The announcement during an event hosted by H.E. Ambassador Pietro Sebastiani at the Embassy of Italy to the Holy See, in front of the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See
The presentation of the Leaders for Peace Global Campaign took place today at the Embassy of Italy to the Holy See in front of the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See, in Rome.
Three years after its launch in 2018, Rondine’s young students and alumni met the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See again to urgently renew their Appeal to UN Member States to promote the development of peaceful social and political relations by teaching Human Rights in all national education systems combined with the practice of Rondine Method for the creative transformation of conflicts.
The COVID-19 epidemic took more than three million human lives in its global path, and it is still far from being globally defeated. Moreover, it produced new poverties, rising tensions, and has reignited negative dynamics of violence and hatred only partially frozen by the outbreak of the pandemic..
As of early 2021, the growing socio-political crisis seems to confirm the need for change Rondine’s students demanded in December 2018, when they asked world leaders to embrace the values of the Leaders for Peace global campaign at the United Nations headquarters, in New York.
The Leaders for Peace global campaign was supposed to close at the end of the year. Instead, it has been announced that the campaign will continue its outreach action over the next two years, until 2023 in order to disarm new or renewed conflicts, to apply the Universal Declaration of Human Rights andto lead States and governments towards peaceful exit strategies through effective dialogue and multilateralism, especially in light of the challenges faced by the most fragile communities.
Today’s meeting was strongly supported and promoted by H.E. Pietro Sebastiani, Ambassador of Italy to the Holy See. In welcoming participants within the beautiful setting of Palazzo Borromeo, he declared: “Based on more than 20 years of experience Rondine trains young people as global leaders, in order to be aware and able to intervene in enforcing and affirming human rights and peace. It is an established, appreciated and estimated model at all latitudes and longitudes. As the President of the Italian Republic, Mr Sergio Mattarella, often says: We must prepare peace by building it constantly. It is possible“.
Mr Franco Vaccari, Founder and President of the association Rondine Cittadella della Pace said: “Through today’s initiative, Rondine, in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy to the Holy See, intends to draw attention to the message of these young people who personally experienced hatred, armed conflict, the planetary deception of the enemy and, finally, they call for all the United Nations Member States to take a possible step: signing an Appeal for Peace.” – Mr Vaccari continues – “We need to make a renewed pact that builds new trust into relationships, because there is a dark side of the Coronavirus that spreads: a social, relational wound. We found a vaccine for the virus, now we must find a vaccine based on dialogue and anti-violence education.
The meeting was moderated by Patricia Thomas, correspondent, and producer of the Associated Press Television News, and had as protagonists the students and the alumni of the World House of Rondine relaunching the Leaders for Peace appeal.
“A leader should not be just a politician. A leader exists in all professions and all levels of life. For us, Leader is a visionary one who can imagine things that now do not exist, a person who can see far away with no fear” Ms Sara Dukic, former Bosnian student of Rondine representing the youth of the Citadel, stated: “I got the Centro Alti Studi per la Difesa first Scholarship originated from the signature of the Italian Government of the Leaders for Peace Appeal, and soon a Palestinian colleague of mine will be awarded the second Scholarship. Thanks to the support of Costa Rica, Rondine is also starting up important training projects. Imagine doing all this for the benefit of the young people in your country, for the benefit of young people of the whole world. This is change”.
The event involved several representatives of the Catholic world, diplomacy and cultural figures to share ideas and reflections on important current issues, such as the worsening of social conflicts, the importance of the role of young people, the need for a responsible leadership but especially the importance of training, and the training of youth to a leadership of peace.
“What we heard today can be translated into a single word. “Peace”. One of the most important fruits of evangelization is the journey of peace. There is an “Opera Segno” which has been entrusted to Rondine and is a concrete expression of the Church that bears witness to peace – says H.E. Monsignor Stefano Russo, Secretary General of the Italian Episcopal Conference in reference to the project named “Mediterranean Frontier of Peace” and promoted by CEI during the Bari’s conference in February 2020, which is developed by Rondine with Italian Caritas at present – Pope Francis wanted the Bari’s meeting between the Catholic churches of the Mediterranean basin to recover the spirit of the origins. He underlined the need to ask ourselves who we want to be even in front of big changes in our society. We do care very much that Rondine remains faithful to the original inspiration, and we see what it generates”.
While recalling the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death, the Italian Sommo Poeta, Mirosław S. Wachowski, Under-Secretary of the Section for Relations with States at the Vatican Secretariat of State pointed out: “Dante teaches us that courage is needed to live life as young people of the Leaders for Peace campaign witness to as well. The courage of those who get involved in first person to create new paths of peace. To witness that a future of peace is possible, to help people overwhelmed by violence to believe in life again. – and continues – This campaign, which was presented to us today, shows us the courage needed to spend energy and time to educate people capable of peace. That is the only way to build a future whose main cornerstones are represented by responsibility toward others, and to intend that the good of one contributes to the good of the whole world.
Mr George Poulides, Ambassador of Cyprus and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See, stated: “Young people initiatives and projects of this level must be widely supported in order to create the necessary social bridges that will support the building of peace of our times”.
Among the representatives of official diplomacy, Mr Federico Zamora Cordero, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the Holy See, spoke on behalf of Costa Rica that expressed full support to the Leaders for Peace campaign values by signing the Appeal, on 23 July 2020. The Ambassador reiterated his strong commitment to youth training and peace-building, recalling that Costa Rica was the first country without an army: “Today is a day of particularimportance because we echo the voice of these young people who lived in conflict and today tell us that we can live in peace as brothers and sisters. – and adds – The twenty years of history of Rondine Cittadella della Pace show us that building peace is possible”.
Mrs Stefania Mancini, Vice President of Fondation Assistance Internationale (FAI), the foundation that supported the development of Rondine, the Leaders for Peace campaign and important projects of the “Rondini d’Oro” (the alumni of the International Studentato Internazionale-World House) such as “Initiative for peaceful and democratic elections in Sierra Leone”, said: “Foundations have a responsibility to support the experiences of civil society that carry out their cause with constancy and professionalism. The Leaders for Peace campaign provides a framework for these young people to continue their work when they return to their countries. Let us not forget the importance of our first event at the United Nations: it was a unique event that allowed such a representation to bring its values and commitment to young people from all over the world to all UN Member States”.
The event was also an opportunity to present the project of the Italian Episcopal Conference-CEI Mediterranean frontier of peace, education and reconciliation, of which Rondine Cittadella della Pace is entrusted for the development of the high training program and for the support in the definition of social impact projects created by the young participants.
PHOTO CREDITS: copyright Massimiliano Migliorato Catholic Press Photo www.photocpp.com