Mario Giro, for his work within the Community of Sant’Egidio
Born in Rome in 1958, Mario Giro joined the Community of Sant’Egidio in 1975 while still in highschool. He obtained his undergraduate literature degree at the University La Sapienza of Rome and in 1979 he became head of the Center for Community Youth. Within the Center in the 1980s, he began to become interested in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and inter-religious dialogue, themes in many of the Community’s initiatives. Since 1989, he has helped establish and develop Sant’Egidio centers in Africa, which he still oversees today. As Head of International Relations of the Sant’Egidio Community, he has been involved in numerous negotiations.
In November 1994 he helped organize the meeting on Algeria at Sant’Egidio. This was the first time since the crisis began in 1991 that the main Algerian leaders met and spoke freely about the reasons of the conflict. He is the co-author of a book about the experience, Algeria in ostaggio, (Impagliazzo, M., and M. Giro, Milan, 1997)
In 1996, Mario Giro participated in preliminary meetings in Rome to resolve the crisis in Burundi. The following year, he returned to Rome to negotiate the Pact for the future of Albania, which is still in force today.
In Kosovo, he helped implement the Agreement of September 1, 1996, between the Serbian President Milosevic and the Kosovar leader Jugova, which ensured access to schools for Kosovar Albanians in 1997-1998.
In Liberia, Mario Giro organized and participated in meetings of Sant’Egidio with the rebels of Liberia (LURD). The intervention of Sant’Egidio in 2004 led to the signing of a pact of commitment that, after 14 years of war, prepared for free elections.
After participating in various negotiations to resolve the Darfur crisis, Mario Giro organized a visit to Rome for the rebel leaders and a meeting in May 2005 for the leaders of all the movements in Darfur.
In 2006, Mario Giro participated in several missions in the forests in southern Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here, with the Government of Southern Sudan, he met Kony and other rebel leaders.
The Community Sant’Egidio
A handful of students, led by Andrea Riccardi, founded the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome in 1968, following the Second Vatican Council. It owes its name to the little church of Sant’Egidio (St.Giles) of the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere. This is the home of the Catholic community with over 50,000 active participants, working in over 70 countries on five continents.
Even though Sant’Egidio is called a community, its members do not live in community. Each has his or her own professional and family life and they do not take vows. Within the Catholic Church, the Sant’Egidio community has the status of “public lay association”.
Prayer and solidarity with the disadvantaged (the elderly, the homeless, street children, prisoners, the handicapped, those condemned to death, the ill suffering from HIV / AIDS…) considered as a free and voluntary service, are the main features of Sant’Egidio. At the local and international level, the community is committed to solidarity, oecumenism, and dialogue between religions. Sant’Egidio has also developed research initiatives for peace and reconciliation and currently plays a decisive role in resolving and preventing conflicts, particularly in Africa and Latin America.
To learn more: www.santegidio.org
The Work of Mario Giro in conflict prevention
| Guinea:The Community of Sant’Egidio has been present in Guinea since the early 1990s and in recent years, it has intervened, on several occasions, to facilitate political dialogue.|
In 2007, Mario Giro accomplished a mission at the height of the crisis between Lansana Conté and the Forces Vives (political parties, unions, civil society, NGOs, etc.).
|Niger:On July 28, 2010 Mario Giro led a delegation of the Community of Sant’Egidio to meet Salou Djibo. This meeting was followed by several work sessions with the leaders of the transitional institutions.Read more|