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In 2023, the CISP celebrates its forty years of activity. Forty years of development, emergency and humanitarian aid projects, of commitment, professionalism and search for possible solutions, forging partnerships and alliances with countless people, entities, institutions in Italy and in the more than 30 countries where we have worked and are still working. An fascinating story that began in 1983 on the initiative of 28 young people of different origins and backgrounds, but linked by common experiences of social and political commitment in the complex realities of  schools and neighbourhoods in Rome at the end of the 70s. In a geopolitical context completely different from the current one, with the Italian Cooperation still in its infancy, we were driven by the ambition to make a new contribution to the national and international scenario of development cooperation.

Driven by the conviction that there is no possible development without justice, without recognition of rights, without the participation and inclusion of marginalized people, our intention was to seek operational ways to support the processes of strengthening the right to health, education, a healthy and safe environment and a decent income. The awareness of the complexity of development processes, acquired over the years, has led us to also commit ourselves to other frontiers of rights: The right to protection of children and adolescents; the right to protection against all forms of violence and exploitation of women; the right to the inclusion of every person without distinction of sex, religious belief, condition of disability, nationality. Over time, we have learned the importance of the role of culture in building sustainable development processes; we have acquired the ability to delve deeper into the socio-economic dynamics of countries, to innovate and learn to value local skills; we understood the close relationship between development and peace, aware that in many countries there is no development if the democratic processes of dialogue and trust building between citizens and institutions are not supported; the importance of combining presence in the field and contribution to the development of policies to be proposed to decision-makers; the need to support the formation of local management groups capable of governing development processes in line with human development;…

Faced with the failure of international diplomacy, we have chosen to continue to support refugee populations or those fleeing war and violence through humanitarian action and in the search for more spaces for development.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridges, and it is inevitable to look back and wonder what fruits the many words, intentions, programs, concrete actions carried out have yielded; and what has been done, what remains, what needs to be left behind and what needs to be confirmed for the future.

The underlying reasons remained the same. However, CISP has been enriched over the years with many skills and expertise in Italy and abroad, its scope of intervention has expanded in size and depth. It will therefore not be easy to give an account of this story, which unfolds over many years during which the situation around us has changed profoundly and is articulated in an engagement in many different sectors and geographical areas.

In these pages we try to tell, certainly in a fragmentary way, the history of the CISP and its evolution over time until today. A look at the past to continue the journey towards the future.

"We haven't changed the world, but certainly the lives of many people yes" (quoted by Paolo Dieci)

"Happy Anniversary CISP!"