Peace, legality, human rights: the focolare youth’s commitment for 2020

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#intimeforpeace is the hashtag that expresses the Focolare youth’s commitment for the coming year. Programmes for campuses, workshops and courses in different parts of the world, starting from Loppiano (Italy), are already focusing on it.

During the past year, until May 2019, the Focolare youth concentrated on promoting and contributing towards a more humane economy, one of communion that pledges attention to people in need. During the last couple of months they have also started to focus on various fields of justice, because Economy and Justice are the first two steps in Pathways for a United World: a global strategy proposed by Youth for a United World (Y4UW) as a commitment to address the challenges our world has to face. In this project there are six different pathways, one for each year, and as one of the organizers explained: “Each year we focus on a different challenge without neglecting our previous commitments. Our commitment ranges from economy to politics, from justice to art, from dialogue between cultures to sport, and we promote actions, collaborations and projects based on fraternity and geared towards a local impact that aims at a global change”.

The motto “In time for peace” marks the commitment for the coming year, which ends at Korea during the first week of May 2020. During the coming months, the Gen and Y4UW will be offered opportunities where they can train, study in depth and exchange ideas on themes that deal with justice, peace, legality and rights.

The Summer School, held in Loppiano from 7 to 22 July, proved to be a very significant opportunity. The 40 young participants came from various countries, that included Korea, Hong Kong, Malta, Scotland, Italy, Brazil, Cuba, Myanmar, Poland and Colombia.

Maria Giovanna Rigatelli, a lawyer involved in “Communion and Law”, who participated as an expert, highlighted the importance of similar experiences, opportunities for young people to immerse themselves both in the cultural heritage and in the historical wounds of the different peoples they come into contact with. “The world’s situation reveals lack of knowledge about the values of human rights. The school made us become more aware of the importance of personal commitment to contribute, for example, in dramatic situations like that of the two Koreas or Hong Kong. Through our commitment, we can be a light that shines in many parts of the world”.

Y, a young girl from Korea said: “Our nation is divided into two and there are many wounds that do not justify this division. To have peace we must learn to dialogue. During this school I thought: if we continue to love, to love, to love, maybe at the end we will be able to reunite the two Koreas”.

D. explained: “Before I came here, so many things were happening in Hong Kong, and I started to think that, maybe, at times the use of violence is necessary and that peace might not be the only remedy to solve the problems. I felt very frustrated. But after the experience I have lived here and all that I have heard about peace, I now feel so happy. During this year, as young people, we will go deeper and live in the “pathway” dedicated to human rights, justice and peace. So I question myself: how can I say that it is good to use violence, when so many people are wounded and killed? Here, I have learned how to love others and how to focus on love among us. I know it’s difficult to walk in the path of peace, but I think we should try to achieve it without using violence. When I return home, I want to make use of what I’ve learned and experienced in Loppiano so that I can love people in Hong Kong, even the ones I hate”.

Stefania Tanesini

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