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December 6 2014 | BERLIN, GERMANY

Peace, dialogue and fight against poverty: Cooperation between Sant'Egidio and Germany is strengthened

Marco Impagliazzo in Berlin, where he met ministers and representatives of the German government. During the visit also the meeting with the youth of Sant'Egidio: "You have a responsibility for peace, because you have seen that the walls may crumble"

 
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On 3 and 4 December, President of the Community of Sant'Egidio Marco Impagliazzo travelled to Berlin for some meetings with representatives of the German government and to visit the Community. Accompanied by a delegation of the Community, he met Norbert Lammert (above), the President of the Bundestag, the minister of cooperation Gerd Müller (below), the finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble (right) and the Deputy Foreign Minister Stephan Steinlein. The meetings, which were held in an atmosphere of great cordiality, were an opportunity to further strengthen the relationship of friendship and cooperation between the Community of Sant'Egidio and Germany.

The German government follows with great interest the commitment of Sant'Egidio to peace, with a particular attention to the Middle East, to the Syrian issue (with the appeal for Aleppo by Andrea Riccardi), to work for the resolution of conflicts in Central Africa , Senegal, Libya and the Philippines, with the peace agreement for Mindanao. For years, the Foreign Ministry of Berlin has strongly supported the commitment of Sant'Egidio to peace.

The talks focussed on the relationship with the Islamic world and the concern for the growth of terrorist and fundamentalist groups in different areas of the world. The work of Sant'Egidio for a culture of living together and dialogue among religions arouses a lot of attention in Germany, which hosted, in the past years, two editions of the Prayer for Peace (Aachen 2003 and Monaco 2011). Another issue addressed during the talks was the future of Europe and of its relations with the African continent. In particular, they discussed the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation between Sant'Egidio and the German Government in fighting poverty and social exclusion, for the rights of children and women in Africa and the right to health in front of major challenges like AIDS and the Ebola virus.

During his visit to Germany, Marco Impagliazzo also met the Evangelical Bishop of Berlin Markus Dröge (pictured above), with whom we talked about the challenges that the city of Berlin poses to the churches, and of the urgency of strengthening cooperation among Christians in announcing the Gospel.

On the evening of 3 December, in the splendid setting of the Bodenmuseum, in the heart of Berlin, at the invitation of the Catholic Academy of Berlin, the German edition of Andrea Riccardi’s book, "The surprise of Pope Francis", was presented. Marco Impagliazzo spoke about it with the health minister, Hermann Gröhe, and the Catholic bishop of Dresden, Heiner Koch.

The visit ended with the prayer for peace of the Community of Sant'Egidio in the parish of the Holy Family. "You have a special responsibility for peace, because you have seen that the walls may crumble" said Impagliazzo to the youth of the Community, who recounted the experience of the School of Peace in Neukölln, a Berlin suburb, considered as difficult due to the large number of foreigners and German poor people, often making the headlines in the German chronicles, and where, for years, Sant'Egidio has been working for the integration of children and of the most disadvantaged families. 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the commitment of Sant'Egidio is to bring down the new walls that separate and exclude many, especially in Neukölln and in some nursing homes for the elderly of the city.

With Deputy Foreign Minister Stephan Steinlein
The School of Peace of Neukölln
With the minister Hermann Gröhe and Bishop Heiner Koch
The School of Peace of Neukölln

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