Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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The Arsenal of Peace

The Arsenal of Peace

61, Piazza Borgo Dora - 10152 Torino - ITALY



The Arsenal of Peace is the headquarters of the Ser.Mi.G - Youth Mission Service - of Turin. It is the former military arsenal of Turin, an area of forty-five thousand square meters, which with the work and the voluntary economic contributions of thousands of people has been transformed into a shelter for the poor. The facility offers shelter for the night, meals, health care and support for people who want to change their lives. It hosts the "University of Dialogue", dedicated to the training of young people on issues such as education for coexistence between cultures, peace and in general the great themes of existence. There is also a school for artisans restorers and a music workshop recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education. The Ser.Mi.G defines the Arsenal of Peace "a house where everyone can find silence and spirituality, himself and the breath of the world". From this experience arose three other Arsenals: the Arsenal of Hope in Sao Paulo in Brazil with 1200 street men welcomed every day; the Arsenal of the Encounter in Madaba, in Jordan, which welcomes hundreds of disabled children, both Christians and Muslims; the Arsenale dell'Armonia in Pecetto Torinese, a home for hospitalized children and their families and a day center for the disabled.
The Ser.Mi.G - Youth Missionary Service - was born in 1964 from an intuition of Ernesto Olivero and from a dream shared with many: defeating hunger with works of justice and development, living solidarity with the poorest and giving special attention to young people, seeking together with them the ways of peace through meeting and dialogue with others. The history of Ser.Mi.G is a story of dialogue, of welcoming, of faith. A story made of faces and ideals, which have made possible, for the first time in history, the transformation of a military Arsenal into a home of peace. It all begins in Turin, in 1964, by Ernesto Olivero, his wife Maria and a small group of young people committed against world hunger. August 2nd 1983, the group takes possession for the first time of the old military Arsenal of the city. Built in 1580, it was reshaped during the eighteenth century by Vittorio Amedeo III who made the army the backbone of his kingdom. Following the destruction, caused by an explosion of dust in 1852, the building was completely rebuilt in its current form and used for the production of weapons during the First and Second World Wars. Severely damaged by the air raids of December 8, 1942 and July 13, 1943, it was abandoned until 1983 when the Ser.Mi.G. began the transformation of the former military arsenal located in Borgo Dora.
The Arsenal of Peace promotes the meeting and the knowledge among people belonging to different cultures and religions, choosing dialogue as the only road worthy of man to resolve conflicts and tensions, as a way of life and a method of teaching. Drawing on the wealth of experiences, cultural and spiritual riches gained in the history of humanity, the Arsenal of Peace chooses to be a school that educates young people to take root in truth, mutual respect and encounter with those in research. It engages in the promotion of universal human rights, in the coexistence of peoples, cultures and religions. It does not accept ghettos, discriminations, fundamentalisms and dictatorships of any origin and type.
The experience of the Arsenal of Peace was born within the Catholic Church. It was faith in Jesus Christ that pushed Ernesto Olivero and the first nucleus of young Catholics to place themselves at the service of the Gospel and its favorite children: the poorest, the most excluded, those who live in the existential and social peripheries. So, in the place where most of the weapons were used, used in the two world wars, arsenal of peace arose, a "laboratory" of cohabitation, dialogue, listening and hospitality, a sort of monastery in the heart of the city , open 24 hours a day; an environment of prayer and silence, of culture and formation; a place that welcomes believers and non-believers, Catholics and adherents to other faiths.
Participation in the laboratories proposed by Ser.Mi.G which include practical activities and workshops for reflection on the themes of peace, acceptance, music and interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

30th anniversary of the interreligious meeting of Assisi on October 27 1986 - Piazza Inferiore of the Basilica of San Francesco – 06081 Assisi – (PG) – ITALY

Centro Astalli - JRS Jesuit Refugee Service in Italy - Via degli Astalli 14/a - 00186 Roma - ITALY




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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.