We are reaching the end of a very unusual year that has caused a great amount of suffering and instability in the world.
We were all forced to come to terms with the pandemic, each country in its own way.
But we are closing 2020 on a positive note: in the last few weeks there have been rays of hope concerning the imminent arrival of a series of vaccines, and we can be cautiously optimistic regarding the New Year.
These reassuring signs have coincided with the Celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of the Foundation of Venice International University in December.
We received letters of congratulations for this momentous event from the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, from the President of the Veneto Region Luca Zaia and from the Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro.
Unfortunately, due to the current situation we were not in the condition to organize special events on the Island of San Servolo, as much as we would all have liked to meet again in person to talk about the future of our Institution.
Nevertheless, we were able to hold a very successful video conference on Friday 4 December, with many Rectors, Professors and Academics from different parts of the world who participated and made proposals for what they believe VIU can do to continue to prosper and grow in the coming years.
We are also very pleased that we held a successful Second Semester this year, despite all the difficulties of the pandemic: our campus welcomed students from over 20 nationalities and we have carried out 40 courses.
When required by the decisions of the Authorities, we converted the system of teaching from face-to-face to online in a smooth and seamless transition. Some courses have taken a hybrid form: the professors taught to the students in class, wearing masks, while others followed and interacted online. Our Professors adapted to the new requirements with enthusiasm, in a fantastic display of international cooperation.
At VIU, we give great importance to the compulsory student evaluations of the courses they attend: for the first time, an astounding 95% attributed the highest marks to the courses this Semester, and there was a record of candidatures for work-internships in Venice.
Allow me to express my gratitude to the Dean, Professor Carlo Giupponi, to the Vice Dean, Prof. Luca Pes, to all the Professors who have taught at VIU this year.
I am also extremely grateful to our devoted members of staff at VIU. Just over a year ago, they dealt so efficiently with the consequences of the extreme flooding that hit San Servolo and all of Venice. They rushed to the Island to salvage as much as possible and then swiftly brought our facilities back into working order.
Only a few months later, they had to face yet another emergency with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Again, our staff in the departments of Academics, Administration, Institutional Affairs, Conferences, Logistics and IT were extremely efficient in managing the crisis and enabling our activities to continue in the best possible way.
Lastly, I thank all of you for your continuing support, and I look forward very much to seeing you again in person as soon as the pandemic is under control.
All of us at VIU send you and your families our heartfelt wishes for a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
May 2021 bring you success in your endeavours and serenity in your life.
With my warmest regards,