Professor Diogo Freitas do Amaral passed away on the 3rd of October 2019 and the European Network of Places of Peace at its first meeting on a European scale after his death unanimously decided to grant him the title of Honorary Member of the Association, posthumously .
He was a Licentiate and a Doctorate in Law specialized in Administrative Law and Political Science from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon, and a Cathedratic Professor in the Faculty of Law at the New University of Lisbon and was also a publicist. In 1974, some months after the Carnation Revolution, he was one of the Founders and President of then Democratic and Social Centre (CDS), a right-wing party. He led this party till 1985, and again from 1988 to 1991. He served as a Deputy to the Assembly of the Republic (the Portuguese parliament) from 1975 to 1982 or 1983, and again in 1992 and 1993. He was also a Member of the Portuguese Council of State between 1974 and 1982. In the parliamentary elections of 1979 and 1980, the Democratic Alliance (of which the CDS was a part) won a majority and formed the government, in which Freitas served as Deputy Prime Minister or Vice-Prime-Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1980 and Deputy Prime Minister or Vice-Prime-Minister and Minister of Defence between 1981 and 1983. After the death of Francisco Sá Carneiro, Freitas do Amaral was interim Prime Minister for a short period between 1980 and 1981. Between 1981 and 1982 he was also the President of the European People’s Party. He was a candidate in 1985 for the presidency in the 1986 presidential election. Supported by his own People’s Party and by the Social Democratic Party, he established a commanding lead in the first round, but lost the second round by some 150,000 votes to Mário Soares, who was endorsed by the two eliminated candidates. He was President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1995 and until 1996.
Professor Diogo Freitas do Amaral was an enthusiastic supporter of the project to create the European Network of Places of Peace since its beggining and later in its development and expansion phase:
– In December 2007, he was the main speaker for the 1st Conference on Peace organized in Évora Monte (Portugal) by Evoramonte Castle Friendship Association and attended by a delegation of Hubertusburg Castle Friendship Association (Germany) and which constituted the first step towards the constitution of ENPP;
– In 2008 and 2009, he supported and advised the elaboration of the general principles and specific objectives of the Network which were the basis for the elaboration of the Statutes of ENPP;
– On May 28, 2010, he participated in the association’s constitution and public deed ceremony during which he delivered an important conference on the culture of peace in the world, the importance of the peace treaties and their historical memory;
– In the following years, he closely followed the development of the Network and its expansion to other places and countries and only the health problems that had already hindered him in the meantime prevented him from participating more actively in the Association’s public initiatives;
– At the beginning of 2018, having heard of the highly negative report of the “expert” appointed by the Council of Europe on the Places of Peace Route, he drafted an Opinion on that report on his own initiative and at no cost to the Association and used his influence at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, actions that played a major role in the favorable decision to the Route taken at the meeting of the Government of the EPA on Cultural Routes of 18 and 19 April 2018.