United World Project

Workshop

A world in colors

By Letizia Spano.

From July 7 to 22, a summer school took place in Loppiano, the international town of the Focolare Movement in Italy, for young people who wish to commit themselves to build a united world. Its red thread was ‘Pathways 2019-2020’, characterized by the slogan “In time for peace” and focused on human rights, peace, justice, and legality. An official announcement: the final event, from 1 to 7 May, will take place in Korea.

The title of the summer school was, “The World in Colors,” a title inspired by what Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, called the “Rainbow Revolution“, meaning the revolution brought by the Gospel, capable of renewing with love every aspect of human life. With the prophetic vision of a specific color for each continent, with the intention to highlight the gift that each part of the world – with its particular features – can be for the other parts.

“[…] Light splits into seven colors, those of the rainbow, so light is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, and, in the same way, love is always love […]”

A revolution that Lubich entrusted in a special way to the Gen, the young people of the Focolare, in 1968. Many years later, during the Genfest in Manila, last July, the Gen launched Pathways for a United World, a 6-year global pathway, part of the United World Project, that highlights 6 ways to build a united world. Drawing inspiration from the challenges set by current events, every year young people will explore a different aspect of human and social life – such as economics, politics, justice, art, or dialogue between cultures and sports. They will launch actions, collaborative initiatives, and projects based on brotherhood and reciprocity, with a scope and impact based on an approach that shifts from local to global. Therefore, during the summer school – drawing inspiration from the Rainbow Revolution -, they explored a different ‘color-aspect’ every day.

The participants, about 40 young people who came from Korea, Hong Kong, Malta, Scotland, Italy, Brazil, Cuba, Myanmar, Poland, and Colombia brought along the cultural heritage but also the wounds of their respective countries.

One of the speakers, Maria Giovanna Rigatelli of Communion and Law – an international network that gathers scholars and practitioners in different fields of law – commented, “We found there motivated and committed young people. A characteristic of the current global situation is a lack of knowledge of the values of human rights. During our school, the importance of personal commitment came out about how to contribute, for example, to the dramatic situation of the two Koreas, or to that of Hong Kong. In so many parts of the world, we can switch on the light of our commitment!”

The red thread of the summer school were the contents and various areas of action of Pathways 2019-2020, which will be colored in “yellow” and will focus on human rights, peace, justice, and legality. “In time for peace” was the school’s motto, committing the young people of the Focolare, and all those who wish to accept their proposal, until next May. The final event will take place symbolically in Korea, on May 1 through 7, 2020.

Very touching, in this regard, were the testimonies of the young people from that country, such as the one of Y.: “During the Summer School we talked a lot about how to love others, and I understood that if you want to have peace, it is very important that you learn to love. I was very impressed by an expression of Mother Therese of Calcutta, who said that you should love until you feel pain. Our nation is divided in two and we have many wounds inside ourselves, but these wounds do not justify our division. We must have dialogue as our goal, to have peace between us. During the school I thought, if we continue to love, to love, and to love, perhaps, in the end we will be able to reunite the two Koreas!”

D. from Hong Kong, another crisis-affected area, commented, “I think everyone wants peace in the world. Before coming here, though, so many things happened in Hong Kong that made me think that peace is not the only way to solve problems. Maybe sometimes we need to be violent. I was frustrated. But I was very happy with what I experienced here and with the many people who talked to me about peace. This year, we young people will explore and live out the Pathway dedicated to human rights, justice, and peace. This makes us reflect: is it good to use violence, so that people are injured and killed? Here, I learned to love others and to focus on love among us. I know it is difficult to travel the road to peace, but I think we should try to achieve it without having recourse to violence. When I get home, I want to use what I have learned and experienced here in Loppiano to love people in Hong Kong, even those I hate.”

Among the many experts who participated and contributed to the success of this 2019 edition of the summer school: Cristina Montoya, Professor of Communication at the Sophia University Institute; Maria Giovanna Rigatelli and Eleonora Sali of Communion and Law; Luca Fiorani of the cultural initiative EcoOne; and Raffaele Cardarelli, member of the NetOne network of communicators.

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