The first part of the United World Contest is over. 24 Youth for a United World have been selected: coming from all continents, they are ready to begin the training course that will transform them into ambassadors of the united world.
The first phase of the United World Contest is over. But who are these 24 young people who passed the selection? If you want to know their stories, please visit the Contest's Facebook page. In short, we can say that they come from every single continent: Brazil, Australia, Kenya, Argentina, the Philippines, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, the U.S., and Burkina Faso. Most of them are university students, between 19 and 24 years old, 13 boys and 12 girls, and nearly all have already experienced a United World Week. Having passed this selection, the online training course is their next step.
What’s the spark that ignites change? For Lalela, a South African NGO, it is art and creativity.
In the townships of Cape Town, where children and young people grow up in at-risk environments, offering them a way out of the vicious cycle of poverty, lack of opportunity and violence is no easy task. Yet, in 2010 something changed: that year, for the first time, an art programme opened its doors to the kids of the periphery, showing in time that children who are free to create become adults who are capable of making decisions, creating opportunities and building a better future for themselves. It all starts with the prophetic gaze of people who see potential where others see problems.
Chiara Lubich's speech at Sports Arena (Rome), March 31, 1990: to bring love back into the world
«Let us take a look at several symptomatic scenes of today’s world. We observe in Eastern Europe, in the nations which have recently experienced changes, people who are overjoyed with their new-found freedom. Beside them, however, are people who are frightened, disillusioned and depressed over having seen their ideals collapse. We can read on some faces threats of retaliation, revenge and even hatred. Let’s stop to think: what would Jesus say if he appeared among them? We can be certain: he would still speak, today as he did in his time, of love. He would say: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). Only together, in harmony and in forgiveness, can a solid future be built.
Let us move on to other locations, to a country of Latin America, for example, as if watching a series of images fading in and out. On one side, we see skyscrapers, often modern cathedrals erected to the god of consumerism, and on the other side are slums and misery, moral and physical degradation, and sickness. What would Jesus say about this distressing scene? “I told you to love one another. You didn’t, and these are the consequences.”
From 8th to 16th January, during the austral summer, a group of 25 people went back on holiday to El Espinal, a town located between Salta and San Miguel de Tucumán, in the north-west of Argentina. Let’s hear the story of the third edition of these "different" holidays by Sol Wamba, a student of Social Communications in La Rioja, who has participated in this initiative since its first edition.
What are the factors that help you make a choice when it comes to holidays? According to some tourist websites: the weather and then, of course, money. After that, food and things to be done or seen at destination are also taken into consideration. If, however, you decide not to rely on general statistics, you would discover original travel experiences, such as the one that, for some years, some young people have been making by choosing El Espinal for their summer holidays, a town located between Salta and San Miguel de Tucumán, in the north-west of Argentina.
In addition to rest, the main goal of their "Different Holidays" is to share the daily life of the local people, to discover their culture, and contribute to enhancing their tourism potential, participating in the work promoted by the Sustainable and Solidarity Tourism Programme of North-West Argentina (NOA).
Sol Wamba, a student of Social Communications in La Rioja, has participated in this experience since its first edition.
Reforestation, renewable energy, waste management, environmental education. Four keywords for a project that creates a network of the best forces for the African continent, and not only, with a view to universal fraternity.
Mal d'Afrique is the so-called nostalgic feeling capturing those who visit this incredibly beautiful Continent, able to amaze, suitable to kindle a desire to go back and a sense of rebirth. A Continent which at the same time hides a dark, painful face, looted by the greed of the powerful who go ahead regardless of anything or anyone, let alone the dignity of a people, in the face of high and secure earnings. This means that, especially over the last few years of the so-called "short century," the African countries have been stripped and deprived of so many riches and opportunities, forcing their inhabitants to wage wars to survive, to flee, or simply to let themselves die. Poverty, including moral poverty and an environmental and social degradation that are visible to the naked eye in various areas of the Continent are the consequences of such theft of goods and dignity.
In this context, Greening Africa Together was established, "a network of non-governmental organizations, universities, institutions, and communities that collaborate in the field of "green" development" – say Arthur Ngoy and Lilly Seidler. He is a gynaecologist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and she is a German teacher, who has worked for years in Senegal, where she founded a non-profit organization - International Forest Onlus - together with a group of students. They have just shared their experience at a conference organized by the New Humanity Movement in Pomezia, near Rome.
2012 - 2016 United World Project - Youth for a United World (New Humanity)
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