On March 24, 2011, a stakeholders meeting organized by the Ara Pacis Initiative and hosted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought together fifteen Diplomatic Missions in Rome to discuss the organization of an international forum on the human dimension of peace.
The proposed Forum aims to engage the international community and to catalyze attention and interest on the importance of addressing the human dimension (Pax Humana) in pre-, ongoing-, and post-conflict situations and of working to advance a political culture of dignity, forgiveness and reconciliation. The Forum will offer a platform in which representatives of governments and international organizations, on-the-ground peacemakers from conflict areas, religious leaders and protagonists of reconciliation processes can engage in direct and informal dialogue with the aim of sharing insights, policies and experiences, identifying strengths and weaknesses and outlining new coordinated paths and practical initiatives in addressing Pax Humana with the goal of increasing effectiveness of peace and reconciliation efforts.
Participating in the Meeting were representatives of the Embassies of: Australia, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Jordan, Indonesia, Ireland, Peru, the Philippines, Serbia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Representatives from the Embassies of Argentina, Canada, China, Croatia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Russia and South Africa were scheduled to participate in the meeting but last minute impediments did not allow them to be present. Representatives from the Embassies of Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Japan, Norway and South Korea were unable to attend for organizational and/or scheduling reasons but have expressed interest in the initiative.
During the meeting, a representative of the Policy and Planning Unit of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs underlined that Italy would welcome other countries' decision to join in supporting the endeavor, and that the Minister, Hon. Franco Frattini, is behind the initiative, as expressed in his letter of support.
A Powerpoint presentation offered detailed information regarding the proposed Forum with a focus on a proposed concrete outcome. A discussion then took place among participants, some highlights of which are summarized below.
The Government of the Philippines is very active in interfaith dialogue for peace alongside partner countries such as Jordan, Indonesia and Pakistan. The Stakeholders Meeting was the occasion in which the Embassy of the Philippines conveyed its Government’s support for the initiative and its decision to participate in the proposed Forum by sending two representatives. Additionally, the Government of the Philippines will be hosting interfaith conferences in Manila in September and October and in this regard, synergies will be explored with the Ara Pacis Initiative.
The Government of Switzerland likewise announced that it supports the proposed Forum and will be sending a representative to speak about the theme “Dealing with the Past”.
Moreover, it was highlighted that there have already been initial talks with the UN Peacebuilding Commission Chairman, Ambassador Richard-Eugene Gasana of Rwanda, who has invited the Ara Pacis Initiative to New York in order to discuss collaboration.
In terms of the date for the Forum, it was agreed that the initial proposal of June 2011 would be replaced with a date in late October 2011.
All participants expressed appreciation for the initiative and agreed to liaise with their governments in order to obtain political endorsement, agreement to send a representative to the Forum and possibly agreement to cover additional event costs.
Consultations are now continuing with the aforementioned embassies, both those which attended the meeting and those which did not, as well as with an expanded list of diplomatic missions including: Algeria, Cambodia, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Poland, Qatar, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste, Uruguay and Venezuela.
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