Franco Vaccari, President and Founder of Rondine Cittadella della Pace, was born in Arezzo in 1952. Raised in the context of an important Christian vocation, Vaccari internalized the topics of conflict and peace from a young age through his strong passion for education and politics, as well as his international vision. His father, who was a general in the Italian army, had a life-changing experience: he was captured by the English soldiers at the beginning of World War II and transferred to a prison camp in India for six years, a deeply painful experience that he meditated on without bitterness and then meekly narrated to his son.
Since his university years, Vaccari has been engaged in Catholic and social activism and volunteering, teaching young people how to use dialogue, confrontation, and openness to different religious paradigms. It was with a group of young people, together with Giorgio La Pira’s friends, that he decided in 1988 to open a communication channel with the Soviet Union, through the first lady Raissa Gorbačëva, then president of the Soviet Fund for Culture. By bringing a testimony of peace embodied by Saint Francis of Assisi to Moscow, Vaccari paved the way for fruitful relationships of trust with some cultural figures and with the Kremlin. This led him to manage a complex peace mediation between the Russian government and the secessionist Republic of Chechnya in 1955.
As a point of reference for both parties, he accepted the request to host some students in the Rondine hamlet in 1997 to educate them about leadership in war-torn countries. In 1998, he founded Rondine Cittadella della Pace. He remains the President of the organization to this day.
Vaccari is a psychologist, the director of the New Psychology Lab in Arezzo, and an academic; among other awards, he has received the Minerva Prize in Campidoglio (Rome) and the Dossetti Prize.
He is the author of several newspaper and magazines articles. His work is published in: Portici; Politica vecchia, nuova passione (Editrice Ave, 2007); s-confinamenti (Pazzini Editore, 2018); stoRYcycle (Pazzini Editore, 2018); Metodo Rondine (Pazzini Editore, 2018).