United World Project


Let us change the changing world

4 November 2019   |   , , Y4UW

On October 26 and 27, the Mariapolis Centre in Castel Gandolfo (Rome) hosted a meeting for young people entitled, “Change the changing world” with the subtitle, “Experimenting beyond disciplines and professions.” Among the topics addressed at an interdisciplinary level: poverty, legality, environmental sustainability, and justice. Let us discover it through the report of Giulia Pungiglione, one of the young organizers of the event.

By Giulia Pongiglione.

It was a challenge from various points of view, an event with the aim of sharing the joys and difficulties of those who seek to change “the changing world.” The challenge was to live an intergenerational and international two-day meeting, inspired and guided by the will to change the world, as well as an interdisciplinary meeting, in order to propose wholesome and collective solutions to problems.

The appointment was for Saturday morning, 9 a.m., at the Mariapolis Centre of Castel Gandolfo, and the weekend was a succession of suggestions in plenary, working groups, exhibition stands, and workshops.

On Saturday morning, some ‘changemakers’ from various parts of the world stirred the audience by sharing their – more or less ordinary – stories of change. Arthur, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, decided to serve his own people through his work as a gynecologist: “My colleagues who left the Country asked me to take care of their wives during their pregnancy.” Arthur constantly travels all over the country with the aim of reducing the mortality rate of women and children, through training courses on the most suitable and safe medical and hygienic conditions.

In the first session of working groups, you had the opportunity to share your aspirations and the difficulties you faced in your work or in following your passion, when you tried to act for change. The groups, made up of participants of different ages and a variety of geographical and disciplinary backgrounds, allowed them to experience for themselves how much diversity can be a source of wealth. The sharing was intense, and enriched by mutual thanks and words of encouragement.

After lunch, a “peripatetic” experience was proposed: like the ancient philosophers, the participants were invited to walk around in exhibition stands and workshops, put themselves to the test, learn about projects of change, and expand their networks of contacts. The afternoon continued with the presentation of the United World Project, the Pathways, and “The Economy of Francesco” event. The first day ended with a show entitled, “Il Kyoto fisso” (an Italian pan meaning “the Kyoto obsession”), which dealt with the issue of climate change by alternating in-depth analysis and light sketches.

On Sunday morning, we touched upon interdisciplinarity and the connections between the various subjects-matter. During the working groups, each participant was invited to share about how their discipline or passion interprets the issue of poverty, what are the critical issues related to it, and the possible solutions. The final objective was to form a web among the members of the group, each asking for the help of another discipline to solve problems together. In doing so, they found themselves tied together in a symbolic spider web, and they realized how important it is to have a broad vision and different skills to be able to design effective solutions and build common projects of change.

The last session included a round table on environmental protection with experts of various disciplines, such as architecture, sports, sociology, and ecology. For example, the architect showed us how his discipline is addressing environmental issues by building in a more ecological way, as in the case of the Vertical Forest of Milan, Italy, or the city of Liuzhou in China, which is expected to accommodate half a million people.

During the two day-meeting, a ‘calendar of change’ was hung on a wall: a large world map on which participants had the opportunity to mark future events in various parts of the world, to fulfill the desire to be part of the changes that the world is already experiencing.

In general, adults were grateful for the presence of young people and intrigued by the fact that they had organized the event. They said that the opportunity of listening to them gave them new hope, and the nice thing is that young people said the same about listening to the adults.

Many noted how rare it is to have occasions for dialogue with people of other generations who work in other disciplines, with a very different background, and how enriching this can be. Some have defined it as “generations – we could also say disciplines or peoples – in dialogue for the common good.

Ilaria, an Italian young woman, for the first time in a meeting of this kind, wrote this commentary at the end of the event: “Two beautiful and intense days where you rediscover how important it is to broaden your vision.”

An adult from Argentina: “I think the relationship with young people is crucial in order to understand their structures of thought and from which point everyone starts to reach common conclusions. We must continue to follow this path together.”

A young Brazilian man: “It was a very important moment for me, especially in the current global context. We had the opportunity to share our experiences, starting with what the other is living, and we have new hopes for keeping on changing our context.”

“It was very enriching to see how much each of us, in our own small way, is trying to do what we think is right. I see that we are many and we try to do so much to change the world,” shared Prisca, a young woman from Madagascar, who is very active in the project ‘Together for a New Africa’.

Ania, a young Polish woman: “The world is changing and we want to be part of this change. We have different ages or backgrounds, and we work in different disciplines, but we want to improve the world together.”

At the end of this short two-day meeting, many have insisted on their intention to give their contribution to change the world in a concrete way, accepting the invitation of a young man, who quoted these words of the Dalai Lama: “I was intelligent and I wanted to change the world. Now I am wise and I want to change myself.” And now, back to work!


Photos by Clara Anicito