By Devin Watkins
“Peace under construction: Making decisions together for a new civilization” was the theme for the 5th edition of the World Youth Parliament (WYP).
Over 120 young people from 22 countries took part in the 7-day event.
The WYP is a project promoted by Idente Youth, and has its origins in 1981, when Servant of God Fernando Rielo held a conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The first international meeting was held in Rome in 2009, and produced a “Magna Carta of Values for a New Civilization”.
The WYP seeks to challenge young people to “give unity, direction, and meaning to their personal and social life with a future vision of a world that should be better than it is.”
Dialogue instead of conflict
At the 2019 edition held in the Spanish city of Salamanca, participants shared their experiences and hopes for peace.
Paulo Garcia, from Brazil, told parliamentarians, “I live in a country with 60,000 murders a year and poverty... our wound. That's our war. I will now carry in my heart a hope for a future of peace.”
A common thread of this 5th WYP was learning to dialogue and make decisions together as a path forward for peace.
Eder Santacruz, a member of the Kichwa Otavalo people of Ecuador, said: “Instead of conflicts to solve our problems, let's use dialogue. In the WYP, we can see that it is possible for different cultures, ethnicities, and religions to be united.”
Peace a work of the Spirit
Bishop Carlos López, of Salamanca, spoke to the young participants about the spirit of the Beatitudes, which he said present peace as a gift. “Building peace is our work, but above all, it is the work of the Spirit, because it is a gift of the risen Christ.”
The WYP concluded with a message read out by the Vice President of the Fernando Rielo Foundation, Fr. Luis Casaús.
“The question is, do we want to work for peace? Fernando Rielo affirms that love is the motor of life, of history, of science, of the family, and, ultimately, of peace.”
The WYP was held at the Pontifical University of Salamanca from July 29th to August 4th.