Make food, not war.
“Lebanon? Well, Lebanon is a real case-study of the world of the twenty-first century. In today’s world, information, ideas and people move incredibly fast, and the consequence is that even in those countries where there used to be a clear distinction between majority and minorities, the ‘other’, the ‘different’ is now more and more present. And, you see, Lebanon has always been like that: we are a country that has no majority and no minorities. We’re half Christians, half Muslims; half people looking to the sea, half people looking to the mountains...”.
Kamal Mouzawak, entrepreneur, activist and food and travel writer, tells me about his country over the phone, while the sounds of Beirut traffic echo in the background. So what’s life like in a country like that? Here, like elsewhere, the key is in the way one chooses to look at diversity.
“Either we’re going to be afraid of one another, and go on killing each other like we did for such a long time, or at one point we’re going to stop and think”. Think about whether differences in political views, religious beliefs or ethnicity should really have the final word, or whether, beyond all that, there is something that unites the Lebanese people. For Kamal, the son of farmers and producers, the answer is in the land itself: “we all live on the same land, and we make the same agriculture and the same cuisine out of it”.
In 2004, Kamal’s intuition and his love of the land and its people pushed him into launching Souk el Tayeb – a market, but not just any market. This is the ‘Good Market’ (in Arabic, souk means market and tayeb means good, both in taste and in character), a place where, between a piece of thyme and sesame bread and a spoonful of orange blossom honey, a united nation is built. After all, what speaks better of a nation than its own food?
The Project of the Youth for a United World of the Philippines and the long Christmas tradition of the Archipelago.
You must know that Christmas in the Philippines is a special and very, very long season! The countdown begins on September 1st and continues during the so-called "Ber Months", the months whose name end with "-ber", i.e. the last four of the calendar (September, October, November, and December). This long countdown, marked by community spirit, solidarity, exchange of gifts, and Christmas songs, makes the Christmas season in the Philippines the longest in the world.
The "Noche Buena Project," promoted by the Youth for a United World of the Archipelago, fits in this tradition from its name, which is the same used to define the party or dinner organized by the families to celebrate Christmas Eve, around midnight.
Karelle, one of the promoters of the Project, explains:"It all began in 2009, when we were hit by the Ondoy Typhoon. We started the Noche Buena Project to spread the joy of Christmas and reach even the families in dire poverty, the communities in the poorest areas of the country, patients in public hospitals, and indigenous people."
Gennaro Giudetti's commitment in international volunteering to bring back a humane approach where it is denied.
Gennaro Giudetti is 27 years old, he is from Taranto and along with the crew of the Sea Watch 3 ship of the Sea Watch NGO, on November 6th he took part in the rescue of 58 migrant shipwrecked persons in the Mediterranean Sea, 30 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, in international waters, while Libya's Coast Guard, that was already at the site, was hindering rescue operations.
The “Vita” newspaper published a touching article reporting the event. Impressed by his interview and by the intense passion he clearly has for his volunteering engagement, we reached him on the phone as he arrived at Pozzallo, Sicily, still aboard Sea Watch 3, along with the shipwrecked persons who had been saved with his help.
An invitation to restart our world.
On 23 and 24 September, the young people living in the Mariapolis Lia, in the Province of Buenos Aires, organized their annual "Youth Festival" attended by more than 1000 young people from all over Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The motto of the Festival was: "Restart your world, you have the control".
Also this year, our young people were the organizers and promoters of the Festival. They chose the content, the scenography, the music, the dances and, above all, the core message of the meeting.
Every day we come in contact with people and stories that strike us because of their commitment to the common good, to openness, dialogue, to the fight against poverty, and any kind of inequality; people and stories that in a small (or big!) way contribute to building a more united world. Tell us about your #UnitedWorldProject story!
Antonella is a choreographer who believes that dancing can help bring harmony among peoples; so, together with her students, she founded an association that promotes dance camps in Tuscany (Italy) and the Holy Land. Carlos is a teacher from Uruguay who came up with an educational method and project to promote a culture of peace in schools and informal educational contexts. Myriam is a young Lebanese woman who, with her community, welcomes Syrian and Iraqi refugees fleeing from war. Steve, from the Mundo Mejor Foundation, strives with his co-workers every day to achieve the social inclusion of poor people in Medellin, Colombia. Nazieh is a Syrian young man who stayed in his country despite the war and, with his friends, is helping rebuild homes and squares ravaged by bombs.
What do they all share? These are the stories that are told on our website every week, because in a small or big way they contribute to creating a more united world.
COLOMBIA - Education and employment: two slogans for integral development in a suburban "barrio".
Steve is a tall guy with a kind face, someone people would call a “good giant.” He may look shy, but when he opens his mouth and starts talking about the “Fundación Mundo Mejor” (Better World Foundation), he never stops. This story began in 1994, in the second most populous city of Colombia, Medellin.
“It is a very sport-loving city, perhaps the sportiest city in Colombia" - says Steve - "because many of the national sports champions are from here, and because, perhaps as a consequence of the latter, there is no street in town without kids running through it after a ball.”
Medellin is also a wounded city, a symbol of drug-dealing and its disastrous human, social, and economic repercussions. It was in this city that during his recent visit Pope Francis spoke heart to heart to the Church in Colombia with a message that was also addressed to the rest of the Continent and, of course, to Europe. In his long speech, the Pope urged everyone to find the courage to change things: “We must never be afraid of renewal.”
The fifth edition of the Sports for Peace football tournament, an initiative geared towards building peace and harmony among the pastoral communities of Marsabit County, took place in August 2017 in Marsabit, Northern Kenya. The aim of the tournament was to bring together communities that have been experiencing inter-ethnic wars.
Born in a pastoralist community which has experienced inter-ethnic clashes and cattle rustling for many years, and having seeing many of his colleagues die fighting for their community, Johnstone Ndumba deeply thought of how he could be involved in building lasting peace in his community. Johnstone adopted the idea of sports among the youth, an avenue that he has been using to speak about peace. Peace that he thinks can lead to unity and cohesion among all the communities living in the region.
We reached in Portugal, via Skype, Carlos Palma, President of the Youth World Peace Forum, to learn about the prospects of peace open from the third edition of the Forum that ended in Madaba, Jordan, on September 25, 2017. The projects being promoted include a protocol for the dissemination of a culture of peace, "The Charta Peace".
"Let us begin with the camp: there were 100 young people coming from 30 countries, some thirty of whom came from various cities in Syria, from Baghdad, and from the Palestine... With all of them, as you said, we lived this experience of the work camp for Iraqi and Syrian refugees. We visited and repaired their homes, while listening not without emotion to their stories, strongly marked by traumatic events, by physical and psychological wounds. We played with their children, we worked with some of them who are mosaicists and survive only through the sale of their small works of art, while waiting to leave Jordan heading to other countries. This experience has disclosed us a daily reality of refugees that is very different from what reported by the media. Their stories, often very hard, have sparked in us very deep emotions! I can say in the name of everyone that the encounter with these people has marked our lives forever!"
2012 - 2016 United World Project - Youth for a United World (New Humanity)
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