Shared commitment to peace. This triggered an immediate understanding between the delegation from Youth for a United World (YUW) and Nobel 1987 Peace Prize recipient and the then president of Costa Rica. Arias had been visiting Rome to attend a Community of St. Egidio conference on the United Nation’s Arms Trade Treaty, and an audience with Pope Francis.
The purpose of the meeting was to find forms of collaboration with the Arias Foundation for peace and human development , since the YUW already work for peace and brotherhood. The young people who were present at the meeting from several nations recounted the history of their efforts for peace, beginning from the 350 thousand signatures they collected during the Cold War and handed over to embassies of the of the USSR and the United States in Geneva, Switzerland (November 1985). They went on to present the Time Out launched by Chiara Lubich in September 1990 during the Persian Gulf Crisis; the UNESCO Award for Educating for Peace; the 2012 Genfest in Budapest, Hungary where the United World Project was launched; and the recent meeting between Maria Voce and the Focolare communities of the Middle East that was held in Amman, Jordan, and followed by the concert for peace held by YUW from regions where there is conflict.
The Nobel laureat presented to the young people what the Arias Foundation for peace and human development has achieved from its beginnings, its current challenges and future dreams. For example, since there are so many war museums, why not build a Peace Museum? Moreover, Sanchez proposed collaborating with the recently approved UN Arms Trade Treaty that is aimed at putting an end to the marketing of small arms which, in his opinion, are the cause of most of fatalities worldwide.
Basing himself on his own experience as President of a nation that by constitution does not have a military army, he affirmed that the reduction of arms would allow many countries to share economic resources that could then be allocated to finding solutions to social problems, such as access to education, health care, protection of the environment and, not least of all, the drama of world poverty. In conclusion he underscored the need for young people be deeply involved in their education so that they will be prepared to create a culture of peace and brotherhood, because: “in a world where egoism and greed seem to prevail, young people are the first ones being called upon to engage new values within society, such as solidarity, suffering together, generosity and love.”
“Before saying goodbye to us,” Olga from Costa Rica recounts, “he wished to personally adhere to our project (UWP) by signing the commitment statement to live the culture of fraternity, uniting himself to the 62,000 other signees from around the world.” “It doesn’t happen every day that you meet someone of this level,” added Iggy from New Zealand: “cultured and pragmatic, but also very simple. I felt very much at home with him.” The conversation went on for an hour, during which many projects and goals were shared.
The next big event for the Youth for a United World is the Youth Forum at UNESCO in October 2013. “It will be a training course in which our ideal of fraternity will be presented and explained” says one of the youths who will be representing the Youth for a United World, the youth section of the New Humanity Movement.