A&M signs Memorandum of Agreement
with Italian town of Castiglion Fiorentino

Texas A&M University has signed a memoranda of agreement with the town of Castiglion Fiorentino in Italy to promote learning and scholarship endeavors between Texas A&M faculty and students and the citizens of Castiglion Fiorentino.

The hilltop city in Tuscany has been the location of the Texas A&M's Santa Chiara Study Center since 1989. The center hosts nearly 250 Texas A&M students annually to study such subjects as art, architecture and history.

The newly signed memoranda establishes an agreement between the Texas A&M University Libraries and the Biblioteca Comunale de Castiglion Fiorentino that was begun under the leadership of the former dean of the University Libraries, Fred Heath, and carried on by Interim Dean Colleen Cook.

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Castiglion Fiorentino by making our library resources available to the entire community,” Cook said.

The small library that has been housed in the Santa Chiara Study Center will move the majority of its collection to the town library, where the visiting Texas A&M students and faculty, as well as the citizens of Castiglion Fiorentino, will share it. The first transfer of 71 volumes is scheduled for early spring.

Executive Director of International Programs for Students Suzanne Droleskey said the Texas A&M collection contains both English and Italian volumes.

“Our goals are twofold: first, to give back to the citizens of this town who have been so welcoming to our students and faculty and who have been instrumental in helping our students become global citizens and second, to provide another way for our students and faculty to experience the Italian environment and get to know our Italian hosts,” Droleskey said.

Mayor Paolo Brandi of Castiglion Fiorentino, who signed the documents on behalf of the town, said the exchange is very important to the town.

“After over 10 years of partnership between Texas A&M and our town, we see this as a way of deepening our relationship and taking a step toward our future together.”

According to the president of the Cultural Association for Castiglion Fiorentino, Carmello Serafini, the transfer of Texas A&M books to the Castiglion Fiorentino library coincided with the anniversary of Amerigo Vespucci's voyage to America. This anniversary is being celebrated throughout Tuscany as “La Toscana e le Americhe” to honor the accomplishments of their native explorer and the ties between Italy and the United States.

Participating cultural institutions each chose a specific theme to denote this anniversary and its ties with America. The library of Castiglion Fiorentino chose the theme of “A Book Opens to the World” to reflect the collaboration between Texas A&M and Castiglion Fiorentino, signified by the placement of the Texas A&M collection in the city library.

Paolo Barucchieri, director of the Santa Chiara Study Center and faculty member in the College of Architecture at Texas A&M said, “The various cultural exchanges between the city and Texas A&M have become an integrated part of the international experience shared between the city and the students and have enriched the lives of both American students and the citizens of Castiglion Fiorentino.”

— The End —

January 10, 2005

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