The ceremony to award honorary citizenship of the city of Sarajevo to Maestro Riccardo Muti, granted in recognition of his high commitment to peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, took place in the Sarajevo City Hall (known as Vijećnica), coinciding with the Statehood Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Italian Ambassador Marco Di Ruzza stressed how the prestigious award confirmed the extraordinary emotional, as well as professional, bond between Muti and the city of Sarajevo. “We are very proud”, said the Ambassador, “to have contributed to the organisation of Riccardo Muti’s concert held last 11 October to celebrate the centenary of the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra. The event was a valuable gift for the Sarajevo population and more generally for bilateral cultural relations. The awarding of honorary citizenship of Sarajevo to Maestro Muti is yet another significant bridge between Italy and Bosnia and Herzegovina, further strengthening the splendid cultural partnership between the two countries”.
A tireless promoter of the values of citizenship, peace and democracy, Maestro Muti was the first international cultural personality to visit Sarajevo in 1997, immediately after the end of the long siege that engulfed the city from 1992 to 1996. The proposal to award honorary citizenship to Maestro Muti was made – in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy – by the Association “Education Builds Bosnia and Herzegovina”, founded by Jovan Divjak, the Bosnian Serb general who defended Sarajevo during the siege.