2023 (EN)

The United States of the World with the Fondazione Mediterraneo and the Academy of the Mediterranean commemorated founding member Father Paolo Dall'Oglio on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his abduction in Raqqa on 29 July 2013.
Founder of the monastic community of Deir Mar Musa, Father Paolo is a tireless witness to peace and dialogue between the different religious denominations in Syria.
"Ten years have passed since his kidnapping, - said Secretary-General Michele Capasso, a close friend of Father Paolo, - and so many are the memories and actions that have marked years of collaboration for dialogue and peace. I am still moved today remembering when, in order to convince Muslims and Catholics to dialogue at a difficult time of clashes and controversies, I disguised myself as Father Christmas to defuse the tension: Paolo understood and, with a complicit look, urged me to continue. Paolo did not like to tell himself stories, and when we awarded him the Mediterranean Award he hugged us tightly, saying that this recognition was for the entire monastic community and not for him".
On this occasion, the message of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella was read out:
"Ten years have passed since the kidnapping in Syria of Father Paolo Dall'Oglio. Since then, no news has been able to refresh the hope of his survival. On this day that renews the pain and, with it, the memory of a generous man who gave all of himself to solidarity, dialogue, and helping those most in need, I wish to express my deepest feelings of closeness to his family and to those who share with them the agony of waiting.
Paolo Dall'Oglio, a witness and builder of peace, has ensured that his religious faith has never been expressed as a reason for conflict. His life has always been an unceasing drive to seek sharing, encounter, justice, unity, in the name of the person, of every person, of his integrity, of his inviolable dignity. He has challenged prejudices and regimes, lived with the poorest, courageously travelled the deserts and territories of conflict, hatred, oppression, to bring hope and humanity.
However helpless they may appear, peace witnesses are protagonists of history. The memory of their presence and their passage must be kept alive, even more so at a time when the wounds of war are bloodying the Middle East and our Europe"
Videos, documents and images of meetings with Father Paul from 1998 to the last one in 2013 were shown.