Sant'Egidio is perhaps best known for its work in peace and reconciliation. It views conflict and poverty as closely linked to one another – in the word’s of Sant’Egidio’s “founding father” Andrea Riccardi, “War is the mother of all poverty. War makes everybody poor, also the rich.” Through personal relationships and an active diplomacy based on friendship and an appreciation for and respect of different perspectives, the Community of Sant'Egidio has been active in peace efforts in Mozambique, Lebanon, El Salvador, Guatemala, Albania, Liberia, Burundi, Kosovo, the Horn of Africa, Darfur, Northern Uganda, DRC Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Central African Republic, the Philippines, Mali, Senegal. The Community works to network and establish relationships with political, religious and civil society actors at every level. Sant’Egidio is considered one of the most interesting examples of the ability of civil society to affect international situations and influence peace and reconciliation processes. Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, noted that “The Community of Sant’Egidio has developed a technique which was different from those of the professional policy makers, but which was complementary to theirs. The Community let her technique of informal discretion converge with the official work of governments and of inter-governmental organizations.”
Sant’Egidio sometimes operates as part of a “track two” approach: government and “professional diplomats” lead the official discussions, while Sant'Egidio acts as a mediator in unofficial talks. Such efforts have been characterized as a practical demonstration of the value of citizen diplomacy and of the synergy between institutional and non institutional approaches.
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