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Youth for a United World
Young people were always present and actively involved in the Focolare Movement ever since its beginnings. But their specific place in the Movement began to emerge in 1967 when Chiara Lubich launched her motto: “Youths of the world, unite!” that laid the groundwork for the youth movements of the Focolare: the Gen Movementin 1968 and Youth for a United World in 1985.
Young people between the ages of 17 and 30, scattered across five continents, of different ethnic groups, nationalities and cultures have been responding to her call up to the present day. They belong to various Christian denominations, different religions, or do not profess a religious belief, but they all are united by the desire to build a more united world: to make humankind more and more into a single family, where the personal identity of every individual is honored.
They strive in many ways to build universal brotherhood, to heal the divisions that exist within families, between generations, between different social groups, etc.
They are engaged in international campaigns in support of peace and fraternity in local and global public events, such as Genfest, which give testimony, that it is possible to live as brothers and sisters. They are also engaged in simple gestures of solidarity and dialogue with those close to them on a daily basis: the needy and marginalized, acquaintances and family. In each of these neighbors they try to see a brother or a sister to welcome.
Their way of living has given rise to many types of activities – from small projects in response to emergency situations, such as helping people in nations that have been affected by natural disaster or war, to the numerous seeds of brotherhood, wherein young people are engaged in on-going local projects in favour of the most needy, like street children and the homeless, the elderly and the abandoned, prisoners and immigrants – everything that their imaginations can come up with to help in healing the wounds of the society in which they live.
They also involve other institutions in their work, especially during United World Week, a week during which all the Youth for a United World intensify their activity in order to make an impact on public opinion in their countries and to give witness that you can live to build a united world, making humanity more and more into a family. The United World Week takes place annually since 1996. It proposes to cities and institutions the promotion of peace and unity at every level. Though promoted by young people, it is open to any person animated by the same principles and objectives.
This cultural trend gradually penetrates into the world of youth, who are called to face the numerous challenges brought by relativism and individualism.
The Youth for a United World do not live for brotherhood only through social projects, but also in their own personal lives.
Those who are Christian among them find, in their daily lives, an opportunity to consolidate the choice of Jesus as their model and the Gospel as their code of life. Those who belong to other religions welcome the ideal of a united world, finding continual encouragement by faithfully reflecting the doctrines of their faiths in their personal lives. Those young people with non-religious convictions follow the golden rule, which invites them to do to others as we would like done to us, and they highlight the absolute value of the human person.
They are aware that the unity they believe in and live for is not a mere human project, but the plan of God for humanity: “That all may be one” (John 17:21).
At the end of March, young people from the United World Project GB met for the second time following an initial meeting in London in November 2018. This time, they headed north to sunny Glasgow (yes, it really was sunny!) to build on the project, progress with new ideas and spend time with each other.
United World Week 2019 will take place from May 1 to 7. It is an event organised by Teens for Unity, Youth for a United World, New Humanity, Parish and Diocesan Movements of the Focolare, in collaboration with the Economy of Communion and with other groups, movements, associations, as well as national and international institutions.
International performing group Gen Verde will soon be arriving in the UK on the next stage of their European tour. Sally McAllister works with the group both artistically and supporting the practical elements of the tour. She took some time out of their busy schedule to answer some questions, and to talk about why the group are excited to be returning to Britain.
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