NAPLES, Italy – Students and academics from the European Association of International Studies (AESI) were welcomed by Admiral James Foggo, JFC Naples Commander, during a conference focused on "The European Union and NATO: Security and Peace in the Mediterranean Area” on June 4.
Foggo centered his message to the academic staff and students on the "bridge” as a metaphor for building and sustaining peace. In recalling "The Bridge on the Drina”, a novel written by Ivo Andríc, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961, Foggo emphasized that peace can be obtained and safeguarded by building bridges and opening those that are blocked. Bridges are one of the most important infrastructures and symbols in human history, both in a physical and a spiritual sense. They symbolize peace and prosperity, because when they are open and accessible, people mix and get to know each other, commerce and ideas flow, and humanity prospers. When bridges are destroyed or blocked, peace is hampered.
Foggo narrated his visit to Mitrovica, Kosovo, last February when he and Major General Cuoci, Commander of KFOR, went to Mitrovica and asked the Mayor of Mitrovica South, Mr. Agim Bahtiri, and the northern Mayor, Mr. Goran Rakic, to cross together the main bridge which represents the symbol of a divided city, asking them to open it as soon as possible, because the main bridge should unite and not divide.
Foggo welcomed the work that AESI performs worldwide in building bridges among academics and students from warring parties, creating the premises for mutual understanding among peoples.
Professor Massimo Caneva, AESI President, talked about the role and the activities of the association. AESI is a cultural non-profit association, independent from a political point of view, that has as its main target the promotion of human rights in politics and international cooperation. AESI wants to develop in particular, with its activities, a real culture of cooperation among populations and Nations. AESI wants to contribute to the training of those young students who are preparing themselves for a diplomatic career or a career in European or International Institutions.
Topics included the EU-NATO Cooperation on challenges in the South, the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub, the Joint Operation Center, the role of international civilians in NATO and cyber security. At the end of the presentations, after a round table discussion with the briefers, the delegation had the opportunity to visit Admiral Foggo’s office where he shared personal stories relating to his European roots.
This AESI visit is part of the community relations campaign to establish cultural and social exchange with the external community and to strengthen the relationship with local and regional institutions.
Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office