United World Project


A trunk and its branches: the Genfests worldwide

28 June 2024   |   International, Genfest 2024, Y4UW

A short journey through the local Genfests, scattered worldwide. We have chosen four of them, which will be held at the same time as the one in Brazil at Aparecida. These are the ones in Hungary, the Middle East, Italy, and South Korea.

The Genfest is like a tree with a large bark and long branches. We can use this metaphor to unite the Brazilian event of Aparecida with those that, at the same time or immediately after, in a symbolic relay, will be held in other parts of the world, even quite far geographically speaking from the south American nation.

The feast of the youth will also be held in Korea, Hungary, the Middle East, and Italy, as there will be around 40 in all, the so-called “local” Genfests all around the world: rings of a precious necklace that want to unite the world in peace and joy, in universal fraternity. In this article, we narrate to you a few: symbolically, to narrate them to all.

The Genfest in Eastern Europe

One will be held in Esztergom, Hungary, from the 18th to the 21st of July, with around hundreds of youth, ranging in age from 18 to 35 years, coming from eastern and central Europe. They will gather in that city to reflect together on the following theme: “Together to Care.” There will be forums and conferences dedicated to social responsibility with the goal of raising awareness amongst the youth about the importance of their role in building a more just and sustainable society. During the Genfest in Esztergom, the “Peace Olympics” will be held to promote, through sports, the most noble and fundamental goal of mankind: peace.

The scope of the sports event will be to strengthen relations between participants through a healthy and recreational competition. There will be a bonfire with moments of adoration and music in a shared and spiritual atmosphere. The evenings will be animated by a feast dedicated to Eastern European and Brazilian culture to make known and appreciate different cultural traditions. To help socialize, the Genfest will not miss board games as well as a quiz on the city. The goal does not change: encourage participants to get to know each other in an informal and fun context.

What is the connection with the main event of the Genfest in Brazil? Saturdays will be aimed at enforcing a sense of global community. “Our Eastern European heritage – the organizers explain, “unites us, even in the midst of wars and tensions. We wish to shout at the world our need for peace. We believe that, through dialogue and collaboration, it is possible to build a better and more peaceful future for all.” For this, they conclude, “We can’t wait to see you all there!”

For more information: https://www.instagram.com/genfest_zonavioletto/

The events in South Korea

The same thought is also shared by the organizers of the Genfest in South Korea, which will be held from the 15th to the 18th of August on the beautiful Jeju Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where around 200 people from Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan will reunite. The theme will be the same as in the Brazilian Genfest: “Juntos para Ciudar” (Together to Care), explored in 4 days during which the participants will reflect on how “Caring” (of the environment and of the people) can be at the center of their lives and answer different problems that surround them.

On the first day, the focus will be on socialization through games to get to know each other, and there will be a mass celebrated by the bishop. On the second day, the attention will be on the importance of caring for the environment and for the local culture, with walks in the woods, mountains, and along the sea. The history of Jeju Island will be narrated to the participants, and on the third and fourth days, there will be moments of sharing about the first phase (held before August) experienced by the different organizations where the youth chose to work as volunteers in the last months. A group who followed the Brazilian Genfest will share how this was, and this Genfest will conclude with a feast.

For more information: https://www.instagram.com/genfest_corea/

Lamezia Terme. One of Italy’s Genfests.

There will also be a feastful atmosphere in Calabria, Italy, at Lamezia Terme, where the local Genfest will begin on the 26th of July and go on till the 30th, with hundreds of youth who, on the first day, will assist in the choreography of the youth from Calabria, Sicily, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Sardinia, and other regions of Italy, as well as from Palestine, Egypt, Albania, and Greece. There will be a video greeting from Brazil by the President of the Focolare Movement, Margaret Karram, and links to the international Genfest.

The Genfest will explore the theme with this title: “Together to Care. I, you, us, our planet.” Ecological initiatives and social activities will not be missed at associations and communities in Calabria that work on the recovery of people with addictions, the welcoming of migrants and unaccompanied foreign minors.

On the second day, the meeting “Mediterranean. A Kaleidoscope of Crisis, Challenges, and Opportunities” will be held, and in the afternoon, apart from the theatrical representation of the book “Only One Way” by Erri De Luca and the workshop on some themes introduced in the morning (peace and intercultural encounter), the tragic shipwreck of migrants on the beach of Cutro will be remembered with a mass and other initiatives.

The day of the 29th will be dedicated to the creation of a community to continue to act in one’s own territory and to a big party on the city’s waterfront, “Falcone e Borsellino,” open to all, with testimonies, music, and the meeting “For the Mediterranean of Fraternity,” in which Don Luigi Ciotti, founder of Gruppo Abele and Libera, will also participate. Singer-songwriter Giovanni Caccamo, dancers from the DanceLab Armonia Cultural Association, and the band Young Artists of the Mediterranean will have the task of cheering up the celebration with dances and songs.

For more information: https://www.instagram.com/genfest_calabria2024/

The Genfest of the Middle East and North Africa

Moving to the east, the music, understood as a collection of values promoted by the Genfest, does not change. “Together to Care: Past, Present, and Future” is, in fact, the theme of the Genfest in the Middle East and North Africa. This will be held in Jordan from the 26th to the 30th of August, with the goal of awakening the protagonism of the youth to the realization of the universal commitment for the cure of the environment and of the people, particularly the most vulnerable. 100 will be the youth present, coming from Jordania, the Holy Land, Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, and Iraq, to concretely respond to the local scenarios and the global challenges of the present: climatic emergencies, migrations, social inequalities, and war. To bear witness that peace is possible.

Here as well, there will be 3 phases: 1) “Act” with volunteering experiences in groups to work in aid of the last. At Amman, the youth will concentrate on food collection and visiting social centers and poor people and families. 2) “Celebrate,” with a week in Jordania to share roots and common values, to care for oneself and the historical wounds of each other’s countries, to regain hope, and to look forward to a peaceful future. 3) “Connect” with the youth, encouraged to create communities and spaces of encounter for intergenerational dialogue and participate in various fields in particular areas of interest and commitment (from August 2024 to the summer of 2025).

For more information: https://www.instagram.com/genfest_middleeast_northafrica/

Here, those quickly described are only some of the branches that make up the great Genfest tree. Above, there are leaves full of color that give oxygen and perfume: we are those leaves, and it is with us that those branches can reach even farther and caress, until they cure the wound of the world. This tree can give us nutritious fruits filled with unique taste on these branches.