United World Project


United World Week 2023: #DARETOCARE – Dare to take care of people and planet

30 April 2023   |   Internazionale, ,

The 28th United World Week will take place from 1st-7th May 2023. It is a worldwide extravaganza of actions and initiatives to promote fraternity, unity and peace between people and peoples, organized by the communities of the Focolare Movement across the globe.

The week opens on 1st May with a live transmission on YouTube from Loppiano, the international little town of the Focolare in Italy. The conclusion will be on 7th May with the worldwide relay race “Run4Unity”, supported and promoted by the Laudato Sì Action Platform of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

A community in Pont-à-Mousson (France) will convert the sport and the kilometres completed into trees to be planted in their sister parish in Burkina Faso. And in Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso, the Youth for a United World of the Sahel will go through the streets of the city, to collect plastic, with which they will build a symbolic “mountain of peace”. In St. Mauro Pascoli (Italy), children and adults, will promote ecological sports to raise awareness of environmental care and raise funds to provide sports equipment to young cyclists in Ukraine. In Palawan (Philippines), hundreds of people will clean public beaches to care for nature and for the health of their fellow citizens. They say, “We believe that today, more than ever, unity and fraternity can only be achieved if we take care of ourselves, if we take responsibility to look after the planet together, with concrete actions, starting wherever we are”.

From Paraguay to India, through TogoBenin, and Lebanon to Australia, there are hundreds of initiatives like these, small and large. They take place every year to celebrate United World Week: Seven days of workshops and exhibitions, promoted by the communities of the Focolare Movement throughout the world, in synergy with other movements, associations and local institutions that share its values, to raise public awareness of peace, care for the environment, ecological conversion and integral care of the person which all starts from living out concrete fraternity. The main theme of the 28th United World Week is care of humanity and of the planet: “Dare to Care: People, Planet and Our Ecological Conversion”.

These issues are even more urgent in the times in which we live which suffer from the catastrophic effects of the climate crisis and the proliferation of inhumane hotbeds of war and conflict everywhere on the planet.

During this week, the initiatives that are ongoing throughout the year, will be showcased in many virtual and in person appointments, different depending on the places and communities that promote them: exhibitions, cultural events, workshops of dialogue and debate, solidarity and ecological actions, sporting events. Locally we aim to influence the public opinion of our countries while internationally, the objective is to fill our Common Home with hope, starting by recognizing the persevering and tireless action of people who are committed to building fraternity.

The main partner of the United World Week 2023 is the Laudato Sì Movement. The United World Week is co-funded by the European Union through the AFR.E.SH project.

International events of the United World Week

On 30th April, at 21.00 (Italian time), the United World Week will begin with a concert entitled “The reason we care”, given by the international band Gen Rosso. It will be broadcast on their official YouTube channel (https://youtube.com/@GenRossoOfficial). The concert is the result of the last few years during which the band has used music to carry out activities of welcome and education with young refugees and migrants in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Lebanon.

On 1st May at 12.00, a major show, entitled “Common Ground, me, you and us”, broadcast live from the Auditorium of Loppiano (Italy), will officially inaugurate the 28th United World Week. The challenge? To rediscover the value of care, of taking care of oneself and of others, of the relationships that connect us and of our relationship with Mother Earth. The programme will include the testimonies of young change makers from various countries of the world, who are engaged in networking, often bravely going against the current in their taking care of people and the environment, for the common good of their peoples. Like Mimmy from Burundi who, as part of the fight against plastic pollution, has been elected “zero plastic” ambassador, because, with her association, she transforms plastic into ecological tiles and plants trees in the Rusizi National Park. Or Ivan, who in Damaguete (Philippines), with his community, takes care of his people through their commitment to the marine environment and planting mangroves, because he says: “Since we are one of the poorest countries in Asia, fishing is a means of livelihood for many. Our people need the sea to survive, for everyday life”.

The live stream will be available at www.unitedworldproject.org.

On Saturday 6th May, it will be the turn of “Peace Got Talent”, an artistic event promoted by the “Living Peace International” network that, taking its cue from the well-known television format, gives space to talented young people who are committed to promoting peace through music, song and dance. Each act in the competition is an expression of informal projects of peace education. The participating schools and groups include some from Ukraine, Syria, Russia, Myanmar and Congo: Countries affected by war and armed conflicts, which are eager to contribute their songs and their voices of hope. The show will be broadcast on www.unitedworldproject.org.

On Sunday, 7th May, over 200,000 teenagers, young adults and families in many countries and hundreds of cities will participate in “Run4Unity,” a global relay race that links nations, cultures and religions to build peace and plant trees. Supported and promoted by the  Laudato Sì Action Platform of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Promoting Integral Human Development, Run4Unity 2023 is led by the young people of the Focolare Movement. Participants of all ages will look after their health through physical exercise and will take care of the Earth by converting the kilometres completed or minutes of exercise to trees to be planted around the world (https://www.teens4unity.org/run4unity).

Run4Unity will start from the Fiji Islands, which is in the first time zone to begin a new day and is an ecologically symbolic country because it is already strongly affected by climate change. From there, over the next 24 hours, young people will pass the virtual “baton” from one time zone to another through a series of video calls, concluding with communities in California. Participants will run, jog, walk or participate in local sporting events, some of which will be held in places symbolic for peace, for example at the borders between countries or communities in conflict or in ecologically significant places, to give a witness of unity and peace. Participants will include some of the 1,000 Laudato Sì schools around the world which are engaged in ecological education through the Laudato Sì Action Platform, as well as groups and schools that are part of the Living Peace International Project.

Information about all the local events for United World Week 2023 can be found at: https://www.unitedworldproject.org/uww2023/.