Athens, Ga. – As the University of Georgia’s Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy, celebrates its 45th consecutive summer, the program and the city of Athens, Georgia, welcome the newly elected Cortona Mayor Franchesca Basanieri.

During this year’s summer program kickoff event Mayor Basanieri was presented a key to the Classic City by the Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Allison Wright, who was representing Mayor Nancy Denson. Since 1978, Athens and Cortona have become Sister Cities, as a result of the relationship established by founder and former Director of the program John D. Kehoe, a sculptor and University of Georgia professor of art, who, in 1970, took a small group of UGA students to Cortona, Italy, for art classes.

“With over 8000 alumni, the University of Georgia’s residential center in Cortona, Italy continues to enrich the lives of participating students and faculty,” said Christopher Robinson, program director of UGA Studies Abroad Program in Cortona. “We are in fact witnessing the current foundation and continuance of a 45-year-old relationship as well as the pivotal roles we all play within this longstanding international friendship and cultural exchange. We aspire to achieve reciprocating enrichment between our University of Georgia program participants and the Italian citizens, most especially the Cortonesi."

The ceremony also included the presentation of scholarships, yearly offered by the city and businesses of Cortona to four UGA Cortona students. The recipients of this year’s summer program were Lucy Williams, Ihab Ali, Christin King, and Victoria Chong. 

UGA Cortona has over twenty courses offered year-round, ranging from Landscape Architecture to Creative Writing. For more information, see

Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Allison Wright (on the left) and Lorena Tanganelli, Presidente Consiglio di Cortona, who received the key on behalf of Cortona Mayor Franchesca Basanieri

UGA student Lucy Williams receiving a stipend​ from the UGA Cortona director Chris Robinson, on behalf of Impresa Magini.

Performance by local, traditional drummers and flag throwers at the end of the event