spread over 182 countries in all 5 continents. Their aim is to build a united world; they know this is not just a dream it is the future they want to build. Each one makes it a commitment and tries to bring it about in their daily life, at school, with their family, their friends and in their home town… This large movement of Youth for Unity started in 1984 around the Gen 3 of the Focolare Movement; they share the ideal of fraternity and try to make it happen by following all the possible ‘pathways’ that make barriers of hate and indifference fall.
They believe in Evangelical Love as a unique strength which can change the world, they try to live the Gospel and involve their friends and those around them. They are committed to living the Golden Rule ‘Do to others that whatever you would have them do to you’, a phrase that is found in the Bible and the sacred writings of the world religions and is a principal shared by many others. Living the Golden Rule in fact creates new relationships and helps each one to contribute, whilst being faithful to their own faith, to the fulfilment of peace and fraternity.
They give witness of a united world through the meetings they hold, special days and assemblies organised in schools, games, sports initiatives, actions for ecology, different types of demonstrations…. in all of these events they make good use of the language of music and speech, art in order to reach others in their age group.
They are committed to bring unity where they live by building bridges of unity with those who are different to them through diverse culture, age, religion; they meet with refugees and immigrants, try to have dialogue with all types of people and find a point of interest with each one to find that universal fraternity starts with personal awareness and building real relationships. One of the actions they have developed is known as ‘ColoriAMO la citta’ (Colour My City through Love) by doing practical help activities which promote fraternal love and through which they want to enliven and give colour to the ‘shadiest’ areas of their towns perhaps where there are high levels of poverty, loneliness and social exclusion. Their desire is to make their town a place where everyone can feel ‘at home’. They draw in their friends both of own their age and adult, their families and other organisations.
They are builders of peace, on a personal level and collectively, they take part in peace marches, they meet daily in the ‘Time-out’ – at 12 midday, Italian time, all the Youth for Unity give one minute of silence or prayer for peace in the world – they are activists in a whole range of localised and global initiatives for peace.
The live the culture of giving: they share what they have (material goods, talents, time) with the other Youth for Unity around the world; just as in a family those who have share with those in need. They have lots of ways of doing this but one particular event is the holding of Spring Fairs, selling their goods and products to raise money to support projects helping poor children in a range of countries.
With their project: Schoolmates they are making a network linking schools; there is a lively correspondence between schools around the globe sharing news and ideas to build a united world. Through a fund they are able to provide scholarships for some children in countries where there is war or great social and economic disadvantage.
How New Youth Developed
– 1984 Easter Sunday during a school of formation for Gen 3 Chiara Lubich sent a message inviting them to involve as many other youth as possible to help bring about a united world: this was the start of Youth for Unity.
– 1985 Chiara launched the ‘pathways for unity’ for all of them together with children in the world to build a united world; the first was the red pathway: a planetary communion of goods between all the youth for Unity to help those in greatest need and challenge inequality.
– 1987 the first Supercongress was held in Castelgandolfo (Rome): the world meeting of Youth for Unity.
– 1987 Youth for Unity presented a pledge with 147,000 signatures to the Summit of Leaders of the Great Religions for Peace in Kyoto, Japan. The signatures came from children from all over the world, it registered their commitment to build peace: so following their ‘yellow pathway’
– 1988 the European year of cinema and television. Youth for Unity launched ‘TV for a united world’. They handed to the European Commission for Cinema and TV, to the Council of Europe to the United Nations in New York a collection of 750,000 signatures from young people stating their support for media working to build a united world – this is theviolet pathway.
– 1990 the first Gulf War was raging when Time-out was proposed to the whole Focolare Movement. Since then the appointment is kept every day to give a minute of silence or prayer to ask for the end of all wars.
– 1992 there was a real upsurge in the numbers of Youth for Unity; the second Supercongress was a multiple event held in 9,000 venues across the globe spread and put into action everywhere.
– 1997 in the third Supercongress the action ‘joy now for everyone’ was started.
– 2000 on the tenth anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, youth from 40 nations took part in the first Conference of Children for the coming Generation and joined the dialogue on peace and unity in the new millennium. The end document, addressed to Heads of State, and undersigned by 2000,000 people from around the world was handed to the United Nations in New York.
– 2002 the fourth Supercongress brought thousands of young people flooding into Rome, and during the event at the Colosseum the 10,000 present showed their commitment to universal fraternity; the project Schoolmates within the indigo pathwaygot going.
– 2005 the green pathway opened up with the first Run4unity; a relay of sports events across the globe for peace.
– 2008 the second Run4unity event involved more than 100,000 young people from many cultures, races and religions showing their commitment to build united spread a symbolic rainbow of peace across the world. The event took in 300 cities and 87 countries.
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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