Turin, Italy—At the invitation of a Turin city official, UPF-Italy held an event at the Turin International Book Fair titled "Paths for a Culture of Peace."
Dr. Vincenzo Andrea Camarda, president of the IV Council Commission of the Municipality and the newly elected vice president of the Piedmont region branch of the National Association of Italian Municipalities, extended the invitation. Dr. Camarda, who in 2017 represented the city in welcoming the UPF Peace Road event in Turin, also served as the moderator of the UPF event at the book fair, held on May 21, 2022, at the Torino Lingotto Fiere conference center.
As part of this year's book fair, the municipal administration, on the initiative of Deputy Mayor Michela Favaro, drew up a program linked to the Ukrainian crisis. The administration of Turin, which has the nickname "Turin, City of Peace," identified an open space inside the hall, calling it "House of Peace." In this space, managed in collaboration with an important local organization, the Sermig-Arsenale della Pace, national and international institutions and organizations were invited to describe their projects related to hospitality, education and policies for peace.
Carlo Zonato, president of UPF-Italy, introduced the Universal Peace Federation with a PowerPoint presentation. He then showed a video which gave an overview of the main associations, programs and activities of UPF, such as Peace Summits, Rallies of Hope, International Leadership Conferences, Think Tanks, peace initiatives for Korean Peninsula reunification and Middle East reconciliation, the Peace Road, programs with the United Nations, and the Sunhak Peace Prize.
A video on the Football for Peace project was then shown. Giorgio Gasperoni, president of UPF-San Marino and editor-in-chief of the Voci di Pace (“Voices of Peace”) magazine, illustrated the origins and purpose of the project, which began in Turin in 2015 and continued in the San Marino republic.
The UPF chapters in Italy and San Marino launched the project by inviting Israeli and Arab Israeli children, accompanied by two educators and two coaches who had never met before. By inviting them to a neutral nation to play football together, the aim was to help them and their families to establish contact, dialoguing to overcome the difficulties and tensions that exist in Israel and the Arab territories. Their experiences in Turin and San Marino had positive results when they returned to Israel. Educators, parents and children, with the support of educational and government institutions, have continued the dialogue between families.
Next, two Ambassadors for Peace were invited to speak.
Political scientist, professor and human rights expert Antonio Stango, who connected online from Brussels, spoke of the importance of respecting human rights for every person and nation. He explained how the Italian Federation of Human Rights was born and developed, and the work it carries out with national and international institutions. He showed the limits that various nations have in respecting and promoting these rights and the penalties that they are called to pay precisely because they do not apply some of these rights in their own country.
Agostino Formichella, the editor of the newspaper Eco Dai Palazzi and a former parliamentary collaborator, described a project that he is carrying out in Italy called "A Sack of Life," which provides sleeping bags for homeless people who in winter need assistance to overcome the harsh night weather.
Sergio Coscia, UPF-Turin representative for interreligious dialogue, described three projects carried out in the city. The first project was Football for Peace, and he showed photographs of Israeli and Arab-Israeli children participating in the program.
The second project was the visit in 2016 of the performing troupe Angels of Peace, made up of Russian children and teenagers. As they performed in theaters, institutions and schools, showing the culture of Russia through songs and dances, they sought to bring families and children from different cultures closer in the embrace of art for peace.
The third project, the Peace Road, was realized in Turin and the Piedmont region in 2017 with three significant moments centered on the removal of cultural barriers, respect for nature, and knowledge of ancient paths of peace.
To conclude the meeting, Maria Gabriella Mieli, head of external and international relations for UPF-Italy, read the message of the councilor Lucia Anita Nucera to the Municipality of Reggio Calabria, positioned on the 38th parallel, with the desire to create synergies and programs with the Piedmont region municipalities and with cities in the world on the same parallel, through the International Peace Highway and Peace Road projects.
Speaking about how much there is still to be done to live in a world of lasting peace, Mrs. Mieli referred to the UPF founders and their commitment to world peace. She read a passage from the autobiography of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, recalling that education for peace begins in the family through a loving relationship between parents and children and the practice of living for the sake of others.
For Dr. Vincenzo Camarda, the objective of the meeting emerged through the presentations of the various speakers, with some proposals to be launched with the Municipality of Turin. Among the other proposals were that of the Italian Federation of Human Rights to have a human rights committee in the Piedmont region, an agreement with the Municipality of Turin for the project to distribute sleeping bags to the homeless of the city, the continuation of international projects such as Football for Peace, the Peace Road and socio-humanitarian-cultural activities to be launched with UPF.
The initiative was promoted by UPF through its own communication channels and with the collaboration of Eco dai Palazzi with press releases at local and national levels.