Vatican City, December the 3rd, 2018 – «You ask us to join your appeal. For my part, I will do so, and I ask the Heads of State and Government to do the same. Your voice – weak, but strong in the hope and courage of youth – can be heard on 10 December at the United Nations.»
Pope Francis supports and relaunches the Appeal at the core of the global campaign Leaders for Peace, presented today by the Rondine association during the private audience at the Clementine Hall, in the Vatican. He does so by inviting State leaders to visit Rondine and personally meet these youngsters, coming from conflict places, that every day strive for dialogue with their own “enemy” and are training to become future peace leaders.
«There is a need for leaders with a new mentality. Those who do not know how to dialogue and exchange with each other are not leaders of peace: a leader who does not try to meet the “enemy”, to sit with him at the table as you do, can not lead his people to peace. In order to do this we need humility, not arrogance: may Saint Francis help you to follow this path with courage. […] I hope your leaders go to Rondine, and see how their young people are preparing peace.»
Today one hundred fifty people, including students, friends and supporters of Rondine, took part in the meeting with the Holy Father, who celebrated with them the twentieth anniversary of the Tuscan association, together with Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Episcopal Conference of Italy, Mons. Nunzio Galantino and Mons. Riccardo Fontana, Bishop of Arezzo – Cortona – Sansepolcro: a moment of celebration, witnessing the Pope blowing the twenty candles with the youngsters who are preparing to take the Leaders for Peace campaign to the United Nations.
«Listening to a young Palestinian and a young Israeli who together ask the governments of the world to take a step that can reopen the future, transferring the cost of a weapon from the defense budget to the education budget to form a peace leader, is a rare thing, it is a bright thing! How could you disagree? But we adults can not get away saying “Well done!”, no. I feel I have to give you all my support, my sympathy, my blessing.»
On December the 10th, the association will be at the UN Headquarter in New York to request support from the 193 Member States and the international community for the education of new global peace leaders and the spread of human rights education in the national school systems.
«[…] your appeal contains and proposes a concrete vision. In the Message for the next World Day of Peace, on 1 January 2019, which has as its theme Good politics is at the service of peace, I reiterate that political responsibility belongs to every citizen, in particular to those who have received the mandate to protect and to rule. This mission consists in safeguarding the law and encouraging dialogue between the actors of society, between generations and between cultures. Listening to you I add: between the parties in conflict. Because trust is created only in dialogue.»
«For twenty years we have been developing an educational method – named Rondine Method – very strict, based on a two-year long cohabitation, and we realized that hostility transforms into its opposite, that the concept of enemy is a trick obstructing minds, hearts and development chances – explained the President of Rondine Franco Vaccari. – A creative method we can now spread all around the world.»
«It is good that with your method you want to reach citizens and political leaders, representatives of national and international institutions at the same time. Indeed, peace is everyone’s responsability» replied the Pontifex. «May you help break down the highest walls, build bridges and eliminate impassable borders, the legacy of a world that is ending.»
President Vaccari had the honor to invite Pope Francis to inaugurate with a lectio magistralis the School for global peace leaders, that is going to take place in the Laudato Si’ classroom, inspired by the encyclic of the Holy Father.