It’s not every day that you go to a government ministry to receive official recognition. This is what happened to Youth People for a United World (Y4UW) in Hungary, after they had worked hard for a year in their own country to organize the Genfest. It was a huge event that from 31 August to 2 September 2012 drew together 12,000 young people from all over the world. Among them were 2000 from Hungary. Rita and Agoston, among the key figures, spoke of receiving the prize at the end of November.
What was the prize for? ‘At the beginning of October the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources sent us a message to say that, in recognition of our professionalism at the Genfest, the Focolare’s Young People for a United World was to be given a certificate of merit. We were surprised and happy at the news. It immediately spread to all the young people of the Movement. The minister, accepting our candidature, was recognizing the youth of the Focolare Movement and was giving us a prize. This took place on 20 November on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day.’
Someone within the ministry had nominated Y4UW. This person and the Minister of State for Social, Family and Youth Affairs, Miklós Soltész, had been at the opening of the Genfest. Rita and Agoston continued, ‘Both of them were struck by the dynamism, enthusiasm and sense of fraternity they experienced with the young people.’
On 20 November a delegation of five young people representing the Focolare and Y4UW went to the ministry. ‘The prizes, 14 in all, were given to organizations and persons who had done something special for children and youth. In his speech Miklós Soltész emphasized that all the prize winners were ‘examples’ who, with their activities, poetry and prose had educated young people and, through them, had also given help to parents, supporting them at critical moments.’
In the official citation, the youth section of the Focolare Movement received a certificate of merit for having put on the Genfest collectively, efficiently, professionally and in a way that was effective and exemplary in the youth sector. For Y4UW this contained a pleasant surprise, ‘We really liked hearing that word “collectively”, because it showed us that there was an understanding of our intention of building universal brotherhood by living the spirituality of unity.’
After the Genfest, new prospects have opened up for young people in Hungary, especially with regard to the United World Project: ‘After the ceremony the Minister of State said again how, at a personal level, that international meeting had been an important experience. He said that he hoped in the future to work together with us for the good of young people. We gave him as a gift a copy of Új Város [the Focolare Movement’s magazine in Hungarian] which contained articles on the Genfest.’
Rita and Agoston concluded by saying, ‘Now, together with many young people who’ve worked with us in the last few years, we will carry along the way of building a more united world “together”, as highlighted by the prize’s official citation.’