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Four students for one mission: The European Doctoral Programme

Curious, passionate, international-minded: just three key words to describe the four candidates selected over almost 100 people applying from USA, Canada and Europe.
Agnieszka, Guillaume, Huiyi and Roxana are starting a new exceptional step of their researches by spending the first six weeks of the doctorate at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. Let’s get in touch with them!

Agnieszka Wiatrzyk

After one year in Paris she has never gone back to Poland, where she had started her studies. Born in Warsaw in 1984, Agnieszka decided to fly to France with the Erasmus Program at the fourth year of University and received a grant by French Government to continue her research started in Warsaw on Jacques Bellange, a French artist and designer. Graduating in September 2009 Agnieszka was sure about what to do: find a grant which helps her to have success with research on drawings, her real passion. No occasion has been more valuable than European Doctoral Programme with its five universities, linked in order to assure the students the best training ever. “My research is focused on the corpus of drawings by Giovanni Antonio Dosio, based on his work in Rome and Florence - Agnieszka said - and the European Doctoral Programme seems to be an incredible chance. Just consider that the main part of Dosio’s drawings is in Florence at the “Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe Degli Uffizi”, but also in Germany and in Great Britain, so a program like this really helps me in finding all the material I need”. She had already attended an internship at Cabinet de Dessins du Louvre by June to September 2008 and now she is starting an internship at Uffizi by 15 mars. About her expectations of living in Italy, Agnieszka is quite shy. “I really want to see what happens without asking so much from the contest I live in, but I can easily say that I am surprised by all the discussions and interesting debates we are already having here: it’s my ideal way of life”.

Guillaume Alonge

His double nationality Italian and French seems to be the main reason for Guillaume to attend the European project, but there is more to know about. After graduating in History from the University of Turin, he started his research 5 years ago, always adding relevant details in order to discover the biography of Federico Fregoso, an Italian ecclesiastical personality who lived both in France than in Italy. Born in Turin in 1985, Guillaume has never studied abroad, apart from a short research period, and he felt that time had come to get involved into an international contest. “I missed a European point of view even if I feel to be already European, thanks to my mother who is French. I am sure to take serious advantages from attending a European doctorate as I can widen my research with the interventions of professors from all over the Europe. The European Doctoral Programme at the SUM gives me a great opportunity and I have refused a doctorate in Milan to attend this one. Thanks to this chance I can open up my studies from the biography of Fregoso to the religious relationship between Italy and France: that’s great!”. He already knew Florence but it is his first time living here. Guillaume intends to profit the most by studying in Palazzo Strozzi and at the National Library in Florence, winking to social and students life!

Huiyi Wu

Jumped to Paris by chance at the age of 17, thanks to an exchange program between her high school in China and a University in France, she was so fascinated by European culture that she decided to stay. “At that time it doesn’t seem to me a radical change - Huiyi said - when I had 17 years everything was new and exiting to discover”. Born in Nanjing, China, in 1985, she started her academic career by studying Economy and Administration before discovering her real passion: translations. At the third year of her studies, Huiyi passed an exam to join a master in Translations and Interpretation which had brought her directly to the subject of her current scientific research: how Europeans got in touch with Chinese culture through the translations by French Jesuits published in the encyclopedic book “Description of the China Empire”, compiled by Jean-Baptiste Du Halde. European missionaries, Jesuites in particular, were the first Westerner to have translated Chinese texts into European language and Huiyi is working on the few translations of Chinese texts published within “The China Empire”. “Since I have been working as a translator - Huiyi said - I have started asking how translations had been done in the past, what it meant in terms of cultural transmission. Now, even if I am the only one among the four doctoral students who doesn’t have an historical training, I expect to profit the most by studying at the SUM, especially for the European horizon of the researchers and the opportunity to get in touch with different academic institutions”. When she heard about the program she immediately felt that it would have been an occasion not to miss. Living in Florence will be a new challenge for Huiyi, as it is her first time in Italy. First task: learning Italian, which will be the third foreign language she speaks.

Roxana Nakashima

After four years in Germany, Roxana flew to Paris in order to complete her historical studies started in Buenos Aires, where she was born in 1976. The European Doctoral Programme at the SUM is a natural step for her to widen her research on pirates and travel accounts in the XVI century. “It has been a great chance for me - Roxana said - I really didn’t think too much, just tried to get it”. She is now in Florence, ready to continue her research, going more deeply into her subject: “Emblematic English seafarers in the context of the religious conflicts and the economical rivalries in Europe. 1586-1660”. She has no doubt about her choice: “I expect to have a broad view of Europe after this doctorate. After Germany and France, Italy is a great opportunity to also understand my own country better, by feeling the differences with the rest of the world. For example, I am fascinated by going around in places where buildings are so old and people lived already there when Argentina doesn’t even exist”. Regarding Florence, Roxana is very surprised: “I have been here for a little journey and I remember I didn’t like it so much - she admits - but now having this idea of living here in the city makes me see it in a nice way”. She hopes to go more deeply into her subject and find some pirates lost in the libraries of the city.

Leonardo Ariel Carrió Cataldi

Born in Argentina, he moved to Spain when he was a child, so he grew up and studied in Europe. Passionate for history, he got his degree in this field at the University of Granada, Spain. An Erasmus scholarship took him for a year to the University of Coimbra, Portugal. After a six months postgraduate degree at the University of Santiago de Compostela on theory and methods of Social Sciences, he decided to go to Seville at the University of Pablo de Olavide where he started a master course, completed with a second year at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, getting the degree of “Master européen en Histoire politique et culturelle de l'Europe médiévale, moderne et contemporaine". Leonardo won two PhD grants, one at the European University Institute and the other one at the European Doctoral Programme of the SUM. He chose the SUM because “its aims match perfectly with my research proposal and because it is composed of recognized specialist on subjects that are at the heart of my project”, Leonardo said. His PhD project “Time, Science and Empire. Conceptions of Time in the Scientific Universe of Sixteenth-Century Iberian Monarchies” is mainly concerned with the history of time. “What I propose - Leonardo said - is to examine the crucial role played by time on the synchronization and integration of the different territories of the Iberian Monarchies”. According to Leonardo, time was not only essential for navigation and cartography, but also, in a social dimension, for Catholicism.

Marie Bossaert

Born in France, with a European vision since she began her studies, Marie was able to experiment different countries while studying at university. She started with Modern Literature at Université Paris III with a studying period at the Scuola Superiore Normale di Pisa, then she continued in the field of literature, passing the Agrégation exam to teach French literature. But she was not ready to settle down so she decided to take a year of travelling around Europe. “I just followed my two passions – she says – the European and the Muslim culture, and so I started with Rome, where I worked for a online newspaper and then, after six months, I moved to Istanbul where I taught French at the French Institute while working as a correspondent for the Italian online newspaper”. It was there that she discovered her interest in scientific research. Coming back to Paris for a master in Turcology and Turcophily in Italy, she spent a semester at the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, an experience that definitely pull her to go more deeply into her research topic and to apply for the European Doctoral Programme at the SUM. “I chose this programme because of its international view that could give me more ideas on how to develop my research on Turcs and the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, I don’t have a strong historical background, so I really expect to take advantage from the different theoretical approach from professors coming from all over Europe”.

Aurélien Davrius

French, passionate in architecture and history, Aurélien sees himself like a young man from the 17th century while having his “Grand Tour”. “I am following the steps of Blondel’s students from France to Italy, to discover their studies and to complete my education”. It is the French architect Jacques-François Blondel who is the focus of his research, which he started at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris and which he now complements in the framework of the European Doctoral Programme at the SUM, entitled “Jacques-François Blondel, architect and theorist of the European Arts Movement during the XVIII century: studies of his students”. Blondel was the first architect who founded a private school of Architecture, attended by students from all over Europe. The multicultural aspect of his research suggested Aurélien to apply for the European Doctoral Programme. “I think that the EDP at the SUM can give me the international approach I need in order to go deeper in my subject - says Aurélien -. What I am looking for is to discover the mentality of the foreign architects that spent some time in Italy during the ‘700 and that’s why I am studying the letters of the Blondel’s students and I really expect to find more sources to analyse”. He has already spent a studying period in Italy, in Rome, in order to analyse the work of Francesco Borromini and he is sure that the different research approach coming from foreign professors will help him to open his mind as the Grand Tour used to do with young men in the past.