|Robustelli letter||Page 2|
A letter from Franco Robustelli, Italian professor and researcher.
I fully agree with you when you write: “the need for the message of Seville is stronger than ever. Once again we read many references in the media and in academia to a so-called ‘human instinct for war’ and as has been shown, this myth can be an obstacle to taking action for peace.” And now I would like to make a few remarks about what I consider a major issue at present in the field of scientific research. As I repeatedly wrote and repeatedly said in conferences and seminars, the results of scientific research are very often confined to universities, research institutes, scientific conferences and specialist publications. These results are not adequately disseminated so as to modify people’s thinking. I think that scientific popularization is extremely important in our society, but it is definitely inadequate in every field.
Besides, there is another major issue: the great potential for social transformations, which derives from the results of scientific research, can be concretely realized only through a collaboration between scientists and public institutions.
As to our specific field, I think that UNESCO could promote the setting-up of a network of national centers for education against violence. UNESCO could partly fund this network and, most importantly, could involve the various states so as to get a substantial financial support from them. The present historical period is most suitable (unfortunately!) in order to convince the various states that a concrete, wide and undelayable project for education against violence is necessary. Moreover, all kinds of efforts should be concentrated on making such a project known as much as possible so as to awaken and, possibly, mobilize a large part of public opinion, since this too might contribute to compelling the states to adhere to the project itself. UNESCO might also involve UNO in this project, given the present absolutely exceptional period as regards violence in general and war in particular. To begin with, a conference on the importance of scientific popularization could be organized. In any case UNESCO should act concretely and rapidly. The problem of violence is now more urgent than ever. The prospects for the future are dreadful. Moreover, UNESCO’s prompt and decisive action might restore its credibility, which is now seriously compromised (which is also true as regards UNO’s other agencies). In my opinion, an aspect of the concreteness UNESCO should show, should consist in convincing politicians that it is absolutely urgent to firmly intervene in the field of education against violence.
Recently Camilla and I were invited to a workshop organized in Brussels by the European Commission. The subject of the conference was the middle-eastern conflict. Most of the participants were Palestinians and Israelis, and a few were Europeans. I was the chairman at the last session of the workshop and, thus, I had the hard task to draw the conclusions of the workshop. Most of the participants agreed on my conclusions. At the dinner party at the end of the workshop a colleague, smiling, told me that I had been “apocalyptic”. As a matter of fact I think that if humankind does not change its course as soon as possible, something irreparable may happen at any moment.