In March 2016, Sergio Mattarella, President of the Republic of Italy awarded Ms Dainora Pociūtė – Abukevičienė, the President of the VU Senate and the Professor of the Faculty of Philology with a second degree Order of the Star of Italy for cultural and academic exchanges between the two countries.
“I am deeply surprised and feel highly honoured to receive the award from the President of Italy! I have always had a special affection for Italy” – Professor D. Pociūtė – Abukevičienė commented her emotions. Prof. Pociūtė – Abukevičienė considers that her efforts were recognized in Italian academic society due to the fact that scientists in general are well visible in Italy and universities as well as scientists are highly respected traditionally by the Italian society.
Prof. Pociūtė – Abukevičienė explores the early times, evolution of the renaissance thought, culture and religion.
As soon as Prof. Pociūtė – Abukevičienė learnt the Italian, in 2003 she started to look for opportunities to work in Italian archives and libraries. Then internships at Pisa and Udine Universities, also at the Renaissance Research Centre of Harvard University in Florence followed. The Italian Embassy in Lithuania supported and funded the scientist’s research at Rome, Siena and other archives.
After five years of intensive work with Italian sources in 2008, the first monograph “Rebel Department. Early Reformation and evangelical Lithuanian – Italian relations” was published, presenting the insights and conclusions of Prof. Pociūtė – Abukevičienė. Professor’s ongoing research brought her to the initiation of the “Monumenta Reformationis Lithuanicae”. The volumes of 2011 and 2012 illustrate interaction of Italian and Lithuanian reformation thought.