MRI Forum 77

A SPECIAL MRI FORUM ON BOOKS PRESENTATION jointly organized and hosted with the Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong & Macau and with Macao Museum

"500 Years of Italians in Hong Kong & Macau" and
"Portrait of a Jesuit – Alessandro Valignano"


by Alessandra Schiavo, Gianni Criveller, and Angelo Paratico

12 February 2014








Summary of the Presentation

Italians were actively involved in the European presence on the China coast in the earliest days of the sixteenth century, almost five hundred years ago. Throughout the intervening five centuries, Italians have made, and continue to make, major contributions to the development of Hong Kong and Macau. Important figures such as Alessandro Valignano, Matteo Ricci and Eugenio Zanoni Volpicelli lived in or passed through Hong Kong and Macau before moving to China or other East Asian countries. They had a significant role in the history of these two cities, which have been, and still are, a meeting place between China and the rest of the world. The Italian legacy remains powerfully evident, including the Ruins of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in Macau - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and Hong Kong’s education system.

Profile of the Presenters of the Books


Alessandra Schiavo is a career diplomat and Consul General of Italy to Hong Kong and Macau. Previously she served in the Middle East and in Brussels, where she participated to the drafting of the first European Constitution. She is the author of numerous academic articles on European affairs and on the Middle East peace process. She also writes literary fiction.


Gianni Criveller is Professor at The Holy Spirit Seminary College of Theology and Philosophy in Hong Kong and Honorary Research Associate at the Centre for Catholic Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He obtained a Doctorate in Dogmatic Theology at the San Thomas Aquinas Theological Faculty of Naples, with a thesis on early Jesuits’ China missions. Professor Criveller presided over the historical commission for the beatification of Matteo Ricci, the great China missionary. His books include Preaching Christ in Late Ming China and From Milan to Hong Kong, 150 Years of Mission.


Angelo Paratico has been a resident in Hong Kong for the past 30 years. A businessman, historian and novelist, he is also a freelance journalist with the South China Morning Post. Mr. Paratico is also the author of novels, like Black Hole, The Karma Killers and Ben. Recently he has published the first translation in English of Girolamo Cardano's (1501-1576) Nero: An Exemplary Life