The peaceful coexistence of young students coming from opposite sites of conflict areas, presented at the European Parliament for the Centenary of the First World War

18 November, Brussels, European Parliament. “Our European History can become a model of peace. Peace is not only the absence of war. It is democracy, human rights, it means sharing our own humanity”. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, affirmed at the event promoted by the Association Rondine Cittadella della Pace, at the Brussels European Parliament. “The best feature of Rondine’s program is coexistence. It reveals how we need knowledge and sharing experiences. Speaking about peace is not naive, it takes a strong bravery to make peace, more than to make war”.

A twofold event entitled “Europe. a new conscience for leaving behind a century of wars” organized in collaboration with the Vice President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. Among the speakers, together with Rondine’s Chairman,Franco Vaccari relevant personalities from the institutions and the civil society, such as Federica Mogherini,  High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,Antonio Tajani, Vice President, European Parliament,Marco Peronaci Permanent Representative of Italy at the European Union in Brusselscardinal  Gualtiero Bassetti, Vice President, Italian Conference of Bishopsthe Israeli singer,Achinoam Nini (Noa), Hosted by Carmen Lasorella.

Rondine’s students asked important questions to the speakers. Elmira, from Azerbaijan, presented her experience of coexistence with her enemy. Maria, from Armenia, emphasized the need of involving people in peace processes, so to achieve a deep reconciliation. Rondine’s President, Franco Vaccari, affirmed: “Our present meeting with the European institutions constitute the first step for Maria’s and Elmira’s manifesto. They teach us that people can find a unique aim in a new successful project, to bring more peace to the world”.

“Unfortunately, nobody knows about the NGOs work, since violence is the main subject on the media. Conversely, we should focus on the stories of hope, coming from experiences like Rondine.” These are the words of Noa(Achinoam Nini) who recalled everyone’s role, starting from the institutions, of responsibility of maintaining peace.The Israeli singer is a real icon of Rondine; she gave a testimony of the personal commitment to support the dialogue between people through music which turned into the vehicle for a universal peace message. Furthermore, she took part to the Dissonanze in Accordo concert that took place at7.00 pm at Espace Menuhin. A show which stages the “real” testimony of the students of Rondine Cittadella della Pace, bringing us back, through the memory, to the days of the first World War. This creates an upturned story, in which the enemy becomes a partner in life for building together a different future. Rondine Cittadella della Pace Onlus becomes in this way the first Italian association to bring, in 2014, to the European Parliament an event  dedicated to the First World War Centenary, in the framework of the initiatives for the Six Month Presidency of the European Council, which strives to promote the awareness of this conflict and to keep its memory in favour of future generations by focusing its global message the young fighters in the current conflicts.

This event is held under the exceptional patronage of the  Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and of the  Office of the Prime Minister – Mission Structure for anniversaries having National relevance and theTuscany Region. It was designed right to launch a concrete and universal message of peace which arrives exactly from who, such us the Rondine young guest coming from war regions, concretely lives, through the experience in the International Student Residence, the possibility to overcome the conflict. A message which has the strength of real life and the freshness of contemporary world thanks to the daily work which these young people coming from war places make for overcoming the prejudices and the cultural categories which identify them as enemies by proving in day to day life their ability to live and plan together a different future.

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