ABSTRACT

As has already been indicated in Chapter 3, Pax Romana has been chosen as the second case of the present analyses in order to add a number of new dimensions to the analysis of the first three decades of RNGO activities in the context of the UN. As in the case of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs/CCIA, Pax Romana was among the first religiously affiliated organizations to formally cooperate with the UN. From the mid-1940s onwards, it developed into one of the most active RNGOs, thus providing detailed insights into this crucial period of religiously affiliated activities in international relations. In addition to this, Pax Romana also brings a number of new aspects to the present analysis. Being an umbrella organization of national confederations of Roman Catholic students, Pax Romana adds not only a Catholic but also a primarily European, and youth-and education-related dimension to the following considerations. With regard to this most general characterization, Pax Romana’s earliest history can be traced back to a number of conferences among Catholic students that took place around the turn of the twentieth century.1 Three years after the end of World War I, representatives of Catholic student organizations from predominantly South and East European countries revived this earlier tradition. They organized a gathering in Fribourg, Switzerland, that finally established a loosely structured cooperation of national student associations centred around an ‘International Cooperation Office’ to foster the idea of Roman peace (i.e. Pax Romana):

A l’unanimité, les délégués des associations catholiques d’étudiants, réunis à Fribourg, le 20 juillet 1921, décident la fondation d’un ‘Bureau international catholique d’information et de liaison’, qui adopte pour devise les mots PAX ROMANA et dont la direction sera assurée par la réunion périodique du Conseil des délégués. Ces associations s’engagent à soutenir le bureau moralement et matériellement.2