Carlo Azeglio Ciampi “The Destiny of every Nation is bound to the Destiny of all Others”“In today’s world, in which we have weapons of mass destruction of hitherto unimaginable power that have never existed before in history, the destiny of every nation is bound to the destiny of all others,” declared today Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President of the Republic of Italy, in his speech at the opening of the 32nd session of UNESCO’s General Conference.
“The diffusion of a universalist culture and of a pedagogy of peace appears more than ever to be the path that we must follow for the salvation of all nations on earth,” continued Mr Ciampi, for whom there is “a convergence of the human spirit, in all ages, and at all latitudes, around universal values”, with which representatives of all the people of the world can identify.
Reaffirming the importance of the Millenium Declaration, by which the international community pledged in September 2000 to work towards realizing the principal goals of development, the Italian President spoke in favour of an “innovative alliance between the North and the South, based on a number of fundamental pillars: combating poverty, spreading education, vocational training and science; peaceful coexistence between different faiths and cultures, and the abolition of every form of discrimination.”
Underlining that “the education of peoples is a necessary precondition to peace”, Mr Ciampi recognized that this would require “the commitment of generations.” Fifty years after the foundation of UNESCO, “this task may still appear Utopian. Yet it is more indispensable than ever before.”
Referring to “the defense of the right to diversity” as a moral and political imperative, the Italian President stressed that “Italy advocates the adoption of a legal instrument on cultural diversity, guaranteeing every country the protection of its own historical identity and the uniqueness of its physical and intangible cultural heritage.”
Regarding UNESCO and science, Mr Ciampi declared that it was necessary to “support the Organization’s commitment to a science which is also able to raise the living standards of the developing countries.”
The Italian Head of State hailed “the return to the Organization of the United States of America, the bearers of a great and diversified democratic culture that has inspired many other peoples.”
Convinced that “The United Nations system is still the best instrument for making the world less fragile,” Mr Ciampi ended his speech by stating that “Education and culture […] will help us defeat the obscurantism of intolerance.”
Carlo Azeglio Ciampi’s official visit, which in the words of UNESCO Director-General Koďchiro Matsuura, “gives even greater impetus to the exceptional cooperation between Italy and UNESCO”, will end with a ceremony, during which the Italian President will present to UNESCO the sculpture Freccia (1993-1995) by Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro. The artist describes his work as “an arrow which rises towards the UNESCO building: it symbolizes the place where people work to promote universal values of peace and democracy in culture, science and education.”
Photo © A. Wheeler/UNESCO: Carlo Azeglio Ciampi