“I confirm our support to the Leaders for Peace campaign, and I offer you this small gesture, symbolic, but concrete: five guns. Our Ministry of Defence renounces the purchase of five weapons in order to support your campaign.” With these words the Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte, during his visit to Rondine Cittadella della Pace, confirmed the pledge made last February, when he signed on to the appeal of Leaders for Peace, declaring that he would move the cost of a weapon from the Defense budget to a scholarship created to form leaders for peace.

“Those who have top level political responsibilities like me must give concrete signals – affirms the president, and continues: – Not only do I adhere via this symbolic, though concrete, gesture, but I will make myself bearer of your message to the other government leaders that I will meet, trying to propel your initiative. I share its fundamental values and will be its witness with leaders of government and heads of state.”

From the Citadel of Peace, the Prime Minister announced a commitment by his government to mediation in all scenarios of global conflict, from Libya to Venezuela, repeating his conviction that “violence can only generate further violence. It is wrong to imagine the possibility of stabilizing a country through military intervention.” The final achievement of peace requires “fierce determination”.

Such is that which was demonstrated by the female students of the World House, that welcomes to Rondine youth from areas of active or recent conflict worldwide, who have chosen the Citadel of Peace as the place to encounter their so-called “enemy” and to become leaders for peace. Amongst them Stephanie, originally from Colombia, the country having been tried by the longest lasting conflict of Latin American history. “In Colombia being a leader with a belief different from that of the oligarchy means certain death. I made the decision to face my fears and to become a leader of peace, because I want to take on the responsibility of being an agent for change in my society: the decisions that we take today will be tomorrows reality and us youth must have the right to decide”. At her side, Sara, from Bosnia-Herzegovina: “We can’t resolve a conflict with policies that de-humanize the other, nor with rhetoric discourses that fuel the divisions between the us and them, between right and wrong, between friends and enemies. Unfortunately, these actions frequently become preamble to war.”

“We don’t ask for disarmament, otherwise we’d confuse our final objective with our first step”, affirms Rondine’s President Franco Vaccari. “Rondine has chosen to invest into the first step and into the value of the symbolic, we are happy that this has come from the Italian government.”

To this morning’s visit also took part cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, the President of the Episcopal Conference of Italy, the humanist businessman Brunello Cucinelli and the General Secretary to the Foreign Ministry of Italy Elisabetta Belloni, from which came the original invitation to the United Nations, a symbolic location where last December, Rondine launched its global campaign Leaders for Peace for the reduction of armed conflict worldwide, which today received its first concrete support. That leaves 192 more Member States from which Rondine will continue to seek support. Meanwhile, the first brick of the new Global Leaders School was placed symbolically by Prime Minister Conte who concluded: “If we succeed in sharing this with other leaders, and I am in a position to do so, it would mean spreading a new sensibility worldwide.”