Prof. Franco Rizzi (Avetrana, 1944 – Rome, 2017), professor of Contemporary History at the University of Roma Tre and founder of UNIMED – Mediterranean Universities Union, dedicated his life to research, to studying, to books and to the dialogue among universities in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

He was passionate about the Mediterranean region, a passion that was present throughout his life, as well as during his career as a Professor in Italy, but also in the UK, Spain, France, a country he particularly loved, and in other countries of the area. As a historian, he always tried to read and explain the problems and issues of the present, while feeling the urgency to pass on his knowledge to the young generations, to the students of the University of Rome La Sapienza, and then of the University of Roma Tre, where he was a full professor of History of Europe and the Mediterranean.

Author of numerous scientific contributions and novels, he edited “Diwan”, a series published by Castelvecchi Editore between non-fiction and literature, politics and history, society and culture, and ran a personal blog for the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

The greatest work of Prof. Rizzi, however, took place in 1991, when he founded UNIMED, an association of universities of which he was Secretary General, which today counts more than 100 universities from the countries of the Mediterranean area. UNIMED aims to promote dialogue and scientific, cultural, social and economic cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

UNIMED has therefore given life to the vision of its founder. The idea of ​​a network that would bring together the universities of the Mediterranean countries in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a monumental change that would have repercussions not only in Europe but also in the countries of the southern shore. That idea, the result of great foresight, was conceived by the founder well before the Barcelona Conference, which would inaugurate the Euro-Mediterranean partnership in 1995, and which translated into the possibility of offering universities on both shores of our Sea an area of ​​cooperation at an academic, cultural, social and political level, in support of the progress of the region.

Among the Founder’s works and publications, we can include:

His work at the service of the dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean has been rewarded through many international awards. In 2009 he was awarded with the Honor of the Sallentino Cooperation Award “for his long academic career and his studies of the history of Europe and the Mediterranean, for having founded UNIMED in order to promote greater integration between the countries of the two shores of the Mediterranean and for the appreciated and authoritative leadership of Medarabnews”.

The publication “L’Islam giudica l’Occidente” (eng. Islam judges the West), awarded with the literary prize “The Philosophers and the Mediterranean” of the Italian Philosophical Society. 

In 2011 his book “Mediterraneo in rivolta” (eng. The Mediterranean in revolt) won the literary prize “Francesco Alziator” for the non-fiction section.

In May 2015, Prof. Rizzi received a special mention in Tunis for the Ibn Khaldoun Award for the role of UNIMED in the cooperation between universities in the Mediterranean.

Finally, Prof. Rizzi managed a blog for il Fatto quotidiano on-line available here.