Unity in Diversity


“If the Unity of Nations Is Not Yet Possible, We Believe the Unity of Cities Is” Giorgio La Pira, Mediterranean Dialogues, 1967

Florence is getting ready to host the third edition of Unity in Diversity, the platform undersigned by Mayors from over 60 countries, whose contribution led to the success of the past two editions. This year we will open the conference on November 7th 2017, in Palazzo Vecchio, home of Florence City Hall and we shall close it on November 8th at the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican, thanks to the gracious invitation of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

We are therefore delighted to request the honour of your presence, together with our colleagues and friends who have been invited to join our committee this year, the Honourable Mayors Mr. Seifallah Lasram, Mayor of Tunis and Mr. Yiorgos Kaminis, Mayor of Athens.

This edition will focus on Dialogue in the Mediterranean. Mayors will discuss issues related to economic development, climate change and environment policies. Furthermore, as we all bear in mind that the quest for natural resources and their control are the primary cause of most conflicts, Peace and Intercultural Dialogue will necessarily be the thread through which these topics will be analysed and discussed.

Scholars, economists, Nobel Laureates, high UN and European representatives as well as national government leaders will interact, like in previous editions, with the Mayors, who will have the opportunity to discuss priorities and devise strategies in specific work sessions.

The resulting final platform will be presented to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who has been invited to our closing session.

As we all very well know, the impact of both political and economic stability in the Mediterranean has become crucial not only for Europe but also for global stability and security. Today more than ever, swift and incisive actions at all levels are imperative.

For all these reasons, a culture of dialogue remains a prerequisite for coexistence amongst communities, in our shared belief that real dialogue can start from cities, as living cells of a macro-system, capable of reconciling a torn humanity.

We look forward to working together for the future of our communities next November in Florence.

Dario Nardella
Mayor of Florence


Florence, November 7, 2017 | Rome, November 8, 2017

Day One, November 7, 2017

Salone dei Cinquecento, Palazzo Vecchio Home of the Florence City Hall

8.30-9.00am: Registration

Session I – The Mediterranean, Cradle of Dialogue. The Sea “in between lands”, as by its etymology, has been over the centuries an economic, social and cultural crossroad between Europe, Africa and Asia; between East and West, North and South. This complexity requires broader political strategies and a worldwide vision to tackle the root causes of our challenges and to turn them in to an opportunity for stability and Peace. Cities can be the very core of this strategy by developing a network to address and support strategic decisions at government levels and integrating equity to development agendas as an issue of social justice. To bridge inequality by improving social, economic and environmental conditions worldwide, is an opportunity to think, build, and live differently, by facing the challenge of Resilience in this age of rapid urbanization and climate change.


Opening remarks by Maarten Van Aalderen, “De Telegraaf” correspondent and  Vice President of the Foreign Press Association in Italy.

Welcome speech and remarks by the Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella

Address speech by Staffan De Mistura - United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria - video contribution

Address speech by Joan Clos, Executive Director UN HABITAT – video contribution.

Address Speech  by  Mrs. Kerry Kennedy - President of the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights”.


Session II: Mediterranean and Global Scenarios

The quest for natural and energy resources and the rage for their control in modern societies has led to social and economic crisis, climate change, communities exploitation and cultural impoverishment. As a result, we witness worldwide conditions of permanent conflict, in relation to which the traditional concept of progress itself looses its meaning. The Mediterranean seems to embody now more than ever the consequences of fragile yet necessary balances. From migrations to the relations between Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the Mediterranean is the area that geographically not only suggests but demands a strategy based on dialogue and a global vision. For these reasons Politics, Economy, Environment, social growth and valorisation of Cultural Heritage, both material and immaterial, have to be different angles of a whole vision to rethink the relation between the humankind and the planet.

Giorgio La Pira – The Mayor of Dialogue across borders.

In collaboration with Fondazione  Giorgio La Pira

Video contribution.

Prof. Mario Primicerio, President,  Fondazione Giorgio la Pira.

Giovanni Minoli, journalist. “Giorgio La Pira and  his heritage”- The powerful intuition of a Mayor who envisioned the strategic role of cities to foster dialogue between world leaders and countries. 

Intercultural Dialogue


Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Izzedin Elzir, Imam of Florence and President of UCOII

Prof. Saul Meghnagi, Commissioner for Youth and Education of the U.C.E.I. – Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.

Pierpaolo Donati, Professor of Sociology at the University of Bologna. PASS Academician.


Address speech by Mario Giro,  Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs



Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. presenting the “UNDER 2 MoU” Memorandum of Understanding on Subnational Global Climate Leadership – video contribution.

Veerabhadran Ramanathan, United Nation’s Champion of Earth and Distinguished Professor of Climate Sciences, University of California at San Diego. PASS Academician.

“Extreme Risks of Climate Change and Ten Solutions to Protect People and Ecosystem”


Session III: Youth and dialogue. Students address to local communities and leaders.

University of Florence - “Practise Peace, change your world” – Developing ICT tools to foster democracy and dialogue. A project by Davide Bonaiuti, Benjamin Robson Di Lullo e Francesco Lavanga. Curated by Prof. Silvia Guetta, Professor – Department of Education and Psychology University of Florence, Italy.

New York University -  Florence.

“Intercultural Dialogue and the Development of Character and Tolerance”.

Eilish Anderson, Qixiu Fu, Ward Hejazi, Feiran Lyu, Nikola Nenkov, Ruoying Tao

The School for Intercultural and Inter Religous Dialogue  - A project born during the first edition of Unity in Diversity, November 2015. Mons. Andrea Bellandi, Imam Izzedin Elzir, Rav Joseph Levi.

1.00pm: §Premio La Pira – The Heritage of Mayor Giorgio La Pira 40 years later. In collaboration with Fondazione Giorgio La Pira

1.15pm-2.45pm: Lunch break

2.45pm-5.30pm: Mayors open talk session, “Urban dialogues”

During this session mayors will be invited to discuss the topics addressed in the morning to share crucial issues and compare solutions.

6.30pm:  Pick up point in Palazzo Vecchio – Transfer to Train Station

7.33pm: Departure to Rome


Day Two, November 8, 2017

Vatican City, Casina Pio IV



Mayors will be invited to exchange their vision on Climate Change and Human Dignity – from social exclusion to modern forms of slavery and human trafficking.

9.00am: Mayor Giorgio La Pira, the consistency of utopia. Curated by Fondazione Giorgio La Pira - Special preview of the documentary  “Giorgio La Pira. La concretezza dell'utopia”, di Vanessa Roghi -  La Grande Storia, Rai Tre

9.15am: Opening remarks by Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

9.30am: Address speech by the Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella and the Promoting Committee.

Mayors open talk session. 7-minute comments by each Mayor. 3-minute replies.

1.30pm: Lunch

3.00pm: End of Conference.



©2012-2017 Pontificia Accademia delle Scienze Sociali


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