“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
The Community of Sant’Egidio launched the Sant’Egidio Foundation for Peace and Dialogue in October 2019. At its core is Sant’Egidio’s longstanding commitment to work for peace in the world. Based in New York, the Foundation aims at,
- 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 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 it 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.
On the first International Day of Prayer for Peace called by Pope John Paul II in 1986, the Community was particularly touched by the Papal invitation 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 held in 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; it 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 will be in Rome, Italy.
Andrea Bartoli is the President of the Sant’Egidio Foundation for Peace and Dialogue. For more information, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.