Italian President Sergio Mattarella has conferred the decoration of Ufficiale OMRI in the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana to Tonio Portughese.

The decree is also signed by former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. It recognises the special role and outstanding contribution by Portughese to the development of political, economic and cultural relations between Malta and Italy, and the international milestones in his successful career over 40 years.

The decree and the decoration were presented to Portughese by Italian Ambassador to Malta Fabrizio Romano.

Portuguese’s achievements include the start-up of the Italian semiconductor company, SGS-Ates, and its eventual growth in 1981 as Malta’s largest foreign investment; the mana­gerial contribution in the human resources development in the STMicroelectronics plants in Morocco, Singapore, Malaysia and China; the pioneering role in the foundation of the ST University in Archamps, France; and as board director in the consortium between the company and the University of Catania for the education and training of young students from the south of Italy in engineering, research and technology.

Portughese distinguished himself in the promotion of the Italian language and culture, he is registered in the Albo ex Alumni (register of ex-students in Italy) of the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as an ex-scholarship holder in the Università degli Studi of Florence.

He has performed an active role in the Italian Audiovisual Community and was instrumental in the signing of a beneficial collaboration agreement with the president of RAI, Marcello Foà.

The decoration of Ufficiale OMRI complements Portughese’s recognition as Cavaliere by late President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Prime Minister Giuliano Amato in 2001.

Portughese is also the national delegate for Malta of the Associazione Nazionale Insigniti dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (ANCRI).

He was previously decorated as Officier in the Legion d’Honneur by former French president François Hollande;  Malta’s National Order of Merit by President George Abela; and Gozo’s Honour by President Emeritus Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.



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