What is SFPD?
The Sant’Egidio Foundation for Peace and Dialogue is a faith-based think tank, created and inspired to support and study the peacemaking work of the Community of Sant’Egidio. Informally known as SFPD, the foundation serves as an institutionalized and public face for the Community.
The foundation was founded in 2019 by its current President, Dr. Andrea Bartoli. It holds unique values of gratuity, compassion, and openness and serves to establish all of its operations in friendship
“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
Encouraging a culture of peace
First and foremost, SFPD works constantly to facilitate peace in every aspect of its existence. Its members take care of their internal support, and it encourages peace in its various communities and across the world.
Securing financial resources
The foundation is mainly volunteer, and its work operates on a principle of gratuitousness, but it serves to raise funds for important projects, both for the Community and its own endeavors.
Offering academic and research project offerings
SFPD is a vocal supporter of the work of the Community and a vessel for its message and teachings. Its academic involvement includes presentations which outline peacemaking with a basis in friendship.
Functioning as a learning laboratory
Serving as a place to inspire and embody constant learning, the foundation encourages both reflection and conversation in order to make all experiences into opportunities to learn.
The above four aims of the foundation frame all of its operations and projects.
- Encouraging a culture of peace emerging from the peace work of the Community of Sant’Egidio
- Securing financial resources to support the peace work of the Community of Sant’Egidio
- Developing academic offerings about our work in Rome, online and in other locations, in collaboration with academic institutions worldwide
- Functioning as a learning laboratory for relevant insights emerging from the peace work of the Community of Sant’Egidio
Particular emphasis will be given to the formulation of insights stemming from the peace work of the Community of Sant’Egidio as an international subject recognized by many countries. The Holy See has recognized the Community as a Public Lay Association. As an NGO, the Community of Sant’Egidio has consultative status with the UN-ECOSOC. On June 9, 2017, it signed a letter of intent with the United Nations Department of Political Affairs. On July 15, 2019, the Community of Sant’Egidio signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USAID.
The Community of Sant’Egidio has been involved in peace work in many countries including Mozambique, Guatemala, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sudan, South-Sudan, Central African Republic and Colombia. Many of the peace activities of the Community of Sant’Egidio are inspired and follow the ecumenical commitment made of friendship, prayer and search for worldwide Christian unity.
The Community was particularly touched by the Papal invitation on the first International Day of Prayer for Peace, called by Pope John Paul II in 1986, to “keep spreading the message of Peace flourished from the Spirit of Assisi”. Since then, the Community promoted a yearly Pilgrimage of Peace in different cities of Europe and across the Mediterranean, while building friendly relationships among representatives of different faiths and cultures.
The first two meetings following this event, held Rome in 1987 and 1988, were followed by the one in Warsaw in 1989 with the title “War Never Again”, marking the 50th anniversary of WWII. The Pilgrimage then continued to Bari, Malta and the meeting in Brussels in 1992 named “Europe, Religions, Peace” with the focus on the European unity and its peculiar relationships with the South of the world. In 1993 the pilgrimage stopped in Milan and in the following years in Assisi and Florence.
In 1995 a first extraordinary meeting was held in Jerusalem – the heart of the Holy Land – with the title: “Together in Jerusalem: Jews, Christians, and Muslims.” A second meeting outside Europe was held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 2006. In 2011 the Spirit of Assisi reached Munich, Germany; in 2012 in Sarajevo, Bosnia; in 2013 in Rome, Italy; in 2014 in Antwerp; in 2015 in Tirana, Albania; in 2016 in Assisi, Italy; in 2017 in Munster – Osnabruck, Germany; in 2018 in Bologna, Italy and in 2019 in Madrid, Spain. The 2020 gathering was held in Rome, Italy.
These gatherings illustrate the ubiquitous and all-inclusive character of peacemaking through the Community of Sant’Egidio. The Sant’Egidio Foundation for Peace and Dialogue therefore studies and supports this work, reemphasizing its mission in more academic and secular spaces. Our work is annually framed by the Prayer for Peace and our members (both believers and non-believers) are uniquely inspired to live the Gospel.
Andrea Bartoli is the President of the Sant’Egidio Foundation for Peace and Dialogue. For more information, he can be reached at email@example.com.