In November 2015, Under the initiative of the Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella and the supervision of Commissioner Nicoletta Mantovani Pavarotti, "Unity in diversity", gathered mayors from all over the world who listened and discussed for four days about dialogue and culture, media and democracy; about the healing power of arts in conflict resolution education, the role of science and research for a peaceful coexistence and progress. As a result of an incredible act of generosity, high representatives, international experts and opinion makers responded immediately to our call. Quite unusually artists, journalists, students, Academy Award winning actors, scientists, Nobel laureates, religious leaders and delegates were together discussing actions, in terms of public administration and decision making, to build a better future. At the end of the four-day conference an action plan, the Charter of Florence, was delivered: four specific actions mayors agreed to pursue and monitor in Sustainable Development, Education, Cultural Heritage preservation, both material and immaterial, Intercultural Education.
They acknowledged for the first time education, cultural development, arts and culture, as key factors for social and economic growth, to foster dialogue and prevent from social or ethnic conflict, re-establishing the equation between the words “culture, economic growth – social stability – peace.
Now more than ever, when the world is afflicted by wars, political and economic crises or social conflicts, the word “Peace” has to be the core of the international political debate as the guiding principle of relations between people. It has to be translated into a real condition in which it is possible to establish, protect, recognize fundamental rights and the full dignity of the human being.
Conflicts are not only those we see framed in armies and uniforms. Our cities face social crisis daily: in their suburbs and streets, where social and economic discrepancies involve poverty in every aspect: nutrition, housing, education, safety.
Local governance at city level is the first to suffer the impact of crisis. Cities and their mayors are daily on the frontline to find solutions. For this reason, dialogue between local communities can be more effective, while at state levels, owing to their governance complexity, dialogue cannot be immediate. In this perspective local governments can play a strong role for the growth of a community firstly, therefore of a Country.
“Unity in Diversity” aims to build a network that will support and implement specific projects, in particular those focused to support Cultural Heritage preservation, cities’ resilience and sustainable development, to facilitate actions generated directly from local communities’ needs and ambitions.