Humanitarian action and solidarity: principles, practices and new challenges


Institutional Communication Service

16 April 2019

The uncertainty and complexity of the international arena makes it difficult to reflect upon the nature, effectiveness, and objectives of solidarity projects. Private organisations have taken on significant importance and have also become the subject of criticism by some. It seems that the time has come to seek for new answers regarding the profound sense of humanitarian action, through a lucid analysis, distant from political controversy.

The International Balzan Prize Foundation and USI have organised the conference “Humanitarian Action and Solidarity: principles, practices, and new challenges”, that will be held on Tuesday, 14 May at 6:30 pm in the Lugano campus Auditorium. The aim of the conference is to assess the situation through the input of professionals working in the field such as the heads of the three organisations awarded with the Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity among Peoples, thanks to their concrete humanitarian projects. After the welcome remarks by USI Rector Boas Erez, and by the President of the Balzan Prize Foundation Enrico Decleva, Ambassador Pio Wennubst (Deputy Director and Head of Global Cooperation at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation) will act as moderator of the panel that will feature Franco Monnicchi for Emmaus Italia (1991 Balzan Prize to Abbé Pierre) Paola Germano for Comunità di Sant'Egidio (2004 Balzan Prize for the project DREAM) and Vito Angelillo for Terre des hommes (2018 Balzan Pize for the project SIMSONE).

The Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity among Peoples honours concrete projects of humanitarian intervention. While sharing the mission of improving living conditions for everyone, and preventing local and global social inequalities, the organisations presented with the Prize operate within different principles and practices. During the evening, the open discussion between the different parties will restore the complexity and heterogeneity of humanitarian action. Emmaus, founded in 1949 in France by Abbé Pierre, supports community projects in overcoming homelessness and exclusion. Project Dream of Comunità di Sant’Egidio proposes a new model of public health in African countries affected by AIDS, with a light system based on small health centres spread across the countries, in order to create a new awareness of AIDS and of those affected by it. The project SIMSONE by Terres des Hommes promotes essential obstetric and neo-natal care in the region of Segou in Mali, and makes it possible to save new-borns at the time of delivery and to successfully treat their mothers.

For more information on the Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace, and Fraternity among Peoples: