In uno scenario così composito come quello europeo, abbiamo ascoltato il professor Caneva, Presidente dell’associazione AESI (Associazione Europea di Studi Internazionali), riflettere sui valori condivisi negli Stati membri e sulla riscoperta importanza del futuro dell’Europa agli occhi delle nuove generazioni.
Massimo Maria Caneva MD, PhD Social Medicine (Humanitarian Crises/Stage Oxford University) Sapienza University Roma (2000); AESI President; University Hospital CBM: Coordinator “Health and Diplomacy”; Roma Tre University: Director of Rome International Seminar for Peace in Middle East-Balkans. MAECI DGCS: University Cooperation Coordinator (2004/14); University Cooperation Programs’ Coordinator: Latin America, Asia, Middle East, Baltic, Caucasus and Balkans.
You are the President of an important European association which sees among its aspects that of cooperation, debate and discussion on the basis of shared values. How do you think this approach can contribute to building a European awareness?
Peace is the Art and Science of Solidarity. As AESI President I must always remember that if you want to promote Peace, you can do it only if the new generations are involved. In particular, it will be possible to operate through University Cooperation as the most suitable and effective tool over time, especially in crisis areas. All in collaboration with the United Nations, Diplomacy and International Organizations. Even more so at this moment, where in Europe a new awareness and participation in European institutional and political life is emerging among young people. Being European citizens now means not only exchange and mutual knowledge, but sharing a project of responsibility to face the challenges of peace and sustainable development
Since its foundation, your association can boast a conspicuous component of young people interested in international scenarios and current diplomatic relations. In your opinion, what has changed and what has remained constant in the approach and ideas regarding the Europe of the new generations?
The European Union was born after a violent and dramatic world conflict where man, if on the one hand has become aware of his painful possibilities of causing suffering, war and racial hatred, on the other mankind has discovered its natural openness to the good and to the culture of solidarity. Today we are tired of having enhanced well-being at all costs which has consumed important energies and made us more unstable. Today, especially young people seek true peace, an expression of the freedom of men and women to be truer and more responsible in the face of choices that must be shared in order to be attainable in their deepest human and professional goals. Peace and Security can only be declined if they are based on the culture of solidarity between peoples and individuals. Otherwise, the changes are only towards greater personal safety and less for solidarity and common good.
Thinking about the European Union twenty years ago, the historical and political scenario has changed enormously, starting with the enlargement process to include several new countries. Considering also the current situation of instability at the gates of the EU, how do you think the scenario in Europe could still change in the next twenty years?
The scenario of Europe is changing because our sense of being citizens of the world has changed. We are afraid of the other, as the refugees and all those who can endanger our established lifestyle. Well-being for me in the first place. We are missing the mission of the “adventure” towards the other. The next twenty years are going to be a constant surprise at how a war as violent as the one that is affecting Ukraine today can disrupt the normal everyday life of millions of people. Of course, the habit of a virtual approach to most of the important issues of our existence is generating a profound sense of uncertainty about the future. We must understand the challenges that every instability period brings with it, giving us great opportunities in terms of renewal for everyone. The scenario will change positively only if we are ready for these challenges, taking Peace as the science and art of solidarity. The University must feel called to train the new generations, but the teachers must be up to the situation. We need great humility in recognizing the mistakes made in foreign policy, the impositions and deprivations to which we have consented over many years in order to maintain our own Western well-being. The cost of oil at the price of many human lives broken by death penalty while we were looking the other way in order not to see what offends democracy and human dignity. Europe is experiencing a moment in which it is necessary to look urgently to the East and understand how to open up a dialogue with Countries with a great European tradition such as Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. We must be ready to meet and to talk with those who may have the courage to change the politics and social life of powerful Countries, moreover after a terrible ideology has destroyed their lives for so many years. Certainly, we ourselves must be careful not to act with the arrogance of a culture of competition and economic revenge, lobbies, ruthless competition and geopolitical control of vital international spaces at all costs. Knowing how to love, understand, share, find common solutions, promote an economy that recognizes at all levels the true value of the dignity of human beings.
Among its aims, AESI sees the confrontation between old and new generations, putting in contact leading figures of Italian and international politics from which the children can be inspired. On what, with respect to European integration in recent years, should young people who enter the professions closely connected to the Union and its institutions aim?
Being aware of your future means knowing that the world always awaits my small choices every day, in ordinary life. Talking of Peace to the World, as doing so about Europe in distant countries, will never make sense if we do not consider the values that Europe proposes to itself and to the World as something to care about in everyday life. Respect for life and freedom, attention to others in the employment relationship and in institutions serving the citizens, are all elements of this dimension on which basis Europe, as the formation of new generations, are founded.