SOAS University of London

SCRAP collaborates with the Vatican for online event that promotes global ceasefire

17 March 2021

The SCRAP Weapons team at CISD, SOAS University of London will join five Cardinals, and messengers from other faiths in discussing the Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP) project, in furtherance of global ceasefire. 

On 23rd March 2021 at 2pm (GMT) (3pm CET), the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD) and the Vatican COVID-19 Commission, in collaboration with the Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP) of the SOAS University of London, will host the online event “Advancing integral disarmament in times of pandemic”. Religious representatives and researchers will reflect on the efforts to promote a global ceasefire by stopping weapons production and proliferation, to support the United Nations Secretary-General’s and Pope Francis’ calls for a global ceasefire. The event will offer the international community and religious leaders concrete options to follow the path of integral disarmament, in response to the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

On the first anniversary of the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a Global Ceasefire, the Vatican and SOAS University of London jointly propose the Global #FreezeWeapons initiative as a concrete option to follow the path of integral disarmament.

The webinar, which will be developed entirely in English, will consist of three sessions.

The first session will be dedicated to institutional introductions. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy Father; Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; and Prof. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) at SOAS University of London, will intervene.

The second session will address international law and concrete methods to pursue disarmament. Members of the disarmament community will share their expertise, with closing remarks from H.E. Msgr. Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer, Holy See Mission to the UN in Geneva.

The third session will highlight the vital role ecumenical and interreligious dialogue can play. Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Cardinal Miguel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, along with representatives of Christian denominations and other religions will take part in the session. 

Silvano Maria Tomasi, Special Delegate for the Sovereign Order of Malta, will also give his contribution. Closing remarks will be given by Msgr. Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The sessions will be moderated by Dr. Alessio Pecorario, Coordinator of the Security Taskforce of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission.

Prof. Dan Plesch, Director of CISD said:

"We hope that other faiths and secular organisations will now join the Vatican in using the “Freeze Weapons Production'' for conflict prevention and sustainable peace and the ideas of the staff and students at SOAS's SCRAP. This affirmation from the Vatican is a tribute to a decade of determination from SOAS alumni, students, staff and associates.”

Dr Olamide Samuel, the Coordinator of SCRAP stated that:

"We have a 'once in a generation' opportunity to transform our economies in a manner that will result in greater investment in health, safety and social security. We hope that global civil society follows the Vatican's lead in supporting the #FreezeWeapons campaign, as a practical means of addressing the humanitarian needs of our time"

The event is organized with the support of institutions of the Roman Curia, including the Pontifical Councils for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU); and with the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). Support will also come from Pax Christi International, the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, the Catholic University of America Institute for Policy Research, and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

This webinar will be livestreamed on 23 March 2021 through the YouTube channel of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development “Vatican IHD”.

Find out more and register for the event.

On the first anniversary of the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a Global Ceasefire, the Vatican and SOAS University of London jointly propose the Global #FreezeWeapons initiative as a concrete option to follow the path of integral disarmament.

For further information, contact:

scrap.weapons@soas.ac.uk