At a time when the forces blowing up conflict and division seem to prevail over those who continue, undaunted, to work for peace, the gamble may seem risky. But it is precisely in difficult times such as the ones we are living through that we need to guard our faith in dialogue and cultivate the determination necessary to pursue it. The Paul Ten Award was established two years ago to enhance cooperation among peoples. Right from the start, the promoters of the award, named after one of the most forward-looking protagonists of Italian cooperation, were confronted with an unfavorable picture. The worsening of the migration crisis and wars, first in Europe and then in the Middle East, reshaped the political landscape, shifting collective attention to the battlefields and generating an information overload that overshadowed the efforts of those who work every day to foster understanding and coexistence of different cultures and traditions.
Paolo Dieci: cooperation as an instrument of peace
Paolo Dieci, co-founder and president of Cisp who passed away in 2019 in a tragic plane crash, interpreted cooperation above all as an instrument of peace. Even before development and economic growth, in his vision the added value of cooperating comes from daily sharing, the opportunity to work together and reduce distances, sweeping away prejudices and misunderstandings. This intuition, the fruit of a life dedicated to the development of peoples, between Italy and sub-Saharan Africa, permeates the spirit of the Award promoted by Cisp, Link 2007 and Le Réseau, three well-established realities of Italian nongovernmental cooperation, in collaboration with Aoi, Cini and Forum del Terzo Settore and with the patronage of Maeci, Oim, AICS, Rai Per la Sostenibilità, and the Municipality of Rome.
Who can participate
The initiative, made possible thanks to the support of the Charlemagne Foundation, Banca Etica and the Cariplo Foundation, is aimed at Italian civil society organizations active in international cooperation and all entities that involve diasporas and new generations in equal partnership projects for development or global citizenship education. The deadline for submission of applications expired on November 5. It is now up to the jury to determine the best partnership pathway that will be awarded at the final event scheduled for Nov. 30 in Rome, at the Farnesina. To win the award, it is crucial to demonstrate the ability to work together, sharing values and goals in the fields of development, human rights, sustainability, and economic and social justice.
Problems and solutions
In the historical phase we are going through, this initiative goes beyond celebrating the work done by the many organizations that, often silently, are engaged in Italy and abroad to reweave a social fabric made increasingly fragile by the crises that follow one another without interruption. While the spiral of confrontation and propaganda envelops like a cloud the public debate on crucial issues such as migration, development, wars and climate change, the Paolo Dieci Award intends to turn the spotlight back on possible solutions. Pathways, skills and resources for a peaceful way out of crises exist and are available to us. Diaspora organizations, for example, can act as an effective link between Italy and the countries of origin, building lasting collaborative relationships and turning a “problem” into an opportunity. Migration, if well managed, can also be a driver for the development of the host country. In 2021, according to the Leone Moressa Foundation, out of 6,775,988 businesses operating in Italy, as many as 753,064 were led by foreign-born individuals (about 10 percent of the total), with a strong resilience even in times of crisis.”
Beyond ideologies for constructive confrontation
More generally, in order to address central issues such as migration, it is essential to move away from the emergency logic, initiating a constructive and lasting confrontation involving all the realities that can make a concrete contribution, and to abandon the current approach focused on security and containment. There are many levels on which this delicate game is being played: local, national, European and global. To win it, the goodwill of cooperators is certainly not enough, but political choices are needed that go beyond the convenience of the moment and ideological oppositions. The Paul Ten Award fits into the groove of this approach, valuing exemplary experiences of work that, if conducted on a large scale, can help stop the drift made of divisions, separation and misunderstanding. Perfect ingredients to feed the conflicts being fought today just a few miles from our homes. As the soil around us seems to be drying up more and more, the goal is to cultivate a sprout that in time can grow and take root.
Roberto Ridolfi president of Link 2007 and Cléophas Adrien Dioma president of the Association Le Réseau
The article was published in NONPROFIT LIFE HERE.