The visit to Rondine of UN Under-Secretary Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative for the UN Alliance for Civilizations, during YouTopic Fest 2023, left a profound mark at a time when the world is questioning the meaning of peace more and more every day as conflicts intensify.

«In Rondine,» said Moratinos, participating in the first two days of YouTopic Fest 2023, «there is a chance to breathe peace, to feel it on your skin, and to understand it better. It was an inspiring moment for me to see all of you young people working for this with such great enthusiasm. Rondine is not only a model but a reality to be promoted all over the world.»

The U.N. Under-Secretary, in fact, arrived on June 8th to attend the panel RELIGIONS AND BROTHERHOOD IN THE MEDITERRANEAN: GENERATIONS IN DIALOGUE – Seeking actions and alliances between religions and generations for a concrete prospect of peace. A meeting dedicated to the three great Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – which over the centuries have repeatedly met and clashed around the Mare Nostrum, shaping ideas and cultures, but also fueling divisions and wars that have obscured the strong message of peace and brotherhood that underlies the values of each faith.

The special guest for this meeting was Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi, president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, who had just returned from his peace mission in Ukraine, together with Vittorio Robiati Bendaud of the Central-Northern Italy Rabbinical Tribunal, Hamdan Al Zeqri, counselor with delegated authority for interreligious dialogue Union of Islamic Communities of Italy, and Nadezda Mojsilovic, Project Manager at the John Paul II Youth Pastoral Center (Bosnia-Herzegovina).

«The mission that Pope Francis has entrusted to Cardinal Zuppi is very important,» Moratinos emphasized. «The Holy See has shown a very strong commitment from the very beginning to seek any path in order to achieve peace. At this stage it is extremely difficult to work in this direction.»

On June 9th, the UN Under-Secretary, together with Laurent Standaert, Policy Director Green European Foundation, Robert Krizanič, Director Povod Foundation (Slovenia), Board Member of ENOP, Siegfried Woeber, OSCE, and Artsrun Pivazyan, Armenian Rondine D’Oro, Project Coordinator SALAR International, were the featured panelists on PEACE, POLITICALLY DESIRABLE – Wars, Inequalities, Social Policies: the Role of Youth in European Balances.

The meeting concluded with Moratinos being presented with the “Rondine Ambassador” pin, a sign of friendship, closeness, and sharing of its values and recognition of his commitment to supporting the Citadel’s young peace leaders and their impact in Italy and around the world, promoting the Rondine method at all levels.

The presence of the UN Under-Secretary at YouTopic Fest 2023, moreover, came less than a year after the meeting at which a memorandum of understanding was signed between Rondine and UNAOC, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in the presence of the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations. UNAOC is the UN body charged with developing knowledge on peacebuilding and intercultural dialogue at the global level, and supporting the projects of young peacebuilders from around the world. Through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, Rondine and UNAOC have thus begun to structure collaborations on the main themes of work of the two organizations, hence on peace education, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, as well as developing together projects and studies on multiple national and international contexts.

A speech, also for this reason, that was extremely significant, was the one that Moratinos pronounced in Rondine, which the UN Under-Secretary wished to conclude by quoting Albert Camus: «Peace is the only battle worth waging.»