The Youth for Peace assembly at the Global Friendship meeting in Padua - it will conclude with a peace flash mob in St Mark's Square - 2024 Meeting in Berlin.
"We are in Padua and Venice, two cities rich in history and beauty, shaped by centuries of culture and faith. Their strength has been openness to the other". Thus Marco Impagliazzo opened the plenary assembly "Everything can change" at the Padua Fair. The president of the Community of Sant'Egidio invited the 1,000 young Europeans to "step out of themselves and leave the labyrinths where we sometimes lose ourselves, to walk the path of peace, whose clear points of reference are friendships, words and the poor"
" We do indeed feel weak and afraid, because we think we can navigate the sea of life alone," said Impagliazzo, " yet if we unite with others and let peace into our hearts, we find the strength to meet everyone and stand up for the dignity and liberation from all poverty and injustice for so many people.
A strong appeal was made to build a welcoming Europe and not to accept the deaths of migrants travelling through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean, in the assembly attended also by many young Syrians and Africans who have arrived in Europe thanks to the Humanitarian Corridors.
Many testimonies were shared after Impagliazzo's words. Young people told of their voluntary commitment to children and the elderly in the suburbs, the homeless and refugees. The speech of Julia, a young Ukrainian refugee in Kiev, moved everyone: "Sant'Egidio helped me when I fled with my family from the Donbass and now I have joined the Community. Helping others makes me forget my fear".
The Global Friendship meeting ends with a peace flash mob in St Mark's Square in Venice on Sunday at 4pm. The Youth for Peace have set a date for a new Global Friendship meeting in a year's time, from 27-29 August 2024 in Berlin.