Carlo Zonato, president of UPF-Italy
Carlo Zonato of UPF (left) and Professor Matteo L. Napolitano, the forum’s main speaker
Professor Matteo L. Napolitano, a historian and diplomat
Participants of the third Peace Forum of 2023
Participants of the third Peace Forum of 2023
The Peace Forum participants at the end of the meeting

Rome, Italy—The theme of the third UPF-Italy Peace Forum of 2023 was “If You Want Peace, Prepare for Peace.”

The speaker was Professor Matteo Luigi Napolitano, a historian and diplomat who is the head of the chair of diplomacy and international history at the University of Molise and Campobasso. He is also the executive director of the World Evolution Institute and an international delegate to the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences at Vatican City. He is also a UPF Ambassador for Peace.

The online meeting, held on March 27, 2023, was hosted by Carlo Zonato, president of UPF-Italy.

Professor Napolitano began by thanking UPF for appointing him to be an Ambassador for Peace.

He explained that the title of his talk came from a phrase that was used by “a great Vatican diplomat,” Cardinal Agostino Casaroli. Before he was a cardinal, in the 1970s he participated in the negotiations for the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

“In his speech he said exactly this: ‘If you really want peace, you have to prepare for peace,’” Professor Napolitano recalled.

“Why Casaroli? Because the CSCE [Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe] was revived in December last year, exactly on December 13. The idea of recovering the experience of the CSCE in Helsinki as a model for peace even for our days was revived. It was taken up during a conference we held at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See.

“What is not clear is what we mean by peace.

“For Putin, there is no such thing as a state of war. So if one tries to convene a peace conference by formally inviting the Russian government to participate, the Russian government will say, ‘No, because there is no state of war. Ours is a special military operation.’ And there is not and never has been a peace conference that was to close a special military operation. So we are faced with an objectively new fact.

“I think the only instance that can do anything is, at this moment, or can be with precise conditions and guarantees, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, that is, the daughter of the Helsinki conference, the daughter of the CSCE. Why? Because it is a body that brings together basically all the European countries plus the United States and Canada; obviously Russia and Ukraine are in. This is the first step.

“Why the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe? Because it is the only one that at this time, although clearly bewildered by the Russian attack on Ukraine, has not, so far, been distinguished by Moscow's aggressiveness, at least perceived as such.

“What I was saying as we prepared for this conference in December was that there should be the invention of what the iPhone was for telephone technology; there should be something new for diplomacy as well. Some kind of new formula that overcomes the old ones; the one that we can no longer do without, because it is the one that is best suited at this time to restore peace. I wish it was over with Ukraine, but right now we are seeing that that war is consuming, it is also eroding European cohesion.”

You can read the entire speech at this LINK:

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