Taking the debate on religious freedom and multicultural societies in Europe and Italy to a deeper level of analysis. That is the aim of a meeting on 8 May 2012 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Rome where speakers include Riccardo Pacifici, President of the Jewish Community in Rome; Abdellah Redouane, Secretary General of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Rome; Yahya Pallavicini, Vice-President of the Islamic Religious Community (COREIS); Prof. Paolo Naso of Rome’s “La Sapienza” University; Ginella Vocca, President of the EuroMed Film Festival; and, as moderator, the Chair of the Inter-Departmental Committee for Human Rights at the MFA, Diego Brasioli.
Defending and promoting freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a highly topical issue in light of the numerous episodes of sectarian violence that continue to afflict religious minorities, mainly Christian, in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Such attacks have a destabilising impact on global security. It is therefore vitally important to defend and promote freedom of religion, a task that Italy has undertaken in a convinced and determined manner, including at the European level. Our country advocates a more concrete effort by the European structures, for example through a targeted use of the Union’s financial resources to foster inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue and support the communities affected by attacks or discrimination.
“Human rights, from theory to practice”. A series of meetings at the MFA
The meeting on 8 May is intended to take the debate on religious freedom and multicultural societies in Europe and Italy to a deeper level of analysis. It is part of the programme of meetings on “Human rights, from theory to practice” for students at Rome’s principal universities (La Sapienza, Roma Tre, Tor Vergata, Luiss, St.Pio V, LUMSA). The programme opened at the MFA on 13 March 2012 in the presence of Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Elsa Fornero, and the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Marta Dassù. The event was organised by the Inter-Departmental Committee for Human Rights (Italian initials CIDU), which operates from the MFA, in collaboration with the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (one of the main networks of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the sector of the fundamental human rights).
The initiative began with an initial round of meetings that ran from October to December 2011 and to date has been attended by over 160 students. It has been deemed a great success by both students and the partner Universities. The project will also be presented at FORUM PA 2012, the public sector “exhibition” taking place at the Nuova Fiera di Roma from 16 to 19 May.
Interactive debate between speakers and students
The workshops will follow an innovative model. For each set of meetings, speakers will include academics and researchers, politicians, government officials, officials from international organisations, and representatives of NGOs and of civil society and the arts.
Ample space will be devoted to the debate between speakers and students. The programme envisages fortnightly meetings that will address topics such as non-discrimination, immigration, campaigns against violence, the trafficking and exploitation of women and children, and the Italian strategy for the integration of the Roma and Sinti communities.