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Actor Roberto Benigni receives honorary PhD in Thessaloniki

Academy Award-winner Roberto Benigni was granted an honorary doctorate from the Italian language and literature department of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University on Wednesday night, signing the praises of Greece to an enthusiastic audience.

The 59-year-old Italian actor, director and writer of, among others, the critically acclaimed World War II drama «Life is Beautiful,» was awarded for his «exemplary artistic career and his innovative spirit.

He received his title with unabashed enthusiasm, saying «I want to kiss you all on the lips,» in flawless Greek.

The rambunctious actor, who did not hesitate to leap from the dais, received a standing ovation from his audience of academics by saying «it is not Greece that owes; it is the world, Europe, that owes Greece everything.»