The University of Split awarded Mateo Martinic Beros the title of honorary doctor at a ceremony staged at the lecture hall of its school of medicine. The proposal, which came at the initiative of Ms Bezić Filipović, has been supported by the University of Magallanes and Croatian honorary consul in Punta Arenas Rudi Mijač.

At the initiative of the head of the Split branch office of the CHF Branka Bezić Filipović, the senate of the University of Split and rector Šimun Andjelinović have decided to award Mateo Martinic Beros (http://www.enciklopedija.hr/natuknica.aspx?id=39175) the title of honorary doctor on University of Split Day. In Chile the proposal has been supported by the University of Magallanes and Croatian honorary consul in Punta Arenas Rudi Mijač. http://www.slobodnadalmacija.hr/scena/mozaik/clanak/id/223059/splicanin-rudi-mijac–dobrotvor-koji-vec-pedeset-godina-njeguje

On the 15th of June the University of Split celebrated its 42nd anniversary with a ceremony staged at the lecture hall of its school of medicine. Honorary doctorates were awarded to Nikola Bašič, David Jones Owen PhD and academician Mateo Martinic Beros, while the title of honorary professor emeritus was awarded to Dr Goran Tomašević, Jelena Perić and Davor Juretić.

Chilean ambassador to Croatia Juan Luis Nilo Valledor visited Split for the occasion and accepted the honorary doctorate on behalf of Martinic. The recipient of the title was not able to be present, but the gathered were able to watch a pre-recorded speech on the video wall.

The story of Martinic Beros does not, however, end here. Those who read the CHF portal, travelogues or are just enthusiastic about geography and travel will know that the Murray Channel lies to the west of Navarino island. The only island in the channel is named Martinic, and was named after Mateo Martinic Beros, an academician, historian and former governor. Along with Navarino island, to the eastern side of the Beagle Channel, not far from Cape Horn, is an island group consisting of the three islands Lennox, Picton and Nueva. These islands are part of the Chilean Antarctic province. On Lennox Island, with its rich deposits of gold, Croatians, in spite of the hardships, sought a better life.

In memory of the Croatians that lived on the island and at the initiative of Mateo Martinic Beros, the Croatian civic centre in Punta Arenas erected a bronze memorial plaque in Lennox Bay in 1978. The civic centre was headed at the time by its president Andro Kukolj, and the memorial monument was installed on the hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the first Croatians in Magallanes. The first to come there were the brothers Paravić and Petar Zambelić.

In April of 2015 Branka Bezić Filipović had the honour of laying a wreath at the memorial on behalf of the Croatian Heritage foundation, the honorary Croatian consul in Punta Arenas and the Croatian Civic Centre of Punta Arenas. As she has travelled there aboard a Chilean Navy ship this emotional moment was shared with commander Patricio Espinoza Sapunar and the crew of the Alacalufe. See the photo gallery at: https://www.facebook.com/unist.hr

Text by: Diana Šimurina-Šoufek