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World Day of Peace: from the war in Ukraine to Sant'Anna School's efforts for a more fair and equitable world in the speech by Emanuele Sommario, director of the Master in Human Rights and Conflict Management

Publication date: 20.09.2022
Emanuele Sommario
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On the occasion of World Day of Peace, which is celebrated every year on September 21st, Sant'Anna Magazine is hosting this contribution by Emanuele Sommario, professor of International Law and director of the Master in Human Rights and Conflict Management.

by Emanuele Sommario

"Each year on 21 September the International Day of Peace is celebrated around the world. The UN General Assembly has established this celebration in 1981 as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace and brotherhood among peoples. On this day all conflicts should stop and leave space to cease-fires and attempts at the peaceful resolution of disputes. This year more than ever we hope that this wish will be answered as we have passed the 6-month mark of the war in Ukraine. This conflict brought back fears we had hoped were overcome, but also reminded us that we become alert to such phenomena only when we are directly affected. The Annual report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reminds us that 46 armed conflicts were fought in 2021, half of which in Africa. The casualties were over 150.000. And yet the attention and resources that Western countries devote to these strives are negligible".

"Over the last thirty years the Sant’Anna School strived to change this state of affairs. First through the short courses run by the International Training Programme for Conflict Management, and later with the Master in Human Rights and Conflict Management, the Master in International Security Studies and the PhD in Human Rights and Global Politics, the Sant’Anna School put at the center of its activities topics related to conflict prevention, management and resolution. It did so by embracing - in both its research and its teaching endeavors - a notion of peace that goes beyond the ‘absence of war’. This new idea of peace tries to transform societies by making them more inclusive, promoting respect for individual rights and fighting any form of violence or discrimination".

"As Director of the Master in Human Rights and Conflict Management (MHRCM) I was able to follow the professional journey of dozens of students coming from all over the world. These are young professionals who came to the Sant’Anna School keen on acquiring the theoretical and practical knowledge that would enable them to operate proficiently in the areas of peace-keeping and peace-building, of human rights promotion, of humanitarian assistance and of development cooperation. Most of them come from (or will be employed in) exactly those countries that are affected by chronic conflicts, where they will work towards the achievement of a lasting peace that will take into account the interests and rights of all stakeholders. We like to think that their contribution will be, in some way, also the Scuola’s contribution to a more fair and united world, in line with the ideals celebrated in this International Day of Peace".