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On 23 April, His Excellency Ambassador of the Italian Republic Mr Stefano Taliani de Marchio paid a working visit to Riga Technical University’s (RTU) Ķīpsala Campus to acquire a deeper insight into the development of its infrastructure, technical supply, as well as to meet with students from Italy and university representatives who are actively implementing study and research activities in cooperation with higher education institutions in Italy.
Among the issues under consideration, significant importance was given to the development of the international summer school «Nonlinear Life», established by RTU International Cooperation and Foreign Students Department (ICFSD) and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Nanotechnologies in 2017, to be held in Italy for the second consecutive time. In 2019, the Summer School was held in Trieste in collaboration with the University of Trieste, and this upcoming summer from 26 to 29 July it will take place online in cooperation with the University of Bergamo. In the summer of 2022, it will be held in the city of Bergamo.
The Ambassador met with the representatives of the Institute of Energy Systems and Environment of the Faculty of Electrical and Environmental Engineering (IESE FEEE) at RTU – Italian citizens, Professor Francesco Romagnoli and Professor Claudio Rochas. They informed the Ambassador about the institute's activities, with particular emphasis on its active cooperation with partner institutions in Italy in the implementation of international projects, the provision of student placements and the development of joint theses.
Prof. Romagnoli gladly acknowledged that the successful cooperation between IESE and ICFSD fosters the attraction of next generation's researchers from Italy, which will contribute to the development of Latvian science in the long run. For instance, a graduate of RTU’s partner university – University of Insubria – plans to arrive in Riga in May 2021 (has implemented Erasmus+ mobility twice at RTU during Master's studies, including development of a joint Master’s thesis and scientific publication in cooperation with Prof. Romagnoli) to be involved in international scientific projects, as well as to start the application process for doctoral studies at RTU. IESE also implements joint activities with other higher education institutions in Italy, such as Marche Polytechnic University, University of Milano-Bicocca, University of Brescia, University of Perugia, Politecnico di Torino and Sapienza University of Rome.
Mr Stefano Taliani de Marchio visited FEEE and the Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications, meeting with the deans of both faculties, Professor Oskars Krievs and Professor Jurģis Poriņš, as well as the Laboratory House and the Anthropometry Laboratory introduced by the head of FEEE Ergonomic Electrical Technology Research Laboratory, Ms Inga Dāboliņa.
During the working visit, Mr Stefano Taliani de Marchio, Deputy Rector for International Academic Cooperation and Studies, Mr Igors Tipāns and Project Manager of ICFSD, Mr Ēriks Badamšins, discussed the possible establishment of Italian language courses at RTU.
In March 2021, ICFSD prepared and submitted an application to receive financial contribution from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy to establish Italian language courses at RTU. The purpose of establishing these courses is to provide RTU students and staff the opportunity to learn Italian language and elements of culture associated with it. The desirable outcome of implementing this initiative is to increase interest in Italy as an Erasmus+ destination for exchange studies and staff visits, as well as to amplify the brand of Italy as a reliable ally from the standpoint of implementing joint scientific projects and organizing cultural events.
At the end of the working visit, the Ambassador, Mr I. Tipāns, Prof. Romagnoli, Prof. Rochas and Mr Ē. Badamšins headed to RTU Ķīpsala colonnade where the meeting with Italian students, who are currently implementing Erasmus+ mobility or are enrolled in full-time study programs taught in English, took place.
This Ambassador's working visit to RTU Ķīpsala Campus was a continuation of an introductory visit to RTU hosted by RTU’s Rector, Academician Leonīds Ribickis, in February 2020, and the discussion between Mr Stefano Taliani de Marchio, Mr I. Tipāns and Mr Ē. Badamšins in March 2021.
RTU has signed 25 agreements with higher education institutions in Italy and the active cooperation has resulted in an increased number of students – 51 students from Italy enrolled at RTU during the 2019/2020 academic year.
During the working visit of the Ambassador, the Latvian government restrictions related to Covid-19 were observed.