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Our Patrons

We are honoured to have two highly distinguished patrons, the Honourable Sir James Gobbo AC CVO and Carla Zampatti AC. 

Our patrons support and advocate for the education and research which takes place at our centre. They help bring attention to our activities in the wider Australian community and contribute to expanding our local networks in Prato.


Sir James Gobbo with two students in PratoThe Honourable Sir James Gobbo AC CVO

Sir James Gobbo was instrumental in securing the support of the Italian Australian Foundation to offer travel grants for Monash students of Italian descent to study at the Monash University Prato Centre. Read more about the travel grants.

A former Supreme Court judge and Governor of Victoria, Sir James is our foundation patron.

The child of Italian migrants to Melbourne, Sir James studied law and he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1978. Sir James has been involved in a wide variety of community activities and he was honoured by Her Majesty The Queen with a Knighthood in 1982 for these services. 

He has been active in the area of immigration reform and multicultural policy in Australia. Sir James is Emeritus President of CO.AS.IT, a non-profit organisation for Italians and Australians of Italian descent.

Sir James served as Governor of Victoria from 1997 until 2000. In 1998 Sir James was conferred the Order of the Grand Cross of Merit of the Republic of Italy. Sir James was conferred a Doctor of Laws by Monash University on 1 April 1995.

His autobiography Something to Declare: A Memoir was published in 2010.


Carla ZampattiCarla Zampatti AC

Thanks to the generous support of Carla Zampatti we were able to restore the garden of Palazzo Vaj at the back of the Monash Prato Centre. The garden provides a beautiful outdoor area for study, relaxation and small functions for students, researchers, conference delegates and other visitors to Palazzo Vaj. Read more about the Palazzo Vaj Garden.

A leading Australian fashion designer and business person, Carla Zampatti has been a patron of the Monash University Prato Centre since 2012. Of her association with Monash University she says “It is particularly special being involved with the Centre in Prato – the creative heart of textiles where the most beautiful and original ideas have come from.”

Carla Zampatti, who emigrated to Australia from Italy when she was nine years old, has built one of the country's foremost design houses. For her leadership in business and design, she has been honoured with the Australian Fashion Laureate and named a Companion of the Order of Australia and Commander in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. 

Most recently, for her contributions to fashion and business, as well as for being a role model for women, Carla Zampatti was conferred the Doctor of Laws honoris causa by Monash University in May 2014. Read more about this award on the Monash news page.

Carla Zampatti serves on the boards of the Sydney Dance Company, the Australian Multicultural Foundation and the European Australian Business Council, and she also supports the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Foundation.