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November 5 2010

The awarding ceremony of the Chirac Foundation prize for Conflict Prevention to Mario Giro of the Community of Sant'Egidio

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Today, in a solemn ceremony at the Museum Quai Branly in Paris, the Chirac Foundation has awarded Mario Giro, Head of International Relations of the Sant'Egidio Community for the work in recent years in favor of a preventive peace and conflict prevention in many parts of the world.

Born in Rome in 1958, Mario Giro has conducted on behalf of the Community of Sant'Egidio numerous mediations in theaters of war, particularly in Africa and the Balkans. Between 2000 and 2004, participated in the negotiations for Liberia and Darfur, has acted as a mediator for Togo, has worked in search of an agreement for Côte d'Ivoire and Uganda. In 2010 he organized the meetings that led to appeals of Rome for national reconciliation in Guinea and Niger.

Finally, he participated in efforts for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Colombia.
According to the Foundation, named after former President of the Republic Jacques Chirac, Mario Giro was chosen for wanting "to renew dialogue between peoples at war in Africa and the Balkans, thanks to a quiet diplomacy".

Receiving the award, Mario Giro said, inter alia:

"This award recognizes a work and a commitment: that of defending peace, of preserving it and of finding it again when it was lost. In recent years I have realized that peace is the most valuable asset for a person, a family, a nation, a people. It is true: conflicts are many and sometimes incomprehensible and intractable. This may be discouraging and lead to immobility. But keeping inside the atlas of the pains of the world one can come to a firm conviction that peace is always possible (...) Many conflicts are explained as the inevitable product of an objective situation, independent of the will of the people. My experience is different. There is always a human decision at the origin of a war, and for this very reason it can be avoided or changed (...) This award is a great encouragement for all those who are working for peace. Our world needs to be told that peace is possible, that living together is possible. Our destiny is not conflict, fear, separation. There is a wisdom honed by life, a courageous faith which is measured with the pain, love for life that makes expert in humanity”.


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