Palermo, Italy—Framed by the village of Capaci, on May 19th, 2018, the International Festival for Peace took place: a whole day dedicated to planting the seeds of a culture dedicated to building peace and harmony. The organizing collaborators were the International Academy of Sport and Art for Peace (IASA), UPF-Italy, the magazine Voices of Peace, the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU).

There were three key moments. The first was the Peace Road, a march for peace held in Capaci in the area adjacent to the municipal park with the participation of some elementary and middle-school students, the Scout group of Capaci, the Mosaicando youth association, the Mayor of Capaci, Dr. Napoli, and representatives of the organizing associations, as well as a goodly presence of citizens. The march ended at the foot of a tree chosen by the students to be consecrated as the Tree of Peace.

The second key moment was a short interreligious prayer ceremony in which consecrated water as a symbol of life was poured on the roots of the tree by the students themselves. Messages and songs of peace accompanied the ceremony, and a commemorative plaque will be placed at the foot of the Tree of Peace.

The third moment took place at the Hotel Saracen in Capaci. The Festival for Peace was aired in the presence of a large audience of about 500 participants. People representing the various organizing associations presented their activities and initiatives dedicated to creating of a culture of peace: Vincenzo Lipari and Rosa Giusi Russo for IASA, Carlo Zonato for UPF, Giuseppe Calì for FFWPU, and Elisabetta Nistri for WFWP. All were very touched by the moment of forgiveness and embrace between UPF-Israel President Hod Ben Zvi, of Jewish origin, and Vincenzo Lipari for the ordeals suffered by the Jewish people. All was interconnected by a show of music, songs and ballets offered by students of the Biagio Siciliano middle school, by the Mosaicando association, by the artist Gino Carista, and by the artistic group of IASA.

During the event, IASA also offered special recognition to various associations and people who have distinguished themselves in their work for peace. Among them were Consul of the Republic of Congo Christelle Ollandet, Judge Gaetano Perrotta, a representative of the Albanian State, the gold medal for civil worth Ermenegildo Rossi (winner of Italy’s gold medal for civic contribution), and the Paralympic champion Marcella Li Brizzi.

In the concluding session, Mr. Vincenzo Lipari and his wife Ms. Rosa Giusi Russo were awarded recognition as Ambassadors for Peace by UPF-Italy because of their commitment to the training of young people to promote peace through sport, art and music.

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