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Researching the colonial legacy of the EUI and the EUI villas

Developing the awareness of colonial or imperial connections within the European Univesity Institute

The colonial legacy subgroup aims at developing the awareness of colonial or imperial connections within the EUI.

This can include: understanding the creation of the institute, during the period of initial ideas in the early 20th Century to its realisation in 1976; researching the history of its buildings which may hold possible colonial or black histories; and new investigations on the people across the buildings and institution throughout its existence- those with power or influence, or People of Colour whose histories may exist without recognition.

Current members:

  • Siobhán Amelia Smith
  • Friedrich Ammermann
  • Amber Burbidge
  • Dario Willi
  • Eoghan C Hussey
  • Aurora Hamm


The subgroup has recently published a blog post on the early history of the EUI on the EUIdeas blog: "The world university that never was"

The blogpost discusses the initial conception of the EUI as a “world university” rather than a “European university.” The former mayor of Florence, Giorgio La Pira, played a key role in advocating for this vision. La Pira believed that the European University Institute (EUI) should be founded on a global consideration of the world’s history, particularly in the context of decolonization. He envisioned an institution that would be open to people from the Global South and promote equality and solidarity. This alternative vision of the EUI is often overlooked in the official telling of its history.

Below you can find a selection of further readings and archival sources consulted for writing this piece

Selection of further readings and archives on the history of the EUI

Further Readings

Online Catalogue 

  • Comitato Interinale per l’Università Europea. ‘Rapporto del Comitato Interinale ai Consigli della Comunità Economica Europea e della Comunità Europea dell’Energia Atomica,’ 27 April 1960. Sez. 11, b. 5, fasc. 1, doc. 9.
  • Discoro di chiusura del III Colloquio Mediterraneo, 24 May 1961. Sez. 11, b. 5, fasc. 3.
  • Discorso Di Apertura Del III Colloquio Mediterraneo, 19 May 1961. Sez. 11, b. 5, fasc. 2.
  • L’Università Europea a Firenze [Various Documents]. Sez. 11, b. 5, fasc. 1.
  • ‘Politica magazine, various articles,’ 1961. Archivio Giorgio La Pira.
  • Università euro-africana fond. Mattei (1960-63). Sez. 1, b. 47, fasc. 3.
  • Università Europea. Sez. 1, b. 47, fasc. 2.
  • Università Europea in Firenze. Il perché di una scelta (in fasciolo: Il Professore ha scritto ’conservare’), 25 April 1960. Sez. 16, b. 9, fasc. 5.

  • A University for Europe: Prehistory of the European University Institute in Florence (1948-1976). EUI.A.01-01. [link].
  • Belgian Position Concerning the Creation of an European University. EUI-791. [link].
  • Creation of an European University. EUI-795. [link].
  • Creation of an European University. EUI-890. [link].
  • Creation of the European University Institute: Meetings by Council of Ministers. EUI-370. [link].
  • First Drafts and Ideas about a Creation of an European University. EUI-794. [link].
  • German position concerning the creation of an European University. EUI-792. [link].
  • Italian and Dutch Positions Concerning the Creation of an European University. EUI-793. [link].
  • Lavori Di Ristrutturazione Della Badia Fiesolana Dal 1974 al 1976. Photograph Album, Vol. I. EUI-663. [link].
  • Libera, Adalberto, and Ludovico Quaroni. Review of Università Europea a Firenze. Tesi di laurea. Facoltà di architettura di Firenze, by Bianca Ballestrero, Paolo Bartolozzi, Anna Braschi, Luigi Cervellati, and Loris Macci. Architetti d’oggi, no. 6–7 (1961). EUI-8. [link].
  • ‘L’Università Europea a Firenze.’ Discorso del Sindaco di Firenze, Prof. Giorgio La Pira, in occasione della firma del contratto di acquisto dell’immobile di Marignolle. Firenze, 15 May 1961. EUI-8. [link].
  • Mission by M. Buzzonetti to Egypt, 16/05-22/05/1985. EUI-50. [link].
  • Photographs Collected by J.M. Palayret. EUI-1082. [link].
  • Provisional Installation of the European University Institute at the Badia Fiesolana, 1973. EUI-36. [link].

All listed documents can be found in the catalogue of the Archivio Giorgio La Pira and the catalogue of the Historical Archives of the European Union. Interested readers can request a copy of the archival documents used for this blogpost by writing an email to the EUI’s Decolonising Initiative: [email protected]  

Page last updated on 08/02/2024

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