I am very honoured to address this conference and to be part of IAPP. First of all, may I introduce myself? I am from Malta, a country which, from the beginning, even before its independence in 1964, promoted initiatives for peace.
I believe there can be no peace between our countries if there is no peace in Europe, in the Mediterranean region and throughout the world. As a member of parliament for the last 18 years and 21 years as a mayor in my hometown, it was important to promote peace. Peace is the key for everything.
It is very important for every country to have a strong economy. However, it is important to have peace as well, because a strong economy is not enough. There have been many great people around the world who taught about the importance of peace, such as John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and others. Yes, it is time for humanity to embrace and share our common values and see the importance of establishing Parliamentarians for Peace.
There are no borders. It doesn’t matter if you are Muslim, Catholic, Jew, black, white, brown, from Europe, Asia, Africa; this is a healthy initiative because, in this way, it is possible to build a better world. It is important to be positive about this issue. I support the initiative launched by UPF on February 15, 2016, at the National Assembly in Seoul, Korea, for which I was present, 100 current parliamentarians from more than 40 nations gathered to propose the launch of the international Association of Parliamentarians for Peace.
I want to make a point about refugees and integration. The issue of refugees and their integration is a challenge, not a problem, and we must work together for the integration of these people who are fighting for a better life. For these people, there is no choice; their only option is to escape from their country. This is the reality. Integration is a must. I trust that if we work together, we can build a better future.
After many years of public life and in politics, I can say that the key to peace is in our hands.
Author: Hon. Silvio Parnis
Member of Parliament, Malta
Mr. Parnis is a Maltese Labour Party politician. He served as Mayor of his hometown, Paola, from 1994 till 1998. He was first elected to Parliament in 1998, and re-elected for four consecutive terms. He served as a Shadow Minister for the Elderly during the 2003-2008 legislature, then became the Opposition Spokesperson for Consumer Protection and for Sustainable Development. Since 2013 he was appointed as chair for the Consultative Council for the South of Malta and Chair for Consideration of Bills Committee. He is known as a philanthropist and has carried out several projects in Africa and Peru. He is also a broadcaster on radio and television.