La Verna, defined by former mayor of Florence Giorgio La Pira as “the springboard for peace actions”, has been the stage for the official launch of the global campaign Leaders for Peace – a national launch before the international launch which was held on the 10th of December at the United Nations headquarters on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights.
The event opened the testimony of some of Rondine’s founders and long-term friends (the president Franco Vaccari, the bishop of Grosseto Mons. Rodolfo Cetoloni, Domenico Giani, commander of the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City and Felix Stanevskiy, former Russian ambassador in Italy). The core of the event was the announcement of the Appeal for the global campaign, through which Rondine asks all UN Member States to devote a symbolic amount from their defence budget to scholarships for future peace leaders and also to include the human rights education in their national school programs, integrating them with the Rondine Method. “We need global peace leaders trained with a new method, who are capable of immediately inﬂuencing diﬀerent societies and the world, directing change and propelling us forward into a new era”, read, quoting the Appeal, Manuella Markaj, vice president of the Rondine International Peace Lab, the association reuniting the former students from the Citadel of Peace which is promoting the campaign alongside with Rondine.
Just four days later, Rondine students took the campaign to Rome. The President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella has been the first Head of State to officially receive the Appeal that Rondine then presented to the 193 Member State of the United Nations on the 10th of December.
The Appeal has been read to the President of the Republic by a Palestinian girl and an Israeli young man, proving that in Rondine they can cohabitate and work together every day. Mattarella, gathering the strength of their message and their real-life experience, welcomed the Appeal with huge support and encouragement for the Rondine youths, so that they can be the bearer of a global change starting right from Italy.
Their passion and courage deeply moved and impressed President Mattarella, who encouraged them to continue this process because, as History teaches us, those at the bottom can change the world, even when it seems impossible.