Palermo hosts fourth International Forum on Pace, Sicurezza e Prosperità

Cadets and officer trainees from academies of 20 different nations walked alongside many students from Palermo to say no to conflicts, everywhere and at every level. This morning (March 18), the fourth International Forum for Peace, Security, and Prosperity opened in Palermo, lasting for three days. An important event during which thousands of young people – both online and in person – will study the dynamics to resolve crisis situations without resorting to open confrontation.

There are approximately 52 nations that have given their support to what is by far the most followed event dedicated to youth globally, the only one where the armed forces are directly involved. This morning in Piazza Pretoria, the Forum opened with the flag-raising ceremony and performances by the Bersaglieri and 12th Carabinieri Regiment of Sicily bands, and the Aosta Brigade band. Then a walk to Villa Bonanno for the commemoration of civilian and military casualties of international peace missions, to then arrive at the courtyard of the Royal Palace where the young Cantoria del Teatro Massimo performed.

“The forum welcomes thousands of students, online and in person – stated the military commander of the Army in Sicily, Major General Maurizio Angelo Scardino – they will be our witnesses to the future; to decide the fate of society and always find a peaceful solution to all disputes.” This was echoed by the founder of the IFPSP Forum, civil volunteer Steve Gregory: “It is a forum to reach civilian and military students, at a time when the world has never seen so many conflicts since the post-war period.”

Present were the regional councilor for Cultural Heritage Francesco Paolo Scarpinato (“A message of peace and hope is being launched, young people represent the future of this country, but also the present,” he declared) and the mayor of Palermo Roberto Lagalla, who emphasized how “it is important that a great city like Palermo is open to all sensitivities and reflections, to moments of collaboration and encounter.”

Representatives from 52 nations are participating, both online and in person: Italy, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom; and Austria, Armenia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, South Korea, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Georgia, Greece, India, Iran, Ireland, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Hungary.

The presence of Mykola Yusypenko, a Ukrainian officer trainee from the Nationality Academy of “German Petro Sagaydachniy”, was significant, explaining how “for me it is important to be here at a peace event, so that people understand the aggression with which they are tearing apart my country.”

In the afternoon, workshops and meetings began at Palazzo Sclafani, with high school students, university students, cadets from military academies and colleges, in discussions with academics, military and public security professionals, peace operators, political leaders, and administrators, to explore the dynamics of the so-called “positive peace”, the philosophical concept theorized in the 1960s by the American sociologist Johan Galtung, which analyzes the causes of war and the underlying and guaranteeing requirements of peace. Simulations, role-playing games, and syndicates are planned in which participants will be “immersed” in a crisis scenario (media, environmental, political, social) and encouraged to collaborate in teams to identify the most appropriate strategies to avoid conflicts, using the framework of the eight pillars of Positive Peace. Role-playing games and simulations are led by the University of Palermo, with other panels by prestigious academic institutions worldwide.

Themes include the International Agenda “Women, Peace, and Security”, inclusion and the role of minorities in building lasting peace. Other topics will focus on resilience, the current international situation, and the impact of contemporary tensions and conflicts on international organizations. On the third and final day – Wednesday, March 20 at the Politeama Theatre – there will be a conference open to the public (and live webcast) and the award ceremony for the winners of the international school competition launched every year and participated in by high schools from all over the world.

This year, the Forum – initiated by the “International Forum for Peace, Security & Prosperity” (IFPSP), a non-profit organization founded by Canadian Steve Gregory in 2019 – can count on the support of the Sicilian Region, the regional Education Department, the Sicilian Regional Assembly, the Federico II Foundation, the Municipality and Metropolitan City of Palermo, the Sicilia Foundation, the Sicilian Regional School Office, Teatro Massimo, the Defense Staff represented by the Army Command in Sicily, the Palermo delegations of Assoarma and Assofante, the Nato Defence Education Enhancement Programme (Deep), the European Union Military Secondary Schools Forum (EUMSSF), the International Association of Military Academies (IAMA), the Global Peace Institute (GPI) and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

Pace, Sicurezza e Prosperità: a Palermo il quarto Forum internazionale

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