Genfest: Barriers and rejections are not the final word

The main topic for the world meeting of Focolare Youth will be personal, social and political borders. This event which will take place in Manila, the Philippines from 6-8 July 2018 will be broadcast through live streaming.

The Focolari Youth have opted for the important theme of borders – hence the title “Beyond all borders” – for the world event that will be held in Manila from 6 to 8 July. They want to invite for a brave change of outlook on peoples, cultures and economies. They claim that a radical change is needed in such times of exasperation of particularisms and social closures.

Born in 1973 from an idea of Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolari, the Genfest arrives at its eleventh edition; for the first time it will be held outside Europe. It will take place in the capital city of the Philippines from 6 to 8 July and 6,000 young people, aged 18 to 30 years, are expected to attend. Thousands of others will participate in the other 23 local editions that are being prepared.

They would like individuals and our nations to look beyond their personal, cultural, religious and political boundaries, to meet others and  let themselves be contaminated by diversity.The Genfest will be a unique laboratory in the world: those who will take part in it will find the necessary instruments to change themselves and their environment. As Pope Francis augured during his recent visit to Loppiano, they will be able to change “I” into “we”.

A lot of space will be given to experiences: gestures of help and reconciliation in situations of conflict; supporting and welcoming people that live in refugee camps; commitment to a new way of doing politics, dialogue between different religions, etc.

On July 7, in the afternoon, the Genfest is proposing the activity: Hands forHumanity. Those present will be able to partcipate in any one of 12 activities of solidarity and urban redevelopment that will be organized in different parts of Manila.

The Explo (an acronym composed by the words “Exposition” and Exploration”) leads the visitor through an immersive sensorial experience of the history of humanity, from the perspective of universal fraternity.

There will be 110 forums and workshops on key issues about the construction of open and supportive societies: from urban cleaning techniques and care of the territory, to social enterprise forms, to the management of personal and political conflicts, to the use of social media for peace, and much more.

Follow the Genfest

It will be possible to follow the live streaming, broadcast in English with translations in French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish through the Youth for a United World website:

Timetable live streaming (Manila time, UTC/GMT +8 ore):

6 July: 16-18:30 e 20-21:45

7 July: 17:45-18:45 e 20-21:45

8 July: 10:30-13

Social media regarding the event:

Facebook: o @genfest

Twitter: o @genfest_en


Youtube: genfest-official or


Press release – July 8, 2018

Press release – June 26, 2018

Genfest Programme

Youth for a United World

Genfest at Manila

What is the Genfest

Photo Album


630 girls, aged 9 to 14 years, members of the Focolare Community and hailing from 17 different countries, discuss the Zero Hunger Goal at the FAO headquarters in Rome.

Today’s youth can become the first generation that will manage to eradicate hunger in the world. This is indicated by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals approved by the 193 United Nations Member States on September 25, 2015. The Member States agreed on the commitment to implement these goals within 15 years (2015-2030), and the “Zero Hunger Goal” is at the heart of the whole programme. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is very keen on achieving these objectives, so 630 young girls, aged 9 to 14 years, were gladly welcomed at its headquarters in Rome.  This group of girls that belong to the Focolare Movement visited FAO on June 22, 2018.

It was the first time that the Movement’s young generations, who owe their origin to Chiara Lubich, were favoured with such an opportunity, that thrilled not only the girls seated in the prestigious plenary hall, but also FAO. “I’m so pleased to see this hall so full of young women”, commented Marcela Villareal, the FAO director for the division of partnerships and South-South cooperation. “I’ve been working here at FAO for more than 20 years and I have delivered many speeches in this hall, but I’ve never seen it so beautiful, so full of young ladies. Thank you for your all support towards the Zero Hunger goal”.

The Focolare youth, scattered all over the world, can give a strong personal daily contribution towards the achievement of the Zero Hunger goal.

Clara Velez, Head of the FAO office for the dissemination of promotional activities confirmed: “On October 16, representatives from all countries will be seated in this same hall and they will be given the book you have received today.This book explains how we can combat hunger through our daily actions. The passport on its last page entitles you to become the first Zero Hunger citizens, with rights and duties that need to be respected”.

But what are the duties of Zero Hunger citizens?

Laura Hernandez from the FAO office for dissemination and promotional activities maintained: “One third of the food produced in the world is wasted and thrown away. I’m convinced that you do not want to participate in this scandal. There are certain things we can do at home. For example, when food is left over, one can freeze it or eat it the next day. When we go to a restaurant and do not manage to finish eating all the food, we can consume it later at home.

Another important and precious commodity is water. We must not waste water, so the tap should be closed while we brush our teeth. And mum and dad should be reminded to use the dishwasher at full capacity.

Finally even the girls voiced their thoughts. Elena and Agnes, who represented them said: “We are very honoured and happy to be here. From now on we will definitely contribute towards this goal with greater enthusiasm. We do feel part of the zero hunger generation.

And what a great dream it is to immagine a world without hunger, even thanks to our contribution towards it! We are so happy to collaborate with FAO, because it is only by joining forces that we can manage to achieve such a high goal as Zero Hunger by 2030”.

Focolare children and teenagers in 11 countries have been gathering ideas to try and find out how the problem of world hunger can be solved.

“Our three H motto: head, heart and hands originated from these ideas, and our Commitment Statement came into being. Head for us means that we have to inform ourselves and study the problem both at a global and local level. Heart means that we that we have to make ourselves and others aware, and involve as many people as possible to achieve our goal. Then we need to act, so we have to make use of our hands”.

At the end of their visit, the girls handed over their Commitment Statement .to FAO and there was the symbolic gesture of the passport: the girls wrote their commitments on this small document and signed it. They became the first #Zero Hunger citizens.

Lorenzo Russo

Press release

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