Dear colleagues, distinguished guests, researchers, and dear members of the global academic community,
It is both an honor and a profound responsibility to stand before you today as the rector of the University of Prishtina. We are here, united by a cause that transcends borders, cultures, and disciplines, driven by a shared commitment to understanding and addressing the severe implications of armed conflicts on our world's youngest inhabitants.
There's a timeless adage, "It takes a village to raise a child." This wisdom underscores the collective endeavor of a community in nurturing, educating, and safeguarding its future - our children. Yet, in many parts of our world, the very fabric of this village is torn apart by the tragedies of armed conflict. The distress and devastation experienced by families, the disruption of young dreams, and the violations against innocent children are a stark reminder of the urgent need for protection, support, and above all, hope.
Our gathering today, under the auspices of the Universities Network for Children in Armed Conflict and in collaboration with the esteemed Institute of Political Studies “S. Pio V”, is a testament to the power of academia and international cooperation. With the invaluable support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, this initiative is a beacon of hope, casting light on areas of our world overshadowed by conflict.
Through rigorous qualitative and quantitative analyses, our aim is to shed light on the grim realities faced by children in conflict zones. But we go beyond mere statistics. With the Virtual Map, a compelling video, and a photographic exhibition, we endeavor to humanize the numbers, making the plight of these children palpable and real to a global audience.
As we delve deeper into comparing the Italian Action Plan with the National Action Plans of various nations, we not only highlight the differences but also unearth the common ground that binds us in our quest for solutions. And our Autumn School stands as a testament to our belief in the next generation, arming them with knowledge about the judicial and social complexities of violence against children, especially girls, in armed conflict.
In the face of such adversity, the role of educational institutions like the University of Prishtina becomes paramount. We are not just centers of learning but also hubs of social responsibility, activism, and change.
In conclusion, let us remember that while the task before us is immense, the collective will and determination of our 'village' – this global community – can indeed ensure a safer, brighter future for our children. For in their laughter, dreams, and aspirations lie the promise of a better world.