XIII World Congress 2003
Education for Peace:
The Best Investment for Future Generations


Brunetto Salvarani - Italy

Foto eseguita dallo Studio fotografico Rolando Paolo Guerzoni Modena








Born in Carpi (Mo) on the 14/07/1956, he graduated University in Modern Literature with philological orientation (subject: Semitism, mark: 110) from Bologna; he taught Religion at Primary School for three years, before obtaining a chair in Literature (italian and latin) at the Scientific High School “M.Fanti” in Carpi.

Following his Bachelor’s degree in theology from the Studio Teologico Interdiocesano in Reggio Emilia with a thesis exam in Liturgy about the relation between the Didaché and Christology of John’s Gospel (mark: Bene probatus), he was licensed in Theology of the Gospel at the Academy of Theological Studies in Bologna (STAB) with a thesis on Exegesis of the Old Testament about the reading of the Holy Bible by Giacomo Leopardi. He attended a two year post-graduation specialization in History at Urbino University.

In 1985 he founded the magazine on Jewish-Christian studies “QOL” still in print today and of which he is the director.

From 1987 until 1995 he directed the Religious Studies Center of the San Carlo Foundation of Modena and he took part in editing the magazines “Il Regno” and “CEM Mondialità”.

He is an essayist, writer and journalist and cooperates with many newspapers, regularly with “Settimana” (EDB), dealing in particular with the culture page; he further directs the newspaper of Turin “Tempi di fraternità” and “Memoranda”, a quarterly of the Campo Fossoli Foundation of Carpi. He has been among the founders, on a national basis, of the Court for sick people’s rights and is regionally responsible in Emilia Romagna for the Democratic Federal Movement.

Since a number of years he is among the national experts of Caritas Italy, Pax Christi Italy and of the Secretary of Ecumenical Activities and takes part in the Committee “Bible, Culture, School” which proposes to spread the presence of the sacred text to the Jewish Christian tradition in the curriculum of our school institutions.

He is a member of ATI (Italian Theologians Association) the main group of theologians in our country, and of AETC, the association of European theologians.

Today he is director of the “Foundation ex campo Fossoli”, vice-president of the Italian association of the “Friends of Nevè Shalom-Waahat as-Salaam”, the “Peace Village” founded in Israel by Father Bruno Hussar (together with Rossella Prandi he takes care, since 1991, of the realization of the Peace Calendar, diffused on a national basis by the CSAM), and he is also scientific coordinator since 1996 of “Christian-Muslims meetings” in Modena on behalf of the national ACLI. He is also part (unique non-gospel case) of the Publishing Committee of the RAI DUE “Protestantism” coming out every 15 days, and has taken part, as a journalist of CEM Mondialità, in the second Assembly of the European churches in Graz (1997) and in the Proclamation of the “Charta Ecumenica” in Strasburg (2001).

In November 2001 he has made the Ecumenical Appeal for a national day of the Christian-Muslim dialogue (for information you can visit the site www.il dialogo.org) held in one hundred places on the 29/11/2002 (last friday of Ramadan 1423) and from which inspired the book made by P.Naso and B. Salvarani, “The revenge of the dialogue. Christians and Muslims in Italy after the 11 September” (EMI, Bologna “2002).

He is presently Councillor for Cultural and Youth policies, for the Project-Memory and at the Artistic-Historical heritage after having been Councillor for Sports and having been confirmed into the second legislature at the Municipal Administration of Carpi (Mo). He is one of the authors of the fiction about the story “Arturo Loria”, of the national price “Ugo Carpi” on xylography and of the Philosophy Festival in Modena, Carpi and Sassuolo and is also president of the “Found Liliana Cavani” about cinema.

Since 2000, he is with the Administrative Council of ATER (Theatres Association in Emilia Romagna) and since 2001 with the Administrative Council of “Border Line”, association to promote photography culture, with its seat at the Corte Ospitale in Rubiera (Re).


“Educating towards an inter-religious dialogue for a peaceful future”

1) After the 11 September, religions in the limelight

2) Peace, gift of God and human project

3) Educating to an intercultural and inter-religious dialogue


1) Times are quickly changing: after the season of “God’s death” and the eclipse of the sacred, people talk more and more about “God’s revenge” and about going back to spirituality, often under a fundamentalist point of view or talking about a “supermarket of sacred things”. The sceneries of the “after the 11 September” – among which the Anglo-American war against Iraq – have underlined it more and more, showing its most contradictory and dramatic aspects. Looking at our country, then, we are living very hardly the passage phase from “Italian people’s religion” (the catholic one, obviously, as it is true that we cannot call ourselves non Christians) to the Italy of new religions. The social visibility and of the “other” faiths, in fact, are growing more and more in Italy and it is not only Islam that has come silently in the “immigrant cases” but there is an ancient deposit of realities which are historically consolidated in our country (Jewish, Waldensians, Orthodox) and of many different voices like the ones of eastern religions (from Buddhism to Hinduism) of the New Age and the so-called New religious movements.

2) In such a context, forty years after the prophetic “Pacem in terris” the subject of peace appears more and more fragile and full of problems but, at the same time, it is of fundamental importance for the future of the human race: the kind of peace that, for those who believe in Abraham’s and Jesus’ God, first of all is not something ethical or social but a subject revealing something, being part of faith. As Enzo Bianchi writes, “it is with peace that the church measures its faithfulness to God and its capacity to witness the Gospel among men”.

The Bible peace is full life, is “shalom” and its opposite - more than war – is violence in general: the one that has its roots deep in men’s heart and unfortunately is able to bless the order of the inter-human relationships, between humanity and things, the whole universe and between humanity and God. Peace for Christian churches is then, first, a God’s gift that can be reached through daily choices like the practice of justice, the liberation of the oppressed and the defense of the poor.

3) The new pluralism is bound, probably, to try sorely our traditional ignorance about the Bible and religion, and obliging the school, information and instruction world to take a serious engagement. It will be impossible, in any case, to go on considering the religious fact as a purely individual element, without any cultural or social influence.

As any new thing, such a situation will bring fear and will push towards shutting some identities, but will also stimulate towards a real leap in quality: there will be above all the need for a change in mentality, more availability to listen to others’ ideas, a direct knowledge starting not only from a better documentation but also from meetings in everyday life and from the interpersonal exchange of dialogue.

There will be a need for a new “dialogue alphabet” based on identity, empathy, decentralization, hearing, reception. We will have to invest, on an ecclesiastical and civil basis, in the education for intercultural and inter-religious dialogue: a very tough challenge indeed, but absolutely necessary.