Vatican Dicastery to co-sponsor Run4Unity eco-relay for peace

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is to-cosponsor the global youth-led sports and tree-planting event organized on May 7 by the Focolare Movement to promote peace and ecological conversion.

By Vatican News staff reporter

More than 200,000 teen-agers, young people, families and communities from hundreds of cities around the globe are expected to join on May 7 the 2023 “Run4Unity”, a worldwide relay race uniting them across ethnic cultural, and religious backgrounds to build peace and a more ecological world.  

The initiative - reports a press release - is co-sponsored by the Laudato Si’ Action Platform of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and led by the youth of the Focolare Movement, which launched the first “Run4Unity” in 2005 as part of their greater United World Week inspired by their founder, the late Chiara Lubich.  

2023 edition focused on ecological conversion

This year’s edition will focus on the theme “People, Planet and Our Ecological Conversion”. Participants of all ages will give their contribution to promoting ecological awareness by exchanging the kilometres they run or the minutes of physical exercise they do with the planting of trees.

“To ensure a healthy and livable future for our planet, we must all come together, across faith traditions, cultures, generations and sectors, and commit to concrete actions that safeguard the natural environment and care for the most vulnerable among us,” said John Mundell, of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Director of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. “Young people are leading the way through events like Run4Unity, and the Dicastery hopes many people will join their important mission.”

A 24-hour event kicking off in the Fiji Islands

The Run4Unity will kick off in the Fiji Islands — the first time zone to start a new day and an ecologically symbolic country already greatly impacted by climate change. From there, the youth will pass a virtual “baton” from one time zone to the next through a series of video conference calls running in the following 24 hours, and concluding with communities in California, USA.

Participants will include, amongst others, some of the 1000 Laudato Si’ Schools committed to ecological education through the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, as well as groups and schools that are part of the Living Peace Project, an initiative promoted by the Italian NGO Azione per un Mondo Unito (Action for a United World) aimed at fostering peace worldwide through education.

Peace and climate solidarity

They will run, jog, walk, or participate in local sporting events, some held at symbolic peace sites, including borders between conflicting countries or communities, or at ecologically significant sites, to witness unity and peace.

“Our dream is that Run4Unity 2023 will create a wave of peace and climate solidarity across the globe!”, said Federico Viara and Fiorella Tassini, coordinators of the Teens4Unity’s the youth branch of the Focolare Movement. “Strengthening bonds between communities in various countries can really open people to commit to peace and taking care of the planet.”

Anyone wanting to join the Run4Unity can register individually or as a group at .  From there they will be directed to links where they can track kilometres run or minutes of exercise, register the number of trees planted by them or in collaboration with local and international sponsors and organizations, who will ensure long-term care for the trees.

All participants who register a local event will be invited to add it to a calendar on the United World Project website, where people can check it and join.

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05 April 2023, 15:55