Director-General Receives Awards from University of Bologna

17 January 2014

The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, has received the Medaglia d’Onore and the Sigillum Magnum in a special ceremony that was held today at the University of Bologna in Italy. 

In his acceptance speech [PDF- 72KB], the Director-General expressed his appreciation for receiving the awards: “It is a special honour to receive these awards at institutions representing the finest traditions of Italian scholarship and humanism – traditions that are reflected in the valuable partnership that has developed between Italy and the OPCW,” he stated.  

The Director-General highlighted his commitment to reinforcing the OPCW’s relationship with academia and civil society. He cited as an example that the OPCW will use its money from the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013 to establish annual awards to recognise outstanding contributions to advancing the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

“Our hope is to harness the renewed interest in chemical disarmament as a result of the Peace Prize to encourage continuing excellence in this area, among as wide a community of stakeholders as possible,” he said.

The Director-General commended Italy for its contributions to the work of the OPCW over the years, citing its generous assistance in providing training for new inspectors and the Italian industries which have hosted industrial trainees under the OPCW’s Associate Programme. He also noted that Italy has been a major contributor to the international effort to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons, most recently by providing use of the port at Gioia Tauro for the trans-loading of priority chemicals onto the MV Cape Ray vessel for destruction