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100 years of Italian Air Force: an olive tree at the UN is symbol of commitment to peacekeeping

NEW YORK, APRIL 17 – A 70 year old olive tree has been installed at UN Headquarters to symbolize the Italian commitment to peacekeeping missions. The ancient tree, universal symbol of peace, is part of a multimedia exhibition co-organized by the Italian Mission, the Ministry of Defense and the Air Force to celebrate the anniversary with the participation of the Undersecretary General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

Titled “Growing Peace” and open until April 28, the exhibition aims to guide the international public through the 70 years of contribution of the Air Force to UN peacekeeping operations, of which Italy is the first contributor among Western countries in terms of troops.


“Today, we bring a moving story of courage, professionalism and sense of duty to promote peace in multiple international theatres, from the Mediterranean to the Middle East, from Lebanon to Afghanistan and Iraq and, more recently, to bring relief to the people affected by the 2023 earthquakes of Turkey and Syria. Our Air Force is one of the highest emblems of the Italian commitment to multilateralism and peace”, stressed Ambassador Maurizio Massari opening the ceremony.

The Air Force Chief of Staff, General Luca Goretti, recalled how the service provided by women and men of the Air Force is characterized by unshakeable moral rectitude, empathy and closeness shown to the populations afflicted by war: “Peace is the fuel that feeds our planes and our hearts and pushes us to action, a tangible and daily goal that provides the motivation behind every sacrifice”.

The ceremony closed with a tribute to Italian airmen and UN peacekeepers fallen on duty. Among the extreme sacrifices, General Goretti recalled the massacre of Kindu, in Congo, during one of the first missions in which Italy participated under the UN flag.

The beating heart of the show was the 70-year-old – as many years as the Air Force’s participation in the UN peacekeeping – olive tree, universal symbol of peace, and of the effort of Italy’s aviators to plant the “seeds of peace” throughout the world. At the end of the exhibition, the olive tree will remain in New York: it will be donated to UNIS, the international school of the UN. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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