May 1st, 2013 marked the conclusion of a project that the youth of the Focolare began last August at their youth festival called Genfest – an international festival which gathered 12,000 young people from all over the world and presented the challenge to everyone to build bridges of peace, solidarity, action and a world project. This project is called the United World Project. Its goal is to gather evidence of big and small Fragments of Fraternity which are opportunities of concrete action from helping out in the neighborhood to assisting in a natural disaster, from social projects to smaller works that can be done anywhere.
The event was entitled “Crossin’ The Bridge” and was held in Jerusalem. When asked why Jerusalem the members of Youth for a United World replied “the greatest desire of the youth is to witness universal brotherhood wherever they are. Therefore why not Jerusalem? It is a city of contrasts and divisions but also the cradle of an ancient culture, minglings of people and religions, and ever since its existence, has been called to be a city of peace.”
Aurora Bottacci and Luca Filisetti, heading the organizing committee explained the event saying: “the message that we want to convey is simple and demanding at the same time: to make great gestures of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness that involve groups, a whole people or nations, we need to start ourselves to build a bridge to those who are next to us. Then the circle will enlarge. It’s not impossible. It’s enough to begin.”
The May 1st event was streamed live on the internet and transmitted via satellite. 250 were present representing 25 nationalities and from different religions. It was preceded by a week filled with tours, workshops, conferences and concerts in and around the Holy Land.
Before concluding the live transmission, an olive tree was planted as a sign of brotherhood in the park that will be built in the place where the event took place!
The week in the Holy Land comes to an end, but the United World Project is just beginning!