++ Covid: Meloni, non sacrificare libert� per tutela salute ++

Scholas official at G20: Youth are the key to finding solutions in our world

Natalin Faravelli, a Scholas Occurrentes' official who serves as Coordinator for Argentina and the Latin American region, speaks on the sidelines of the G20 in Indonesia, and points to Pope Francis' reminder that the value of young people does not lie in the future, but can be tapped into in the present, to bring concrete change and peace to our world.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov and Benedict Mayaki, SJ

Recognizing young people's value in the present, and not just the future, educating them properly, and collaborating together with them can work toward peace and concrete change in our world.

This idea was expressed by Natalin Faravelli, Coordinator of Scholas Occurrentes for Argentina and the region, to Vatican News' Fr. Benedict Mayaki in an interview on the sidelines of the G20 summit, the 17th meeting of the Group of Twenty, which is ongoing in Bali, Indonesia on 15–16 November 2022.

Now a Pontifical Foundation, Scholas Occurrentes since its inception has become a worldwide network of schools that share assets, with common objectives and special attention to those most in need.

Scholas’ roots date back to educational projects created for children in impoverished urban areas of Buenos Aires, at the initiative of the then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.

Ms. Faravelli described the international education movement as a leading organization "promoting youth, civic engagement, peace, human rights, and youth empowerment," and "building an educational community around the world."

Key to finding solutions

Reflecting on the value of the G20 summit, she noted that the high-level participants from around the world gathering there presents an opportunity for youth to be a top item on the agenda.

"Pope Francis," she recalled, "says that youth is not 'the future,' it's 'the present.'"

Highlighting the opportunity available at the summit to promote youth and better education, she clarified that it is not a matter of investing more money or changing curriculums or changing one's teaching approach, but rather it's "about making young people a main focus, and learning how they are, listening to them, and working with them."

"We are convinced," she said, "that this is the right way to find a solution, to have peace and to really change the actual situation, in the world."

Scholas Citizenship

The Scholas official highlighted an important programme called Scholars Citizenship, which starts with dialogue with institutions and schools in the cities where the experience takes place.

The aim, she said, is to bring together around 300 young people between 15 and 17 years old, from private and public schools, from different religions, backgrounds and different neighborhoods.

"In this way," she explained, "we propose an encounter between realities that are usually very far away from their everyday lives, where, for many days, participants work together," and which features time for play, getting to know one another, and for free expression.

"In the end," she said, "we invite them to discuss the issues in their communities that they feel are most urgent or relevant. From there, they select two of these relevant problems, and in the following days, they are invited to discuss how to resolve this problem."

"It facilitates active participation among young people, older people, disabled people, immigrants and other institutions," she said, where they focus on common challenges tied to issues such as human rights, democratic strength, rights as citizens, and migration.

Generating a culture of encounter

Noting that Scholas encourages an active dialogue within communities, she noted this involves meeting with authorities and different institutions, so that, in the end, "they have a solution that they create on their own."

The main difficulty, she said, in doing her work is generating "this culture of encounter," especially among individuals who do not think they like one another, or are from different religions or cultures.

Regardless of this being "very difficult" and a "great challenge," she expressef appreciation for the ability to be able to "sit at the same table with people from different cultures and religions, where we care about one main objective of empowering young people and helping them find a sense to their lives."

To witness the culture of encounter, of which Pope Francis so often speaks, Ms. Faravelli said, has been very rewarding.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

15 November 2022, 09:56