Dr Maurizio Bragagni on receiving the OBE award at Watermen’s hall (2021)

My Lords, My Ladies, 

My Fellow Freemen,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very honoured by your meaningful presence in this beautiful room to celebrate my awards and gradual return to life as it was before the pandemic.

Everything started from the City, my MBA, my home, my life. I would like to thank Wendy Mead and Paul Martinelli for their incredible support to my application to become Freeman of the City.

Today I am honoured to be seated with Ann-Marie Jeffreys, Master of the Guild of the Freeman of the City and Deborah Oliver, Master of the Company of Communicators, in this beautiful Hall, the Watermen Hall, to celebrate my destiny. I cannot stress enough; everything started from the City. 

Nevertheless, I was a Doctor in Law from a very old university in Italy, when suddenly I realised I needed an Anglo Saxon education to advance my career. Destiny offered me an opportunity. I spoke to my old friend, Alessandro Guidici, who convinced me to enrol for a master degree in the City, and I moved to live in the City and enrol for an MBA at Bayes (former CASS) Business School. At a certain point, I felt that the MBA wasn’t right for me and was considering dropping out. 

Again, The destiny came in front of my request when I met Prof. Lanzolla, who is with us in this room today. He made a difference in my academic life, and not only was I able to complete my MBA successfully, but I also created a case study for Tratos, with a clear vision for its future and which is being successfully implemented now. I am honoured with the presence of Prof Ajay Bhalla and all the other people I met, who represent the City University, with all the opportunities and challenges to work and live with and to achieve personal growth. 

People I met made the difference! I can’t thank my Tratos colleagues enough, and in particular John Light, who met  me when I was young and inexperienced and guided me, and Neil Ancell who tried to implement a gentleman’s education in me. I also want to thank each and all of you for having faith in me and never letting me down.

Today we are celebrating not only the prestigious award of the Order of the British Empire, granted to me by Her Majesty the Queen but also the Freedom of the City of London and Liveryman of the Company of Communicators.

As a Freeman of the City, I must follow the ‘Rules for the Conduct of Life’,  which date from the mid-18th century and are so valid even today. While there are many rights and obligations listed there, one key element struck my attention: The right to a good death! 

Well, death is a certain thing, but to have a good death, you must live a good life! To have a good life, you must follow the commands of God!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I repeat saying to my friends and co-workers: Life is about the journey to the destination. Living a life of purpose gives both fulfilment and meaning to your journey.

Always remember! It is of utmost importance to recognise the fact, nothing is really achieved by us, but everything is achieved through us by God!

We are here to not only celebrate my achievements but to also celebrate that everything is possible in the hands of our Lord! I am JUST a humble servant of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who made everything possible. I am doing my best, and I will do more. I have many to thank, and above all, I thank God for finding a good use for a derelict sinner like me. 

The two masters- freemen I have the privilege to have in my table today, represent that old tradition. Two thousand years ago, through my ancestors, I would have been here as a ROMAN. Now I stand before you as a British. 

The City stands here, since its foundation by the Romans and their rule extended from 43 Anno Domini, to support each of us to become a freeman, to fully achieve our potential, to become a master of ourselves, to have a new life, a better life. We are here to thank Her Majesty the Queen, for we are living in an open and inclusive society, as you can realise from my very strong Italian accent and discomfort in talks caused by my dyslexia. This is another proof that nothing is impossible if we put ourselves in the hands of God!

That’s why I now invite all of you to stand with me and join me in thanking God for the opportunity to stay together and for the food we are going to have!