Caring for the planet, for our societies, for the common home where humanity lives, is the central theme of the next United World Week, from 1 to 8 May. Global events and actions for peace and fraternity with a focus on the Middle East.
From 1 to 8 May, the “United World Week” will take place on all five continents, eight days promoted by the communities of the Focolare Movement around the world, involving professionals, families and institutions in actions for peace, fraternity and unity. Eight days to sensitise the world public opinion on the attention to people and their needs, on the urgency of an ecological conversion. «Care» is thus understood as attention and action and becomes the privileged means to build new interpersonal relationships and between peoples and nations for peace.
The Middle East, with its riches and contradictions, will be the beating heart of the Week this year, with contributions from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan: a geographical area whose inhabitants are well aware of the tragedy of war, and therefore know more than others how to work for peace and unity, at this time so threatened also in Europe. The Middle East is also a place where working for integral ecology is becoming increasingly important in order to rebuild a reality where social unease is very strong.
There will be many local actions, some of international importance, during these days: starting on Sunday 1 May, at 1.00 p.m., with live worldwide streaming on www.unitedworldproject.org: in-depth analysis, experiences, connections from the world, projects on how the different continents are preparing to live this week
Other appointments: in Johannesburg on 7 May an action will have place aiming to care for the environment by cleaning a deprived area. In Bolivia, a group of young people will deliver school supplies to a small school in the Bolivian Highlands at 3900 m above sea level, an example of integral promotion of care for the person. In Italy, in Loppiano (FI) there will be the usual appointment on 1 May, with the event entitled “Recharge” and then there will be meetings and forums on dialogue, peace and care for the planet; the calendar is available on the United World Project web page.
On Sunday 8 May the United World Week will be closed by launching the commitment for the next year, linked to the campaign #daretocare and the world sports relay “Run4Unity“: boys and girls from different ethnic groups, cultures and religions will run together from 11:00 to 12:00 (in different time zones) to witness their commitment to peace and to promote a tool to achieve it: the golden rule.
1995, United World Week was born in 1995, the Youth for a United World proposed to dedicate one week a year to involve public opinion more actively aiming to a united world. They were at a Genfest, one of the Focolare Movement’s typical youth meetings, which had brought thousands of young people from all over the world to Rome. Not even a year had passed since the end of one of the bloodiest genocides of the 20th century, the one in Rwanda in the conflict between Hutus and Tutsis. In Europe, in the Balkans, bombs were still being thrown and even then, fraternity might have seemed absurd, while the young people at Genfest were trying to understand what that proposal was, what they should do from then on.
In the following weeks the answer came by living. The first thing needed, in fact, was to deepen and give continuity to all the activities that the Focolare communities were already carrying out with courage and, in some cases, even silently, to support the journey towards unity in the most different contexts: in neighbourhoods, in schools, in workplaces, in situations of fragility and neglect, even in conflicts, yes, even in those years, making a proposal to cities, institutions, the media, to promote unity and peace at every level, and together with all people animated by the same principles and objectives.
This has been the case over the last 27 years, with young people and, together with them, families, professionals, committed adults and politicians. This will also be the case for the United World Week 2022, which will tell the story of all these initiatives, with a special focus on those that have taken place in the last year.
The #daretocare, dare to care campaign
David Sassoli (1956-2022), the former president of the European Parliament – recently deceased, said to young people on the occasion of the United World Week 2021:
“I believe that this is a work of civil pedagogy that in some way should concern us, it concerns politicians, institutions but also the whole important world of European associationism. I believe that you in particular are in a privileged position, because you have already defined not only that it is important to take care of others, but also to take care to improve the living conditions of others”.
This is the ‘care’ that the world needs and that even in this particular moment history needs in every continent, and which will also be the focus of the 2022-2023 campaign.
The campaign will also focus on the 2022-2023 campaign, starting with the latest news from Ukraine, where the communities present in spite of everything continue to be protagonists of small and large gestures of fraternity and to work for dialogue with everyone. “Promoting dialogue at all costs, even in the small things in life: asking ourselves and making discernment in the face of every difficult situation: can I create panic, more division, or do I act for dialogue? – said Mira Milavec, a local Caritas worker -. For communicating vessels, what you experience is good for me too, for us who in these moments, without knowing whether we will live again or not, think twice about what to say and what to do. Above all, about what remains. And in the end it remains that we are brothers. There is nothing else now”.