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Prato welcomes Australian Ambassador

Australian Ambassador, the Honourable Mike Rann, made his first official trip to Prato last month.

The recently appointed Australian Ambassador to Italy, San Marino, Libya and Albania, the Honourable Mike Rann made his first official trip to Prato to open the conference Encountering Australia: Transcultural Conversations held in Prato 24 - 26 September. 

In his opening address, the Ambassador praised Monash University’s vision in establishing the Prato Centre in 2001 and reflected on his own experience of immigration, noting that he had three citizenships.

Keynote speakers included multi-award winning Australian novelist, Kim Scott, Italian writer and translator, Franca Cavagnoli and Australian film maker, Romaine Moreton, who was later joined by musician Lou Bennett (ex Tiddas) for an engaging presentation of new directions in Indigenous filmmaking and performance.

The conference was hosted by the Faculty of Arts and organized under the auspices of the European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA).  Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, explained that the conference sought to challenge ideas of identity, examining sites of contact, connection and exchange between Australia and the world. 

Senator, Francesco Giacobbe, who represents the Italian diaspora of Oceania, Africa, Asia and Antarctica in the Italian Parliament also visited the Prato Centre on the occasion of the conference, addressing the evening welcome reception.

Prato Centre Director, Dr. Cecilia Hewlett, commented ‘I very much look forward to working with Ambassador Rann and Senator Giacobbe to further consolidate our networks in Italy and to expand the opportunities we have to contribute to the important dialogue between our two nations.’

Watch videopodcasts from the conference:

Opening Ceremony and Keynote Kim Scott: 'Where have you been?'

Keynote Franca Cavagnoli: 'Italian writers meet Australian writers: The responsibility of writers as translators'