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September 2 2015

In Tirana the world's major religions call for a breacktought for peace - three days of conferences on the ongoing conflicts, migrants and the enviroment

Marco Impagliazzo today presented the international meeting promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio,“Peace is always possible” #peaceispossible, to take place in Tirana September 6-8. An important message from Pope Francis is anticipated

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Marco Impagliazzo today presented the international meeting promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio,“Peace is always possible” #peaceispossible, to take place in Tirana September 6-8. An important message from Pope Francis is anticipated – Over 400 religious leaders and cultural and institutional figures from all over the world will be attending. Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni will be in the Italian delegation. Thousands of participants are expected.

 “Peace is always possible – Religions and cultures in dialogue”, the International Conference of the world’s great religions promoted by Sant’Egidio and taking place in Tirana from September 6 to 8, was presented to the press this morning. The president of the Community, Marco Impagliazzo explained the choice of Albania as the site of the event, stressing the fact the this small country, which until just a few years ago was ruled by State imposed atheism, has today become and interesting laboratory of co-existence between religions. A nation with close ties of friendship with Sant’Egidio, now on the threshold of the European Union, characterized in the nineties by a mass emigration towards Italy, which was resolved in no time by a successful integration to the economic advantage of both Italy and Albania.

The title of the conference, “Peace is always possible” stems from the conviction of the necessity to combat the pessimism that surrounds so many of the ongoing conflicts and from the awareness that the current mass emigration to Europe from the Southern part of the world and from war-torn countries cannot be stopped without a major investment in peace. This is exemplified by the experience of Sant’Egidio through the years and the successes obtained in this field.

Several round table discussions will be taking place with the participation of more than 400 influential religious spokesmen and figures from the worlds of culture and the institutions, almost a trip around the world between crises, conflicts and major unsolved issues as well as hope and changes taking place, examples of co-existence and the precious contribution of religions to the building of peace in an important panel discussion entitled “Imagine peace”. The role of religion and politics will witness the participation of the Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni together with Nigerian cardinal Onaiyekan and rabbi Skorka. Other panel discussions will focus on the numerous countries in crisis or war, like Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, Nigeria, Mindanao (Philippines) and Salvador, where the violence of young gangs are claiming thousands of victims. Major Shiite leaders from Iran will also be present.

Several current events will be dealt with, among which the environment, with a panel discussion in presence of Italian Justice minister Andrea Orlando making a speech on eco-crimes. Besides Orlando and Gentiloni, Italy will also be represented by Romano Prodi and foreign ministry undersecretary Mario Giro. There will be reflections on the thirty-year “spirit of Assisi” the first inter-religious Peace conference summoned in 1986 by Pope John Paul II – during which the world evolved from the cold war to the current globalized world and the utilization of the social media on the part of those who exploit religion to violent ends and terror. A round table discussion is also planned on the Libyan crisis, in which representatives of all factions, from Tobruk and Tripoli, from the southern tribes and the civilian population, will be sitting around the same table for the first time.

The inaugural session will be highlighted by an important message from Pope Francis, who “just last year gave a strong endorsement of the choice to hold the conference in Albania”, Impagliazzo said.

Another aspect of the meeting will be the grass-root participation: more than two thousand people of all ages, including numerous youths will be arriving by plane and ship in Tirana from all over Europe to attend “Peace is always possible”.






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