Italy’s Youth Delegates speak of cultural preservation at the General Assembly

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NEW YORK, OCTOBER 2- Today, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Italy’s new Youth Delegates -Simone Mostratisi and Giulia Parenti- delivered their speech at Third Commission session of the 74th General Assembly. Their focus was on cultural heritage, in all its forms “from concrete monuments to intangible traditions”, because “For us, this is key: cultural heritage enables youths to connect with both the future and the past at the same time, creating a new framework in which the younger generations are true protagonists in the fight for climate change solutions, peace, security and economic growth.”

Speaking in their national capacities, the Italian Delegates explained how involving young people in the preservation of cultural heritage can be a key path to effective multilateralism: “Cultural differences, in the broadest terms, can be a source of conflict, but the engagement of youths, focused on mutual understanding through cultural heritage, could help prevent conflict and make them key individuals for building and consolidating peace.” They furthermore expressed a commitment to make this youth empowering topic central to their mandate: “The idea of cultural heritage as a tool that youths can harness to foster development, peace, security and economic growth will be at the very core of our negotiations.”

Preserving cultural heritage is a theme of significant importance to Italy, which has led many of the efforts existing in this regard. As reminded by the delegates to the Assembly, Italy “has placed culture at the center of the Agenda for Peace and Security, by promoting – with France – Security Council resolution 2347: the first of its kind ever adopted. It addressed the destruction and trafficking of cultural heritage in armed conflict. Italy has been at the forefront of important initiatives such as UNESCO’s campaign “Unite4Heritage”. It is also the first country in the world to have gendarmerie units specialized in the protection of cultural heritage – the “Carabinieri” Unit for the Protection of Cultural Heritage – who work in close cooperation with the relevant international organizations”. 

Simone and Giulia envision a central role for the global youth: “Youths could be one of the major vectors promoting a culture of peace and non-violent dialogue…If we lead this dynamic quest for heritage preservation, characterized by youth exchanges, initiatives and dialogue and based on our work with museums, artistic, sports and climate action programs, we could pave the way toward a world where prejudice and all forms of discrimination, if not completely eradicated, will be greatly diminished.” (SB@OnuItalia)