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Religion and diplomacy together to promote peace in the Mediterranean

“Today we must see religions as international actors and be mindful of their role in the  Mediterranean, which is so dear to our hearts. We should encourage a dialogue between different religions into a source of national and international dynamics capable of leading to a fruitful cooperation towards the achievement of stabilization and international peace ,” said the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Antonio Bernardini on the sidelines of the conference “Religion and Diplomacy: a new strategic pillar for a comprehensive mediterranean dialogue.” The conference, jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Institute for International Political Studies, ISPI, was opened by Minister Bernardini, ISPI President Giancarlo Aragona and Fabio Petito, professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex. The conference was organized into two panels. Armando Barucco, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Unit of Analysis, Programming and Historic- Diplomatic Documentation (Uap- Dsd)  chaired the first panel on “Including religion in foreign policy – the case of Italy and the debate on religion and diplomacy in the West.” Pasquale Ferrara, senior fellow of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute, chaired the second panel on “ The role of religion in the Mediterranean crisis – how to behave?”

Minister Bernardini  also said: “This event is part of a project dedicated to foreign policy and religion, which the Foreign Affairs Ministry has been developing for some years now in collaboration with  research centres and in particular with ISPI. The goal is to promote a better understanding of the role of religion in today’s international political situation.” It is in this context that “Italy is a leader and pays special attention at the international level to themes regarding the protection of religious minorities and aspects related to multiculturalism,” said the Deputy Secretary General and mentioned, as an example, “the recent Italian initiative which led to the establishment of UNESCO Blue Helmets of Culture, whose goal is to protect cultural assets as well as religious diversity.” Italy has always been active on these issues, advocating diverse actions, with measures that go from a series of projects supporting Italian Cooperation to high-level actions at the international fora, which Italy has developed over the past few years. (Il Velino)