Meeting on Dag Hammarskjöld in Italy

The recently founded Italian association, Dag Today, organised a seminar on Hammarskjöld’s ideals, ethics and political and diplomatic action. Dr Henning Melber, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation’s Senior Advisor and Director Emeritus, gave a speech on Dag Hammarskjöld’s ethics as an international civil servant.


The first meeting organized by the recently founded Italian Dag Hammarskjöld Association Dag Today, held on 16 November, focused on the continuing value of Dag Hammarskjöld’s ideals and on his exemplary life. The meeting was held at the Fondazione Basso in Rome, with the support of the Embassy of Sweden in Italy, the Fondazione Centro per la Riforma dello Stato and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala.

During the meeting, light was shed on the extraordinary Swedish civil servant, on the challenge that the UN Secretary-General would meet in the Congo in his most difficult hour, on the humanist and mystic Hammarskjöld and on how he could reconcile ethics and politics.

Sweden’s Ambassador to Italy, Robert Rydberg, emphasized the Swedish roots of Hammarskjöld’s passion and integrity, and Henning Melber, Director Emeritus of the Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala, described the process that led the Swedish Hammarskjöld to be the ‘civil servant’ of the world. Maria Stella Rognoni from the University of Florence talked about the courage and lucidity of the international diplomat in postcolonial Congo’s very difficult and dangerous situation, and Guido Dotti, from the Bose community, pointed at the personal mystic dimension of Hammarskjöld the humanist, which cannot be separated from his deep commitment to peace. Senator Mario Tronti spoke on the intense spirituality of the man is the key to understanding his political views, and for Domenico Di Martino, President of Dag Today, Hammarskjöld’s ideals must be studied better in Italy through exemplary initiatives – like the one proposed by Dag Today for a Room of Meditation and Silence in Rome modeled on the one created by Hammarskjöld at the UN Heaquarters in New York – and through the Association’s cycle of seminars on Dag Hammarskjöld for high schools and university students.

The meeting marked a revival of interest in Hammarskjöld in Italy. The seminar’s motto was one of his most important and famous phrases: “Only he deserves power who every day justifies it“, which sums up well the ideals and practice of the Swedish politician and Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Italian Dag Hammarskjöld Association – Dag Today, formally constituted in early 2015, is dedicated to the advocacy of ethics in social life and politics and, thus, to the advocacy of peace. This seminar marked the launch of the series Dag Today’s 2015-2016 meetings on the value of Hammarskjöld’s vision in today’s world.


More information here.

Pictured, from the left: Maria Stella Rognoni, Mario Tronti, Henning Melber, Guido Dotti, Domenico Di Martino
Photo credit: Massimo Iannuccelli