Nei giorni 14-15-16 Aprile 2003, negli Stati Uniti, nell’universitą Centrale del Connecticut, incontra l’ex capo di governo di Israele Shimon Peres. I vari colloqui, in presenza del rettore della CCSU, riguardano soprattutto i problemi del Medio Oriente e le speranze di pace tra Palestinesi e Israeliani.
Dal 22 Febbraio al 2 Marzo 2008 viene invitato negli Stati Uniti, nella Universitą Centrale di New Britain, Connecticut, come relatore, con il console generale di Germania a Boston, per discutere sul tema " Il processo di pace Israelo - Palestinese : valutazione di due Europei ".
Il primo Novembre 2008 riceve a Boston il " CSNA Special Award for Humanitarian Service " per la sua instancabile attivitą per la promozione di un ideale di pace, di solidarietą, di dialogo e cooperazione tra i popoli.
giorni 5-6-7 Maggio 2010 organizza a Priolo Gargallo, Siracusa, il
XVIII Convegno Internazionale sulla Educazione alla Pace; vi
partecipano, come negli anni precedenti, relatori che portano la loro
testimonianza dai Paesi martoriati da guerre fraticide.
The 14th, 15th, 16th, of the April 2003, in the United States, in the Central Connectcut State University, he has a meeting with the already first minister of Israel Shimon Peres. In the important meeting togheter with the chancellor of the C.C.S.U., Ficili and Peres spoke about the problems and the hopes of the Middle East and about the conflict between Israelians and Palestinians people.
From the 22 February to 2 March 2008 is invited in the United States, in the Central Connecticut University State of New Britain, as chiarman, with the general consul of Germany in Boston, to discuss on the theme "The process of peace Israelo - Palestinan : evaluation of two Europeans ".
The fisrt November 2008 receives in Boston the " CSNA Special Award for Humanitarian Service" for the untiring activity on the promotion of an ideal of peace, of solidariety, of dialogue and cooperation among the people.
In the days May 5-6-7 th 2010 organizes in Priolo Gargallo,Syracuse, the International XVIII Convegno on the Education to the Peace; with the share, as in the preceding years, of chairmen that have brought their testimony from the Countries tortured by fraticidal wars.
Ficili's commitment to the cause of education for peace and non violence
continues tirelessly. His efforts aim at turning Siracuse and Sicily
into a lab for the working out of new programmes and strategies for the
promotion of universal peace and tolerance. In order to involve an ever
growing number of people, he is planning to start a multimedia project.
Professor Bruno Ficili is the embodiment of “walking the walk” after “talking the talk”. This is most impressive when one considers that the “talk” is about world peace. First and foremost Bruno Ficili is an educator. A pedagogical expert who performed extensive research in the art of education at the University of Milan, Ficili is the director of a school in Siracusa, Italy.
Peace Through Education
His work in the development of Peace through Education has evolved over the past twenty years to the point where he has achieved international recognition. Ficili was the President of the Siracusa chapter of the Italian Pedagogic Association when he came up with the idea that peace could only be achieved through a serious approach involving education and dialogue. In 1986 his organization sponsored the first International Conference on Peace through Education held at Priolo Gargallo in the Province of Siracusa, Sicily. Ficili invited writers, journalists, historians, and educators from Italy, Russia and the United States. Concurrent with the Peace Conference, Ficili organized a competition among the school children in the area. He asked them to react to the theme of peace and non-violence “Peace as a force for good - in the family, in society and between nations” and to reflect. Over 1,000 children responded with research, poetry and artwork.
Following the initial success of the Peace Conference, a book with the record of the conference was published and distributed worldwide. It was a good beginning.
Hee University- Seoul, South Korea 1992
In 1989 Ficili moved again to advance discussions on Peace through Education with a 2nd International Conference held again in the Province of Siracusa. Held the 23rd, 24th and 25th of November 1989 the conference was attended by people from Libya, Palestine, Israel, the United States, Russia, Poland and Japan with a broad range of disciplines. The Conference sent a message in support of peace to President Bush and Premier Gorbachev who were in major discussions at the nearby island of Malta. Twenty four participants in the program signed the message which stated “We are convinced that an enduring peace among the people of the world will result from the disarmament of the military but even more so if we engage in education for peace. We appeal to you so that the leaders of the two most powerful countries in the world will agree to adopt “Education for Peace” as part of their national curriculum in their schools.”
Approach to Gheddafi and Libya
One of the topics of discussion during this Peace Conference was the result of an event, which at first blush, appeared to be of minor importance. The island of Sicily is within less than 100 miles of the African coast and Libya. Two fishermen from the nearby town of Augusta were taken captive, along with two Tunisians who worked for them, by the Libyan government when their fishing boats were pushed into Libyan waters during a storm in the Mediterranean Sea. Family members of the fishermen appeared at the Peace Conference asking Ficili to intervene on their behalf. The Libyan Ambassador was in attendance at the Conference. Ficili wasted little time in moving to help the fishermen. He put together a delegation and flew to Tripoli in December of 1989 pleading for clemency on the part of the Gheddafi government to liberate the two Italian and two Tunisian fishermen. Gheddafi received the delegation and agreed issuing an act of clemency, which in effect terminated the imprisonment and released the men. It was to be the first of many actions by Ficili to personally involve himself in helping to bring peace through personal involvement and actions.
Approach to Hussein and Iraq
The following year Bruno Ficili took up the cause of prisoners being held hostage by Saddam Hussein in Iraq. His humanitarian moves in favor of these prisoners began, as always with a raising of public consciousness to create a strong base of support. He asked for and received thousands of signed petitions from more than 16,000 school children in Italy in favor of releasing the hostages. Ficili accompanied by author Danilo Dolci brought the petitions to Iraqi authorities urging them to retreat from Kuwait and release all hostages immediately. Later, in March of 1991, with the support of UNESCO, Ficili held the 3rd International Conference on Peace through Education.
Over 4,000 people attended the Conference and were moved to see Salman Jabar, an Iraqi participant who had lost two brothers in the Kuwaiti War, walk over to the American Conference Rector John Shumaker to extend his hand in peace and friendship. Millions of Italians watching the Conference on television where moved by the scene.
With each new Peace Conference Ficili was able to broaden the base of participation with delegates from all over the world. The 4th International Conference of Peace through Education, held in 1992 had 34 speakers, including representatives from Croatia, Jamaica, Serbia, Lebanon, Kurdistan, Germany, Iraq, Kuwait, Algeria, Libya, Palestine, Israel, Hungary, Somalia, Russia, the United States and Italy. During the Conference the Minister of Health of Croatia handed Professor Ficili a list containing the names of 6,000 prisoners, including many children, being held by the Serbians in the ongoing war. Ficili met with Erik Jensen, Assistant Secretary General at the United Nations and provided him with the list of names. He then began moving to provide food, clothing and other assistance to orphans in Croatia. In 1993 he issued a call for assistance to the children of Italy. He asked them to provide support and funds to “adopt” 100 orphans in the former Yugoslavia. The response was immediate. More than 4,000 children in the schools in Sicily responded with
Ficili with orphans at Vukovar 1994
cards, letters and donations. Ficili made a package of the responses and sent copies around the world to President Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II, to Boutros Ghali, Secretary General at the U.N. and to Italian President Oscar Luigi Sclafaro. This heartfelt appeal from the children in Italy on behalf of the Yugoslav children begged these leaders to intervene to help stop the fratricide in Serbia. At each step along the way Ficili insisted on raising the consciousness level of children around the world to rise up and act for peace in an important way.
It became apparent to Ficili that his desire to implement the concept of Peace through Education had taken on a life of its own. His dedication to this philosophy of life required constant attention mostly at the sacrifice of time away from his own family. His wife Pinnella is supportive of Bruno Ficili’s work and helps out providing secretarial and other support whenever needed.
Their home is always open to their friends and they provide typical Sicilian hospitality including excellent home cooked meals and lively conversation. The topic always turns to the discussion of peace and help for their fellow man.
Pope John Paul II
Following the Sixth International Conference for Peace Through Education held in April of 1994 Ficili was proud to deliver the final Conference Documents on an approach towards peace in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Israel and Palestine to his holiness Pope John Paul II who was visiting the city of Siracusa for the inauguration of the Sanctuary of church of La Madonna delle Lacrime. Professor Ficili had the opportunity to explain the documents to the Pope and asked him to intervene with the heads of state in the countries to evaluate the peace proposals.
Later that year Ficili’s book Humanity at the Crossroads- The Need for Peace through Education was published. Ficili donated all proceeds from the book to a fund for war orphans in Bosnia. The following year the heavy emphasis of the 7th Conference was to end the war in Yugoslavia. It was during this conference that Ficili received his first of seven nominations for the Noble Peace Prize. On the 28th of July 1995 Ficili flew into
Ficili and Pope John Paul II
Karlovac, between Croatia and Bosnia and formally adopted the 100 orphans on behalf of the Italian children who had sent contributions and messages of support. During this visit Ficili met with the President of the Republic of Croatia, Fanjio Tudjmna and provided him with the 7th Conference Peace Documents containing proposals for peace. These documents were also transmitted to the Bosnian and Serbian governments.
Central Connecticut State University
It was during this period that Ficili’s work began to receive recognition in the United States. He had been working for the creation of a special University in Siracusa, which would have Peace as its reason for existing. He began negotiating between the Sicilian Regional Government and representatives for Central Connecticut State University to create a campus in Sicily at Siracusa. In 1995, thanks to his efforts a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the City of Siracusa and Central Connecticut State University creating a special Master’s program in the Sicilian city.
People in need of his special assistance were constantly approaching Ficili. His ability to create a public consciousness on behalf of people in need pulled him from one part of the globe to the next. In 1995 he was approached by the family of Maria Gabriella Guarino, an Italian woman who was being held in a prison in Peru for political reasons. Again Ficili took her plight to the street and in record time had thousands of petitions signed throughout Italy asking the government of Peru to liberate the woman. In part because of his ability to draw public attention to her situation Maria Gabriella Guarino was released from jail.
Yugoslavian War Relief
During the Easter period of 1996 Ficili returned to Yugoslavia once again, this time with seven tons of food supplies, oil, flour and sugar, which he personally brought to the orphans, camp at Vukovar. Later that month the Eighth Conference was again held in Siracusa this time with participants from more than 40 countries around the world. In July of 1996 Ficili was invited to Bonn Germany by the President of the Kurd Parliament who asked him to act as a peace mediator between Kurdistan and Turkey. Ficili served as one a six member Peace panel in an attempt to bring recognition of human rights issues for the Kurdish people with the Turkish government.
Bruno Ficili at Karlovac orphanage camp with 7 of the 100 adopted children
Ficili was also asked to mediate discussions in Sri Lanka between the Singhalese and Tamils. His role was to try to open basic discussions that could lead to peaceful solutions to long-standing disputes. In 1997 Ficili was nominated for the third time for the Nobel Peace Prize. This time the nominators were members of the U.S. Congress who were made aware of Ficili’s efforts by professors at Central Connecticut State University.
On his return from the United States Ficili was invited to participate in discussions held in Spain at Santander and Bilbao, the Basque country. Ficili conducted discussions at the schools in this area of Spain known for its separatist movement. Again the theme of Peace through Education was the key topic. He discussed the issue of terrorism in an open and frank manner and offered alternatives to violence to the young people in the schools.
The following year Ficili turned his attention towards the African continent. He began a major fund raising drive for a hospital in Tanzania on the border of Rwanda and Burundi. Again Ficili turned for help to the young people in Sicily and Italy. The money raised was used for the construction of wells for drinking water and the creation of a small hospital in Tanzania.
Children’s Hospital- Bukoba, Tanzania 1997
with funds raised by Bruno Ficili in Sicily and Italy
Muhammad Ali and Burundi
The Tenth International Peace Conference on Peace Through Education was held at Comiso- the former U.S. missile base located in Sicily. Representatives from more than 40 countries participated in the discussions at the conference, which once housed soldiers and missiles. The contrast between the location and the topic of peace brought home the continuing need to move forward with the education of young people around the world to participate in dialogues about peace.
At he end of the 10th Conference representatives from Burundi asked Bruno Ficili publicly to invite the heads of the armed groups responsible for the war between Rwanda and Burundi to participate in peace discussions. On December 3rd and 4th 1999 Ficili’s organization sponsored the first major peace discussions between political and military leaders from Burundi- including representatives from Hutu and Tutsi tribes. The goal of this 11th Peace Conference was to achieve the beginning of peaceful dialogue between the two warring tribes. A special guest in attendance at this 11th Peace Through Education Conference was Muhammad Ali, former World Champion boxer. The result was the first Non-Aggression Pact signed between the Hutu and Tutsi representatives where both sides to begin be agreeing not to engage in aggressive acts against schools, hospitals and orphanages in their country. On December 7, 1999 copies, of the signed, Non-Aggression Pact were delivered by Professor Ficili and Muhammad Ali to the President of the Italian government in Rome.
Bruno Ficili with Muhammad Ali- Siracusa, Italy 1999
The following year Ficili, working in conjunction with Monsignor Serapione Bambonanire from Burundi established two specialized medical clinics in Sicily to provide medical treatment for victims of war especially from African nations. The two centers are located in Siracusa and in the town of Enna.
Conference for Peace Through Education
Professor Ficili has continued his work for Peace Through Education and is now in the process of preparing his 16th International Conference for Peace Through Education, which will be held November 23, 24, 25 and 26 at Vittoria in the Province of Ragusa, Italy.