March 22, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

King’s has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Rondine Cittadella della Pace in Tuscany, Italy. Celebrating its 20thanniversary this year, Rondine is a centre for for peace and conflict resolution that brings together youth from conflict-torn regions around the world. It is near Arezzo Italy, which is situated between Florence and Rome.  Rondine was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.  The premise of the Rondine program is to situate enemies in a neutral space to think, learn and work together to build forgiveness, peace, generosity and justice.

King’s Principal, Dr. David Sylvester, signed the agreement in Italy on March 14, 2018 with Franco Vaccari, President of Rondine Cittadella della Pace. The MOU outlines how King’s and Rondine will continue to co-operate and explore future areas of collaboration which includes 

  • students from King’s studying at Rondine,
  • movement of faculty, scholars and staff between the two institutions,
  • research collaborations,
  • exchange and sharing of teaching materials, publications and information,
  • fostering inter-university cooperation and establishing permanent networks.

Last year, 11 students from King’s took part in a trial three- week course at Rondine, led by Dr. Allyson Larkin, professor in Social Justice & Peace Studies, and Dr. Antonio Calcagno, professor of Philosophy. As well, the students studied Italian language through Italian Studies at Western.

The students completed a Social Justice & Peace Studies (SJPS) course with a philosophical undertone of understanding the other. The students lived in apartments in Arezzo, visited Pisa, Cortona and other nearby cities. Students were also welcomed by Fr. Michael Czerny, S.J., Vatican Executive Director for the Dicastry for Refugees and Migrants, to learn about the UN’s Global Compact for migration and other initiatives. They also travelled to Rome for a meeting at the Vatican department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. Students visited the Centro Astalii, the Jesuit Centre for hospitality, in Rome.  Further, they learned about the refugee and migrant issues by visiting refugee centres.

For more images of the course visit @kingsrondine on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

In May 2018, 17 students from King’s will head to Rondine for four weeks to study Global Networks for Justice: Migration, Borders, Violence and Peace with Dr. Larkin and Dr. Ben Muller, professor of Political Science at King’s. The SJPs seminar brings together lectures by Dr. Ben Muller on borders, violence and migration and community-based learning with local humanitarian agencies working with migrants and refugees, organized by Dr. Allyson Larkin.

The students will also study Italian language along with 11 second-year Italian students from Western. Dr. Cristina Caracchini, coordinator of Italian Studies at Western, and Dr. Laura Mosco are leading the Italian instruction for this program.

Dr. Larkin says she is excited to be returning to to build on the unique education opportunities Rondine presents for King’s students. “This program brings together many of the goals of the Social Justice and Peace Studies program: to provide students with a deep historical and theoretical understanding of contemporary social issues; to integrate experience with learning; to encounter cultures and knowledge outside of Western traditions; to seek ways to implement strategies to further understanding of Others, and to work for peace and justice in our communities.”

The course has a number of activities including the following:

  • Incorporation of a community-based learning stream that will provide students with opportunities to volunteer two afternoons per week in a local site dedicated to refugee/migrant support.  
  • Incorporate studies with 15 students who will be in residence at Rondine as part of a two-year residency where they complete MA’s at either the University of Siena or the University of Pisa in peace, conflict or related fields.  They will participate in the King’s seminar meetings at Rondine learning about conflict in Canada.
  • A day-long seminar at the University of Pisa with renowned scholar Roberto Esposito.
  • A capstone public symposium for King’s, Western and Rondine students at Rondine.
  • Opportunity to add an additional half credit for students who want to extend their Italian studies to include ITAL 1046 as an intersession course.
  • Meetings with the Vatican Office for Migrants and Refugees, San Calista, and The Community of Sant’ Egidio, Rome.
  • Meeting with the director of the Dicastry for Migrants and Refugees, Sant’Egidio
  • Students will be producing podcasts for Caritas International Radio.