Petition to save the only Peace Studies university course in Italy:
the Pisa University's "Scienze per la Pace"
The university course in Pisa, the only one on peace studies existing any more in Italy, was set up to satisfy the lack of an international culture of peace. This culture started to grow after the second world war, when several institutions were created in northern Europe and the USA. Our studies, which are needed more and more, offer us the opportunity to find alternative, non-violent solutions to conflict resolution. Our interdisciplinary approach is fundamental for the analysis of what is happening in the world. In our opinion peace doesn't mean the mere absence of conflicts, it does mean active construction of a better reality. Therefore, the quest for peace is led by a scientific approach and a strategic study of various proposals and specific methods.
We think that our country needs a continuity of the non-violent culture of our philosophers and masters that are studied all over the world, such as Aldo Capitini, Danilo Dolci, Lanza dal Vasto, Lorenzo Milani, Tonino Bello, Ernesto Balducci. This cultural continuity must remain well-connected in the academic world of the Italian university. Teaching and training are necessary to avoid the decline of non-violent philosophy, culture and experiences. Our course is based on them and we think they are the only tools for a real change in our society. If Scienze per la Pace ceased to exist, the will to defend democratic institutions either in Italy or in the rest of the world without using arms would be even weaker than now. Peace studies must be included and must have equal dignity with any other university course. The Italian University needs a thorough course of peace studies to create new cognitive and ethical foundations for politics . A peaceful one.
We are in an Italian and European context which is daily more and more more deaf to the voices on the other side of Mediterranean Sea. The economic and financial crisis show us that an alternative development model is urgently needed. For some time now fierce attack on culture in our country has been in act, an attack on any different voice and dissonant idea. The word "peace" is losing its sense in our society. But there were some in Pisa who were able to start up this different school. Today this course is in danger of being halved, frustrating its purposes, its project. There are several reasons: from the government's cuts to the lack of any real support inside the university for the existence of this course, which does not fit into the normal scheme of things.
Students who have got their Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree over the years, and those who are going to graduate soon, will be condemned to being simple witnesses of this university course. The University and Municipality of Pisa (which likes to describe itself as a "peace municipality"), have praised themselves in the past for the prestige that our course gave them, but now they are abandoning us. We, the students, are standing as the only defence of this cultural heritage. We want to give concreteness to what we study by struggling without violence, so this course will not closed nor halved. Completeness of studies is the guarantee of a serious and scientific approach to our research.
Power will always be afraid of criticism. But if our voices join together, if there are large numbers of us and if we can convince those who take the decisions that this course is necessary, we are sure we will be able to hold off the threat.
To support us send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Signed by the Students Assembly of Scienze per la Pace
Pisa, 25th September 2009