“It is wonderful for me to host this meeting and this important debate. As a diplomat, I know peace is not just lay down arms or signing a peace treaty, it is something to be offered every day. Rondine may offer great opportunities: you, as young men and women, give us hope and a daily proof that it is possible to work to build peace, that the engagement of everyone, including the civil society, is necessary in all its forms. For one day, this swallow -Rondine- stops on our embassy: now it flies away around the world. Please, consider this Embassy as home: we will do anything to support you”
This was the speech of Italian Ambassador Armando Varricchio on the occasion of the First international discussion on the Rondine Method. After the launch of the Leaders for Peace campaign at the United Nations in New York and the presentation of the show Dissonanze in Accordo with OIDA -Orchestra Instabile di Arezzo, to the presence of Italian General Counsellor Francesco Genuardi, the mission of the Tuscan association in the USA, engaged in reducing armed conflicts, is in Washington with an international conference aiming to achieve a first critical evaluation of the Rondine Method; it has been already applied on over 200 youngsters coming from conflict areas all around the world. The summit has been hosted on December the 13th, by the Italian Embassy in Washington.
A one-of-a-kind event, with the participation of about fifteen of the most important experts and academics from the main universities all around the world, gathering to give their own contribution to the Rondine Method for the creative transformation of conflicts; the objective is transforming it in a tool for the global society.
“Rondine is a laboratory; within the global society, it is an outskirt located in the centre, meaning to be ever more at the core of your studies” underlined Franco Vaccari, the president of Rondine “Should it have an added value, we may give it together, in order to deliver and spread it all around the world. We are preparing a study office, in order to turn Rondine into a place for the global research-action to improve the experience with the strength of the interdisciplinary academic research”.
“The Rondine Method implies a more sophisticated and complex approach in comparison with the common conflict resolution programs” stated Gerard F. Powers, one of the greatest experts of peace studies from the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame. He foresees a long term, able to trigger the healing of wounds. Rondine is also innovative in the spiritual and religious dimension. Concerning the issue of the return to the homelands in order to work on conflicts, the Rondine innovation is the support in this unique process”.
Ricardo de Guimaraes Pinto from UNESCO attended the event: he expressed his support to Rondine and declared “The educative program UNESCO aims to lead focuses on educating youngsters in order to provide a critical way of thinking allowing them to overcome the propaganda and become world citizens. 70 years after World War II, there is still so much to do. It is important to work together: civil society and organisations like Rondine are fundamental”.
The summit has been opened by Mons. Giorgio Biguzzi, honorary bishop of Makeni. He had a fundamental role in the ratification of the deal that ended the war in Sierra Leone in 2002. Greeting Cardinal GualtieroBassetti, president of the Episcopal conference of Italy, Biguzzi reminded of the Rondinid’Oro work in Sierra Leone; they are the former students of our association, working to prevent violence and safeguard human rights in the first project directly applying the Rondine Method in a belligerent country, “Initiative for Peaceful and Democratic Elections in Sierra Leone”. “We need to inspire our youths” affirmed Mons. Biguzzi, quoting Don Primo Mazzolai, said: “Spring comes with the first blossoms, love with the first hug and swallows flies because one of them opens the wings first. Our youths are the first hug, the first kiss, the first flight of the swallows”.
After the publication of “Dentro il conflitto, oltre il nemico. The Rondine Method”, edited by Luca Alici and published by “Il Mulino”, collecting the results of the first scientific research on the twenty-year work of the association, made by a research team from the Catholic University of Milan and the University of Padova, the study started to include other disciplines, such as philosophy, cultural anthropology, social philosophy and conflict resolution. Furthermore, thanks to the collaboration of the George Mason University of Washington, Daniel Rothbart, professor of Conflict analysis and resolution, already started a new research.
Among the speakers, there were Andrea Bartoli, rector of the Diplomacy School at the Seton Hall University; Jack Nusan Porte from Harvard; Miguel Diaz, former ambassador and professor at the Loyola University; Michael David Kaiser from the Lutheran College of Washington; Adam Muller from the Univerity of Manitoba; Audrey Cox from the United States Instutute of Peace USIP; Charles Hauss from the Alliance for Peacebuilding AFP.