The World Youth Parliament met last week, at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, in Spain. This is an ecumenical forum that brings together young people from all cultures and faiths, which discussed the theme “Peace under construction: making decisions together for a new civilization”.
A new civilization
The 120 young people present come from 22 countries but represent several thousand from a total of 31 nations from America, Africa, Asia, and Europe, and even from Ecuador’s Otavalo and Shuar indigenous nationalities. It is promoted by the international organization Idente Youth, with the support of UPSA and the Fernando Rielo Foundation.
The parliamentarians were received by the councilman of Tourism of the City of Salamanca, who thanked them for the effort and contribution that this forum represents. In the Aula Magna of the university, the Vice-Rector, underlined the historical model of peace and diversity that symbolizes the city and the special role played in it the Pontifical University of Salamanca.
After the inauguration a formative session followed with the intervention of Fr. Raffaele Lanzilli, consultant to the Synod of Bishops, who began by asking everyone if they really wanted peace and what it implies, since the opposite is not war but false relationships. He proposed to move from the dominion of the ‘I’ to the communion of the ‘we’ and further recalled that peace does not demand uniformity but the richness of diversity.
He was followed by María Fernanda Lacilla, a member of the Idente Youth Foundation, who related peace-building with communication. She recalled Gandhi’s invitation to silence, as a condition for communication, as well as Fernando Rielo’s ‘education in ecstasy’ for whom getting out of oneself is essential to listen to the other, and this is love.
The morning ended with the greeting of the Rector of the UPSA, Ms. Mirián Cortés, who highlighted the importance of so many young people committed to peace before whom “Pope Francisco would applaud”.
Change the violent world
In the afternoon, Luis Casasús differentiated between the simple connection of unity, which implies the effort to work together with the same objective. He affirmed that it is the awareness of one’s own vulnerability that creates the unity and compassion necessary to transform one violent world into another of mutual care. Denying one’s own lack of incapacitates connection and collective responsibility.
Throughout the week, parliamentarians worked in commissions and plenary sessions, in which delegates presented their respective country’s proposal and made a synthesis and joint construction work until a final manifesto was reached which was presented at the general assembly on Saturday 3 August at the Pontifical University of Salamanca.