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The VOLARE project comes to life!

Jan 30 2023

The first thematic seminar of the VOLARE project was held on Thursday 17 November 2022, within the Department of Sociology and Social Research. The theme "Conflicts and emergencies" was treated thanks to the interventions of Professor Vincent Della Sala and two external guests, Francesco Baietti of Moses Onlus and Fabrizio Bettini of Operazione Colomba.


11 students were present at the seminar, mainly from the degree course in International Studies.


Professor Della Sala introduced the theme of global conflicts, making a historical excursus from when it was believed that, mindful of two world wars, the international order had managed to go beyond the logic of conflicts, up to the present day which instead demonstrates how the interests of individual states still prevail over the values ​​and rules of the game shared on a global level. He also focused on the reasons that lead to the emergence of a conflict or an emergency, with a broad overview of current emergencies, which also go beyond war conflicts, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate emergency .

The word then passed to the two speakers who opened up to a detailed look at some conflicts, bringing their direct experience of people working in the field.


The second intervention was therefore that of Francesco Baietti, president and founding partner of Moses ONLUS. Moses was born in 2005 to people who the previous year had miraculously survived the earthquake that, in the Indian Ocean, generated a series of tsunamis, killing at least 230,000 people. Areas affected included Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. Since then, he has dedicated himself to the people of Myanmar, which continues to experience one of the most dramatic and poorly understood humanitarian emergencies. In particular, after a period of democracy and freedom, the very harsh coup d'état of 1 February 2021 by the Burmese armed forces (Tatmadaw), brought Myanmar back to a state of deprivation of freedom and terror.


After listening to the voice of those who deal, with many difficulties, with the rural Burmese populations, Fabrizio Bettini of Operazione Colomba, told of his experience in the association and of the particular approach with which the institution enters into conflicts to protect the victims. Operation Colomba is the Nonviolent Peace Corps of the Pope John XXIII Community Association, born in 1992 from the desire of some volunteers and conscientious objectors to experience nonviolence in war zones in practice. Initially it operated in the former Yugoslavia, but the experience gained in the field led Operation Colomba to open stable presences in numerous contexts of conflict in the world, from the Balkans to Latin America, from the Caucasus to Africa to the Middle East. Fabrizio Bettini himself was connected from Chile, a country where Operation Colomba takes care of protecting and safeguarding the Mapuche people, for years the victim of discrimination and arbitrary arrests.


Both guests brought their own personal experience as evidence of how emergencies are often invisible to our eyes until they touch us personally, or up close. They underlined how often the most effective way to approach a conflict/emergency situation is to immerse oneself in the daily life of the communities involved, in order to really understand the context they live in and the dynamics that led to the birth of that conflict.



The second appointment, concerning migrations, was held on 24 November again in the Faculty of Sociology, from 3.00 pm.

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