sign of sensitivity, intelligence and civic responsibility, the same values we all see in the activities of Antonio's friends and colleagues, who are continuing his passions and his dreams". This is how the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella spoke at the graduation ceremony. The President expressed his closeness to the parents and family of Antonio Megalizzi, and praised the work of the young man as a journalist and reporter: "Antonio Megalizzi wanted to understand and help people understand, he knew how information is important in the formation of opinions, how important it is to discuss even when positions seem so distant. An effort - concluded the President - which is particularly important in Europe, because the European integration project is a historic and important attempt to bring together and unite".
The ceremony for the award of the honorary degree to the young journalist and passionate pro-European who died in the Strasbourg attack of December 2018 ended minutes ago. The University and the academic community wanted to recognize his commitment to study and work with this degree in European and International Studies. The ceremony took place in the auditorium of Palazzo Paolo Prodi, home to the School of International Studies, in the presence of family members and local authorities.
"This was his home", said Rector Flavio Deflorian, confirming the University's esteem for Antonio and the desire to keep his memory alive. "This is where he formed his views, where he developed his pro-European commitment, where he studied and passed the exams, like all our students". He was guided, Deflorian recalled, by beliefs and ideals that were once very common, but that Antonio cultivated in very different times, when they were no longer so widespread: "In my life, I have often taken Europe for granted. My generation was the first to participate in the Erasmus programme. Europe was there, it obviously was our future. But Europe could not then and cannot now be taken for granted, and the generation Antonio belongs to had to understand this quickly. He was among those who understood this well, who tried to react with intelligence, commitment and action. This made him an example for others".
Europe, with its problems and difficulties, but above all with its potential and its ideals, was at the center of the speech given by the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, who recalled the thirty months that have passed since that December in Strasbourg: "There was a festive atmosphere, Christmas was approaching, and Antonio was in Strasbourg to tell young people about Europe, to create a bond between the EU institutions and his generation. His death is an open wound, which remains in the memory and in the history of the European Parliament. However, days like this one tell us that Antonio is a symbol of the Europe we want. Of a Europe that defends its values, an inclusive Europe, which is that key to the future in which even Antonio believed so much".
Andrea Fracasso, Vice-Rector for Organisational and Resource Planning and former Director of the School of International Studies, recalled that Antonio had come to understand that there were other obstacles, besides Europe's external enemies, to the European integration process: "Antonio Megalizzi had understood that Europe's difficulties were not linked only to the activity of the forces that opposed it, but were connected to the quality of the democracy of its institutions, to its internal functioning, to the information that was disseminated about European politics". Communication was therefore a challenge within the challenge for him, a terrain where he could rebuild the relationship between his generation and Europe. A challenge - Fracasso recalled - that Antonio took on and faced on the radio, social media, the written word and any other tool that allowed him to reach and inform people.
The people that Antonio Megalizzi wanted to inform through his journalistic work and those he met in his study days, in courses and in lectures, were at the center of the motivation for the award of the honorary degree, read by Stefano Schiavo, Director of the School of International Studies: "The School of International Studies is a small academic community but, above all, it is a community of people that includes students, teachers and administrative staff. Although his premature death did not allow him to complete his studies and become a professional reporter, Antonio will be remembered for all he left behind. He is an example of fruitful academic work and strong civil commitment, which are fundamental to inspire Italian and European citizens, but also to stimulate active and critical social participation".
After the speech by professor Schiavo, Antonio's family received the degree. Finally, Luana Moresco, president of the Antonio Megalizzi Foundation, recalled Antonio's passion for his work as a journalist and how it made him happy. A profession in which he wanted to invest more, through further training and learning: "It was nice to see him return home every evening, enthusiastic about what he had learned, with that emotion in his eyes that we all remember. He said that the Master's in European and International Studies had changed his life. He called it a milestone. His studies combined with his passion for the radio had put him on a professional path where he could explain difficult things in a simple way, report news form EU institutions, bring them closer to citizens, talk to everyone about Europe. Thanks to the Foundation that today bears his name, Antonio is not, and never will be, someone from the past: he is the present. And the future".
Messages were received from the European Commissioner and former Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and from the former President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani.
The recording of the ceremony is available on the University YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3VULkzgOX0
The ceremony is also available in the Italian sign language (LIS): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy7zDPSLkFY