Welcoming Remarks by Robert J. Birgeneau, President of the University of Toronto.
Your Excellency, Ambassador Fowler, Consul General Scarlata, Honourable Ministers Minna and Ianno, Chairman Cecil-Cockwell, colleagues and friends:
It is an enormous privilege for me as President of the University of Toronto to welcome to our campus and this Governing Council chamber the President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Italy, His Excellency Giuliano Amato. Your Excellency, Benvenuto! You honour us with your presence here this morning.
Just as the Italian nation has contributed so much to the cultural and social fabric of Canada, so too has it helped to shape the University of Toronto. A significant proportion of our student body, faculty, staff and alumni/ae trace their roots to Italy. Your Excellency, Italy enjoys a special relationship with Canada and with this University that few other nations can claim.
We are justly proud of the University of Toronto, the largest in Canada, and one of the premier public research universities in the world. This morning, we are pleased to showcase it for your Excellency as we welcome you not just as Prime Minister of Italy, but as an academic colleague. In this regard, I wish to acknowledge your distinguished career as a Professor of Constitutional Law in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Rome, from 1975 to 1997. I am confident therefore, that though you may be far from Italy, you are at home academically today.
Your Excellency, please accept my best wishes for a productive and informative session this morning. And once again welcome to the University of Toronto.
Now, it is my pleasure to call upon Professor John Kirton, founder and Director of the G8 Research Group in the International Relations Program at Trinity College who will make opening remarks for this morning's discussion.
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