• "Our commitment continues in the peripheries"

    The summer campuses of the young people of the Focolare in Italy

    Campus 1According to Marc Augé, a French ethnologist and anthropologist, the outskirts are the place where the problems debated at a national level are extremely real. For the Young People for a United World of Italy, in recent years, the outskirts have become a field of action from which they can start afresh and give hope, give voice to that part of society which often suffers because of the silence by the media and institutions, and switch on the spotlights again on the work of those who commit themselves to this reality on a daily basis.

  • Bringing back a humane approach into the Mediterranean Sea

    Gennaro Giudetti's commitment in international volunteering to bring back a humane approach where it is denied.

    GG eng 1Gennaro 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.

  • Building bridges through dance

    It’s 2011, and Mariangela is 26 years old. She has a degree in foreign languages under her belt and a dream in her heart: turning her love of dancing into a project that can encourage dialogue among people of different cultural backgrounds living in her city, Catania. This is her story.

    mir eng 1Catania is becoming more and more multicultural, yet the path to integration seems long and difficult. Aware of the power of dance as a means of communication, Mariangela, who has studied this art form since childhood, begins to nurture the idea of starting a dance company with young people from different cultural backgrounds. With the help of the local Diocesan Caritas, which provides a room for the first auditions and rehearsals, the Compagnia Multietnica DanzaMIR (MIR Multiethnic Dance Company) takes its first steps. Its name is above all a statement – in Russian, the word mir means both world and peace.

    Over the years, the company has welcomed young people of different age groups and nationalities: Sri Lankan, Indian, Slovakian, Eritrean, Egyptian, Turkish and Italian. None of them is a professional dancer, but they all have something in common: the desire to share their inner world, their cultural and artistic heritage with one another, and to blend these rich characteristics into a style that incorporates typical rhythms and moves from every country.

  • Half Marathon "Via Pacis", to never give up!

    Notes from the Half Marathon for Peace in Rome

    Via Pacis engIt's only 7:20 am on a late Sunday morning and usually when I leave at this time of the day, the city is still asleep, as shown by the miraculously empty underground carriages offering a wide choice of available seats! This is not the case today: the underground is already packed with people: youths, families, elderly people, groups of friends, all wide awake and with something in common: everybody is wearing - yours truly included - sports clothes and running shoes.

    The stop is the same for everyone - Ottaviano, in the Prati neighbourhood of Rome, not far from Saint Peter’s. In fact, in just over an hour and a half, the first edition of the Rome Half Marathon Via Pacis will start.

  • I have friends in Heaven: when an encounter changes your life

    We want to tell you about the behind the scenes of the Italian film “I have friends in Heaven” (original title “Ho amici in Paradiso”), which is receiving both national and international praise. It is the first movie directed by Fabrizio Maria Cortese, who brought to the big screen actors with intellectual disabilities living in the Casa San Giuseppe (St Joseph’s Home) in Rome, an “Opera Don Guanella” Rehabilitation Center.

    Poster film"I first came to Don Guanella three years ago because a friend had started living there after an accident. That's how I met these guys, I learned to socialize with them, understand them, play, laugh, and even ironize, because they are very self-deprecating!"

    In this way Fabrizio Maria Cortese, screenwriter and director of the film “I have friends in Heaven”, talks about his first encounter with the people with intellectual disabilities who live in Casa San Giuseppe, a Rehab Center of the “Opera Don Guanella”, located in Rome, Via Aurelia Antica.

    “And there”, he explains, “I had the idea of writing a movie subject, thinking about the idea of change, a change that I probably went through myself, in my life, thanks to my encounter with them.”

  • Italy, the “Rimpresa” Project

    The RImPRESA Project started off!

    It is aimed at offering a support to the recovery of many small productive, trade, and tourism businesses affected by the earthquake in Central Italy, in the areas along the Via Salaria, in the territory between Amatrice and Ascoli Piceno, in the Val Nerina and in the Abruzzo Region. Rural areas, whose economy was mainly based on agriculture and sheep and cattle livestock, and whose customers were their same population along with tourists who came in summer and for the weekends.

    LocandinaIt all started after the earthquake that last August destroyed the town of Accumoli, in the Province of Rieti, Central Italy.

    A few days later, Federica left her home, in the Southern Province of Rome, officially:«To go and check the condition of the house inherited by my husband». In fact, as she adds «Because Roberto and his family were from Accumoli. After his death, we created an association of social promotion called Abbraccio planetario (Planetary Hug) to carry out actions that promote the values in which he believed, such as the care and love for our neighbours, especially the weakest. I went to Accumoli because I wanted to see with my own eyes the actual situation and what we could do to help them».

  • Lucca: Little Italian Citizens Growing Up

    A friend of the United World Project who lives in Lucca, Italy, informed us about an initiative that has been promoted by her Municipality since 2013, on the occasion of the World Day for the Rights of Children and Adolescents: the recognition of a symbolic citizenship conferred to minors who were born in Italy from foreign parents and residing in the Municipality of Lucca. We report about it through an interview with the mayor of Lucca, Alessandro Tambellini.

    Lucca 1"For us, this recognition is the symbol of the reception by a community. It is making these people feel citizens like the ones who are receiving them, because they are citizens in full capacity," says Alessandro Tambellini, Lucca’s first citizen. Since 2013, the Lucca municipal administration has recognized symbolic citizenship to minors who were born in Italy from foreign parents and reside in the Municipality of Lucca, but they are not in possession of Italian citizenship, as well as to those minors who, although not born in Italy, have been living in the Municipality of Lucca for at least two years, and are enrolled on an educational, scholastic, or training path.

    This year, 38 of them have been recognized symbolic citizenship. Among them, children from all continents: Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe: "In fact, among the new citizens there are also children of Romanian and English origin,” explains the mayor.

  • On migrants... the union makes an effort

    Seven political proposals for a new "agenda".

    Citizenship law reform, new ways to enter Italy, legal status for “rooted” foreigners on an individual basis, repeal of illegal immigration status, extension of the Sprar network (Sytem of Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees), best practices and effective participation in the democratic process.

    AGMigThese are the seven points of the policy document that was drawn up by 18 Catholic entities and associations that are involved for various reasons in the field of immigration.

  • Reception at the Border: an Experience from Ventimiglia

    “Italy’s Western Gateway”: this is one of the names under which Ventimiglia is known. An open door to the French Riviera, with which Ventimiglia shares bonds of geographical proximity and daily cultural, economic, and social relations.
    A gateway, not a border, at least until France suspended the free-movement treaties that are part of the Schengen acquis. Since then, Ventimiglia has become a bottleneck where many migrants pile up: the ones who consider our country only as an intermediate stage in their journey towards their final destination across the border.

    ventimiglia 1«More than 20,000 people travelled through Ventimiglia last year» Paola - a member of the local Focolare community – tells me «It is like a second Ventimiglia, considering that our current population is around 24,000. And since the beginning of 2017, about 18,000 people have already travelled through our town!». 

  • Rome Half-Marathon VIA PACIS

    On September 17, the half-marathon VIA PACIS (the Way of Peace) will be run in Rome, inspired by the values of peace, integration, inclusion, and solidarity.

    Marathon 1"Rome Half-Marathon VIA PACIS", the first half-marathon in the city of Rome dedicated to peace, will take place on Sunday, September 17, 2017. The event is promoted by Roma Capitale (territorial management agency of the Capital City of Rome) and the Pontifical Council for Culture (a Vatican dicastery) in cooperation with FIDAL (Italian Track & Field Federation), sponsored by CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) and of the Italian Paralympic Committee.

    The race will start from St. Peter, via della Conciliazione, at 9 am. It will go through the center of Rome by means of two runways for a distance equivalent to exactly half a marathon (21.097 km). Inspired by the traditional Pilgrimage of the Seven Churches, the "VIA PACIS" will connect the places of worship of some religious communities with an active presence in the capital city: the Synagogue, the Mosque, the Waldensian church, and the Orthodox church.

  • Scelte di Pace. Riconvertiamo l’Economia che Uccide

    «Certo, per chiunque si accinga a spostare le montagne dell’odio e della violenza, il compito è immane e pesante, ma ciò che è impossibile a milioni di persone isolate e divise, può diventare possibile ad un gruppo di gente che ha fatto della comprensione reciproca, del rispetto e della volontà di sacrificarsi per l’altro, il movente essenziale della propria vita.
    La pace è il primo frutto dell’unità. Ma non vi può essere pace tra le nazioni se non si comincia a costruire l’unità tra alcune persone di buona volontà».

    locandinaCosì, citando le parole di Chiara Lubich, Silvio Minnetti, presidente del Movimento Politico per l’unità in Italia, ha aperto l’incontro pubblico “Scelte di Pace. Riconvertiamo l’Economia che Uccide”, che si è tenuto il 14 marzo 2017, presso l'Aula dei Gruppi parlamentari di Montecitorio, a Roma. L’incontro è stato promosso dal Movimento dei Focolari in Italia, in collaborazione con il gruppo editoriale Città Nuova.

  • The battle for clean water

    What does it mean to build a fraternal city when it implies injustice, polluted water and health risks for their children? "No PFAS" mothers shared.

    NOPFASOne mother is enough to make a revolution. But if you put some more mothers next to her, maybe wounded by an injustice suffered by their children, maybe engaged in a fight to defend her "puppy", you're done!

    They were six when they started, but today they are over 2,000: they are the "No PFAS mothers", a group of parents struggling to get clean water, because unfortunately a very large area of ​​the Veneto Region, concerning 21 municipalities in the provinces of Vicenza, Padua, and Verona, in Northern Italy, today does not have any.

    It all began a little over a year ago: the Local Health Authority proposed to carry out voluntary blood tests for the research of PFAS, substances used in the chemical industry which, if found in human blood and tissues, act as endocrine disruptors and can strongly affect the onset of tumors and other diseases. PFAS stands for "perfluoroalkyl substances".

  • The Rome Summer Campus 2017 in the plagues of the capital city of Italy

    60 Young People for a United World at the service of the suburbs of Italy with activities, training, and future projectsin synergy with local associations and businesses for legality and the common good.

    rome 1To live the wounds of the city, to know what is happening a few steps from your home, to assume the suffering of those who live a social distress and are placed on the margins of society. These are just some of the reasons that have urged the Young People for a United World of Italy to get their hands dirty and act where the need is greater: the suburbs of their own cities.

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