NATO SFA COE: Seminar on the Religious Factor and Security

(To Greater Defense)

The seminar, held on 5 and 6 May 2022 at the Aviator's House of the Air Force Staff, analyzed the role that the religious factor can play in crisis management, conflict resolution, peace building and post-conflict stabilization processes, with particular attention to the strategic area of ​​Mediterranean interest Enlarged and to the Middle East.

During the event, organized on plenary sessions, authoritative speakers from Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, invited by the RSC, animated the debate together with representatives of important research centers and universities (from Finland, France, Italy, Somalia, United States), del Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCDI), and of NATO (SHAPE, NATO Strategic Direction-South Hub), invited by the director of the Center, col. Massimo Di Pietro, to identify, with the scientific coordinators, the president of the RSC, dr. Emiliano Stornelli, and Dr. Sihem Djebbi, a set of functional elements for the correct application of the SFA in crisis areas.

In particular, the initiative aimed to underline how inter-religious dialogue initiatives and the role of religious leaders can represent in situations of conflict, an enabling factor to get out of radical strife, violence and extremism and to build situations of mutual understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

Therefore, as also reiterated by the agreed military authorities, general of the army corps Salvatore Farina, president of the Army Studies Center, former Army Chief of Staff and Major General Stefano Del Col, former commander of UNIFIL, it is essential to promote collaboration between military and civilians and considering the positive dimension of religion also in the social and political field, to encourage dialogue and the creation of a relationship of trust between religious leaders based on mutual respect.

At the conclusion of the three panels (concerning the specificity of interreligious dialogue in the resolution of conflicts and in the construction of a lasting peace; the phenomena of radicalization and violent extremism; the training to promote reconciliation and peaceful coexistence) was followed by a constructive reflection of academics and experts aimed at providing important insights for the conceptual and doctrinal development of the NATO SFA COE in the analysis of the so-called instability drivers.

The seminar can be considered a milestone for starting to consider religion as a further facilitating factor in the processes of stabilization and consolidation of the institutions in crisis areas, on a par with other enabling factors that NATO lists among the so-called Cross-cutting topics.