Fr Dionysius Mintoff, founder of the Peace Lab, was the keynote speaker at a conference in The Hague, The Netherlands that launched the international branch of the organisation he founded in Malta over fifty years ago.
Fr Mintoff was hosted by the prestigious Leiden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands, where he delivered a lecture on peace titled ‘How to work for Peace – A Dialogue with Fr Mintoff, the Father of Peace’.
In his lecture that was co-sponsored by The Dutch Knowledge Platform of the Clingendael Institute within the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fr Mintoff stated that the establishment of the Global Laboratory for Peace was needed to work on three cornerstones namely peace education, dialogue for peace and the formulation of creative and practical solutions for conflicts.
Fr Mintoff’s lecture was opened by Professor Giles Scott-Smith, the Dean of Leiden University College who described Fr Mintoff as a giant personality who has promoted world peace for decades.
Robert Micallef, a Maltese diplomat who facilitated the preparations for Fr Mintoff’s visit to The Hague introduced Fr Mintoff and explained Malta’s historic role as a nation of peace.
Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Leiden University Maja Vodopivec acted as a respondent and led the dialogue with the audience on the thoughts shared by Fr Mintoff.
Professor Vodopivec is also the convenor of Leiden University’s Fireside Peace Chats, a series of seminars with global peace practitioners.
The three-day stay in The Hague also included meetings with various international organisations based in The Netherlands including International Alert Europe, the Global Governance Forum, Continua, the Youth Peace Initiative and the Hague Humanity Hub.
Fr Mintoff was also received by the Ambassador of Costa Rica to the Netherlands, Arnoldo Brenes-Castro, to discuss the newly launched Global Peace Lab as well as the work of the United Nations University of Peace, an institution of higher learning based in Costa Rica created by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly.
The Founder of the Peace Lab was also invited to visit the Peace Palace where he donated his latest book on education for peace and was given a private tour of the Peace Palace which houses the United Nations International Court of Justice.
The establishment of the Global Peace Lab is not the first achievement for Father Mintoff on the global stage.
In 1982, he co-founded the Franciscans International, an international organisation with consultative status with the United Nations.
In 2010 Father Mintoff was awarded the inaugural Human Rights Award in Geneva, Switzerland for his vision and commitment.
The Peace Lab was originally founded in Malta in 1971 with a mission for peace education. Today it also acts as a sanctuary for refugees and is a place of learning, inclusion, and acceptance regardless of personal beliefs.