About CIPMO’s establishment
Thirty years ago, in November 1989, the Italian Center for Peace in the Middle East – CIPMO was established in Milan.
Our intention was not to establish a politically biased Center with respect to the Italian political landscape, since the pursuit of peace in the Middle East is not (and should not be) a right-wing or left-wing issue. We intended to build a Center at the service of the so-called “Italian country system”, and we do believe we had success in doing that: the fact that CIPMO has been recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as “Italian Internationalist Body of national interest” for many years proves it.
Neither was our intention to establish a pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian lobby, for as open and dialogue-oriented as such a lobby might have been. It was we who coined the term “equivicinity”, discarding an unfeasible equidistance between the necessity of ending the occupation and the assurance of security for the State of Israel. “Equivicinity” is rooted in the stories of the two peoples, their memories, their desire for identity and for a future – all elements that cannot be ignored if we truly aim at building peace.
Diplomacy has often proved not to be enough. We learnt how fraught with obstacles and enemies this path is, and we are aware that today the situation has worsened, so much so that our path seems blocked. Today, not only do we all know how to build peace, but we also do know how difficult this process will be. However, we are persistent, realistic, and we do not yield to illusions. We believe that building channels of communication and dialogue, generating even a single useful idea, making a further – though infinitesimal – step towards peace provides the public opinion with a realistic, analytical and not propaganda-driven picture of a tormented yet fascinating reality. We believe that this is of paramount importance, and that this is what we can do concretely.
Over the last 30 years, CIPMO has organized 3 large international conferences addressing such issues, 35 closed-door seminars, and more than 30 public initiatives about dialogue for peace.
The EuroMedAfrican Turning Point
In the course of the last 30 years, CIPMO has expanded its activities and initiatives to the entire Mediterranean area and, more recently, to Africa, thereby adopting a new Europe-Mediterranean-Africa axis (hence the term EuroMedAfrica) and enriching the geopolitical approach with a perspective of equal, transparent, fair and mutually-beneficial cooperation.
A new approach that relies on civil society, including volunteers and entrepreneurs, and capable of seeing infrastructure and natural, environmental and technological resources as a key driver to overcome any crises, and to look beyond them.
An approach that provides entrepreneurs and societies with a trusted interlocutor, capable of offering tailor-made services.
An approach that revolves around the young as well as the Italian and Mediterranean schools and universities, with the aim of establishing an interactive network that, through the dialogue with the Other (the Different), enables the young to reflect upon themselves, thereby jointly building a common area of peace, understanding and prosperity.
With this perspective in mind, the very issue of immigration is no longer to be blown out of proportion. Rather, it must be examined considering the role played by the diasporic communities of MedAfrican origins, and the need to establish stronger ties with migrants’ countries of origins as well as with transit countries should be stressed. This is a way to ensure that orderly and well-thought policies of inclusion are implemented in Italy, without neglecting security issues or stopping fighting jihadi extremism – in fact, this is the only viable and effective way to deal with such problems.