On July 5, the latest Semmelweis statue was inaugurated in Perugia, Italy, which is the work of Kossuth Prize-winning artist Péter Raab-Párkányi. In addition to the leaders of Semmelweis University and the University of Perugia, the Hungarian ambassador to Italy, as well as local and regional representatives were also present at the inauguration. Rector Dr. Béla Merkely spoke at the event about the further expansion of partnerships in Italy and the continued strengthening of cooperation, emphasizing that Italian universities have long been our reliable partners in the continuous expansion of the knowledge left to us by Ignác Semmelweis.

Dr. Béla Merkely spoke about Semmelweis University’s excellent Italian academic relations at the inauguration. ” As the leading higher education institution in the region, as a university of medicine and health sciences, we consider it important not only to preserve the memory of Ignác Semmelweis, but also to continuously enrich the knowledge he has left to us. In this, Italian universities have long been our reliable partners,” said the rector, emphasizing that since 1987 the university has continued its academic cooperation with Italian universities such as the universities of Parma, Padua, Trieste, or La Sapienza in Rome. In 2020, Semmelweis also established a partnership with the University of Pisa, and, in the framework of the EUniWell project, it also cooperates with the University of Florence. Furthermore, this year they signed a memorandum with the University of Tuscany.  The rector also emphasized that 16 Italian students are currently studying at the Budapest institution.
The statue unveiling ceremony was attended by, among others, Dr. Ádám Kovács, the Hungarian Ambassador to Italy, Mayor of Perugia Andrea Romizi, other local and regional officials, a delegation from the University of Perugia, and the gynecological clinic (in front of which the statue was inaugurated).

„I am confident that our partnerships in Italy will continue to grow in the future, and that our cooperation will be further strengthened”, highlighted Rector Dr. Béla Merkely. „Ignác Semmelweis is one of the world’s best-known physicians, whose dedication to science, his tireless will to help and his humility still have a tremendous influence on those who dedicated their lives to the world’s most beautiful vocation: healing. His statue in front of the gynecology clinic of the University Hospital not only commemorates him, but also proves that in the end, truth always wins, and science knows no boundaries”, stated in his speech the rector of Semmelweis University.

In 2018, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ignác Semmelweis, the university decided to donate statues depicting the “savior of mothers” to various cities worldwide. The statue erected in front of the clinic in Perugia is the 25th in a row, with a total of 15 statues outside Hungary, on a total of 4 continents, and in cities such as Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Vienna. The work of art was donated by Semmelweis University and is the work of the Kossuth Prize-winning artist Péter Raab-Párkányi. It is the result of the cooperation of Dr. László Rosivall, the chairman of the Semmelweis Memorial Committee.


Anita Szepesi

Translation: Mária Sánta

Photos: Semmelweis University, Directorate General of Marketing and Communication