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Journeying with young people towards Christ

For the future of humanity and the planet

A Global Educational Alliance

Patrizia Bertoncello

In September 2019, Pope Francis announced a major international gathering* scheduled to take place in Rome in May 2020 which would focus on youth. In bringing together representatives from major religions, humanitarian organizations and other international entities, it will involve educators, scientists, economists, sociologists, politicians, as well as experts from the arts and sporting world. It is an appointment, said the Pope, to engage in discussion on the future of our planet and to sign a "Global Compact on Education" pledging to invest everyone's talents in raising awareness and responsibility for the common good of all humanity. It will be an alliance designed to reach out to all persons of good will, beginning from the youngest. The fifth anniversary of Laudato sí, with its focus on an integral and cultural ecology, serves as the perfect backdrop for this initiative. 

The choice of education as the fundamental theme for this gathering reflects the key priorities of the Church. Francis takes up and relaunches principles that have always inspired the actions and decisions of the Christian community in its commitment to instruction and formation. This is expressed not only through schools and universities, but in the myriad of informal educational initiatives, as well as efforts to promote inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, and a fostering of human development. 

Pope Francis hopes to highlight and promote further synergy among the many global initiatives already aimed at ensuring a better future for new generations. There is still a need to ensure that educational systems are accessible to all and can assist everyone in facing the complex challenges of this ever-changing world. The pontiff is convinced, in fact, that universal change must necessarily be accompanied by an educational journey that ensures greater solidarity and the development of a more welcoming society.  

The Alliance initiative is a response to requests received by the Pope. A number of secular and religious personalities have expressed the explicit, heartfelt desire for collaboration, given the worldwide impact of the Pontiff’s message with regard to this fundamentally important and needed endeavor. 

The gathering will be prepared as a week-long series of seminars. Sessions will center on themes related to human rights and peace education, dialogue among different religions, educational alliances between generations, nature and the larger global environment, democracy, economics, international cooperation, and the situation of migrants and refugees. 

*since moved to October 2020 due to the pandemic

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