Chantal Grevin, "ambassador" of the NGO New Humanity to UNESCO, shared with us something about her life, her work, and a new proposal for the United World Week.
"From my window everything looks white," Chantal Grevin tells me via Skype, with her beautiful French accent. "A lot of snow has come down, mixed with ice." Chantal lives with her family in Arny, in the French Citadel of the Focolare Movement, 35 km south of Paris. In a few days, she will turn 69 and she is preparing to celebrate her birthday with her family - her husband, their four children, and their eight grandchildren.
Chantal is a jurist and, for many years, she has been working in her local city hall as a citizen rights consultant. Since 2008, she has been the lead representative of New Humanity, the NGO inspired by the values, culture, and life of the Focolare Movement (Movimento dei Focolari), to UNESCO.
Chantal Grevin, first representative of the NGO New Humanity, participated in the 39th Session of UNESCO Member States General Conference in Paris, where she presented some good practices proposed by the Youth for a United World in the fight against violent extremism, and for the promotion of peace.
«Since 2012, UNESCO has developed in its programs a conceptual tool with enormous potential: global citizenship. Just as UNESCO had the audacity in 1978 to speak of the "world heritage of mankind", thus going beyond the national framework, so today UNESCO advances the notion of "global citizenship…».
During her speech, Dr. Grevin congratulated UNESCO's choice to promote the concept of global citizenship as a key solution to solve the problem of violent extremism, a solution that can also be achieved through education to become a world-person, a global citizen.
Chantal Grevin, specifically, presented the experience of the Youth for a United World and their commitment to the United World Project, for the dissemination of universal brotherhood.
In the city of Rosario, Argentina, a group of Youth for a United World made a shared vegetable garden in the backyard of a suburban school and taught the students how to cultivate and take care of it.
For three years now, the Youth for a United World of Rosario have been sharing some one-day activities with the students of the "Mary Mother of the Civilization of Love" school on the outskirts of the city, where they collaborated to decorate common spaces such as courtyards and corridors.
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."
2012 - 2016 United World Project - Youth for a United World (New Humanity)
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