Father Paolo dall’Oglio
Father Paolo dall’Oglio joined the Jesuit Order in 1975. He trained in Italy and attended the University of Beirut. Dall’Oglio is known for having re-founded the Catholic-Syriac monastic community Mar Musa al-Habashi, or Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian, Syria, in the 1980s. Noted for his strong commitment to interreligious dialogue with the Islamic world, he proposed a peaceful solution to the challenges put forward by the popular uprisings in Syria, provoking the reaction of the regime of Bashar al-Assad in 2011. Dall’Oglio was always on the side of the young people of the Syrian Revolution in his local and international diplomatic efforts, defending the idea of a pluralist, democratic and peaceful Syria. In 2012, he was forced to leave Syria due to pressure and threats from the Syrian regime and later that year, he received the Italian Lombardy Region 2012 Peace Prize. On July 29, 2013, Paolo dall’Oglio was kidnapped during a mission in Raqqa, at which he tried to persuade ISIS members to free some Christian clerics being held by them. Since then, his tracks have been lost. SabirFest, the annual festival of Mediterranean culture and citizenship, was dedicated to him (2014-18).