Today, all Christian faithful celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. We would like to take part in this celebration by making memory of a birth that concerns us closely, the creation of the United World Project. We are going to do it through the words that a member of the Youth for a United World, Leticia Carneiro, pronounced on November 15, 2016, in Paris, at the UNESCO headquarters, during the “Reinventing Peace” event.
“Fatou networked 212 communities from Senegal, thus paving the way to new social and commercial relationships. Reinhard, a 55 years-old Austrian man, after receiving 27 stab wounds, has forgiven his tentative killer. Pamela gave her major contribution to start off the Permanent Schools for Peace in Ecuador. What do Fatou, Reinhard, and Pamela have in common? The three of them believe in universal brotherhood, and along with them, hundreds of thousands people all over the world.
In 2010, in Rome, we met with some young people from all over the world to organize an international festival entitled ‘Genfest,’ a public event promoted by the Youth for a United World, a movement that gathers young people from all over the world who share the desire to work for a more united world, without divisions based on religion, race, or ethnicity.
Fifty young people from all over the world: from the Americas to the Philippines, from Kenya to Korea, from Russia to Italy… Happy, enthusiastic. But something was growing among all: the apparent contradiction we were experiencing. On the one hand, we young people in our twenties who look at the world from the perspective of brotherhood. All around us, however, the crisis began to affect us with its tragic effects. Streets and squares were crowded with people who asked for a change, who shouted out their hunger for a different world… A new structured, involving proposal was needed… And then, an idea came to our mind: to illuminate the darkness of fear. Traces of peace, lighthouses of hope. Little and great actions of brotherhood that do not make any noise but they dig into the deep furrow of humankind. This is the United World Project: to create a network among all those who believe in peace, solidarity, and brotherhood. To involve the international institutions by demanding concrete commitments aimed at constructing a more united world. Audacious? Sure! But Nelson Mandela, San Suu Kyi, Muhammad Yunus, and who knows how many others, even among us, have believed and still believe that only those who have great ideals make history.
Since the coming about of that idea to date, so much has been achieved. International workshops in the Middle East where Muslims and Christians have been working together. The beginning of permanent schools for peace in South America, intercultural workshops in Africa, and interreligious events in India, which highlighted how many things unite us, and they are much more than those that divide us. We published the first “Atlas of Universal Brotherhood” in 4 languages, recording 800 good practices in 35 countries – the first attempt to codify the objective elements on whose basis it is possible to acknowledge fraternal actions. This is not just theory, it is not just a dream; it became a pattern of behavior, a paradigm of social action, of real economy … But there is also an everyday brotherhood, a network of daily relationships. It is the submerged part of the brotherhood iceberg that supports the emerging part, with initiatives offering a solution to big social problems, such as poverty, wars, and rights violation. We also presented the UWP to the UNESCO International Youth Forum.
But why are we telling you this story today? Because each of us, every day, can give his/her contribution towards a world in peace, towards a more united world. But this journey needs everyone’s help. People who decide every day to build relational bridges, but also all of you who, today, represent all the peoples of the Earth. And we know that every single people has within it the seed of peace and brotherhood. Every local action generates a global impact. We are absolutely positive about the fact that also out of your contribution, this journey will be faster and bring the world closer to being more united and fraternal.”