LoppianoLab 2014, a review

20141006-01Economics, gender, education, family, immigration and interculturalism, gambling, reforms and political participation; companies that “prefer” the poor to making a profit, these were among the topics touched upon in the 15 workshops held at LoppianoLab, from October 3 to 5. On the issue of gender, space was given not only to reflect on this burning issue, but especially to the sharing of stories, sufferings and experiences, in an effort to stimulate dialogue between the different sensibilities. With regard to gambling, reference was made to the more than 60 cities reached by a Movement known as Slotmob, in support of managers of bars and public places that have rejected slot machines and of numerous social and cultural initiatives for the rehabilitation of people, places and communities from this scourge. On the economic front, the Virtual Expo and Convention of the Economy of Communion have allowed a real national map to be drawn of the companies that belong to the EOC. In addition, at the Lionello Bonfanti industrial park, a project called  “Tuscany towards Expo 2015” is starting in collaboration with the Region of Tuscany: a series of preparatory events on issues of the common good, from biodiversity and forms of enterprise, to civil economy and public happiness.

20141006-05A Workshop of the Economy of Communion, a Seminar on Political Formation run by the Movement for Unity in Politics, and the proposals of the Sophia University, showed the commitment of the many young people present at LoppianoLab to build networks across the country not only with institutions and the world of politics, but also with the world of business and work. “Only a society where we return to trust each other can be correctly defined civil; only then can we say to one another: ‘it doesn’t matter where you come from, as long as we can go forward together’,” the editor of Citta Nuova, Luca Gentile stated.

20141006-02There was an unexpected number of participants at the 3 days of LoppianoLab: 3000, in fact, registered. Among these was the premier Matteo Renzi, who stopped off at the Focolare town during the celebration for its 50th anniversary to “bring the esteem, the friendship and the closeness of all the Italian institutions.” The Prime Minister brought attention to three issues: unity, first of all, which he defined as a “political choice with a capital ‘P’,” “a great political challenge that arises from an extraordinary intuition.” The entrepreneurial industrial park and challenge of the Economy of Communion, which constitute “a new model for the economy, an economic paradigm for our time”, in which “there is need to reflect on how the crisis has changed our production and employment system.” Finally, recalling the definition of Loppiano by the scientist Ugo Amaldi (“City of trust”), Renzi stressed how much there is a need for trust today: “Trust which has not only been lost in interpersonal relationships, but especially in the future.”

While acceptance, dialogue and care of education to generate the common good – not only of Italy, but of humanity – are the points raised in the video message of Pope Francis, a real surprise for the inhabitants of the town and all the participants at LoppianoLab with his wish to “look forward and aim high with confidence, courage and imagination.”

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