Italy’s ambassador to the United States, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, came to Brooklyn College recently to talk about the relationship between his native land and the United States, and to discuss the central role that the “transatlantic partnership” between America and the European members of NATO, including Italy, still plays in today’s international events.

His speech was the fourth in a series of ambassadorial level lectures, the Martin and Syma Mendelsohn Lectureship in International Relations.

Ambassador Terzi’s address was introduced by Martin Mendelsohn, ’63, a former federal official who created the Office of Special Investigation in the Department of Justice. The office’s mission was to find and prosecute Nazi war criminals. Mendelsohn went on to represent Holocaust survivors’ claims against Swiss banks and Austrian and German firms and became the external counsel to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He established the lectureship series in 2009 with his wife Syma, ’64.

“Brooklyn is so meaningful and so important for Italians in America because it has always been considered the gateway to the United States,” Terzi told an enthusiastic audience of nearly 300 students, faculty members and alumni in the Student Center. He noted that this year is the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification as a nation.

Terzi added that he believes “the transatlantic community continues to be the main economic center of gravity for the world community. It is the main economic powerhouse of the world scene — and it is that by far.”

He stated that, although some believe we live in a time of anxiety, “the E.U.-U.S. partnership ranges from defense to security, from science to culture, from trade to economy. It is a partnership that ensures not only peace and stability but also development and economic welfare for both sides of the Atlantic and for both our peoples.”

It is clear that this is generally understood, said the ambassador. “Polls show that 70 percent of Americans and 67 percent of Europeans believe that we share the same values and that we must cooperate in the international arena.”

In addition, he noted, 60 percent of Europeans have a very positive view of the United States and 60 percent of Americans have an equally positive view of Europe. “Italy ranks among the top in this view,” Terzi said.

Terzi holds a degree in international law from the University of Milan and is a veteran of the Italian foreign service. He has served in Canada and Israel, and at NATO headquarters in Brussels and U.N. headquarters in New York. He was named ambassador to the United States in 2009.