Monday 27 April 2015

Havana, Cuba - Peace is an art to be learned together, the young with the elderly

In these days following the announcement of the future journey of Pope Francis to Cuba, and in which the ongoing thaw between the Caribbean republic and the United States is one of the rare good news on the international scene, the island’s Community of Sant’Egidio is engaged in expanding its presence, in strengthening its friendship with the poor, in addressing the challenge of speaking to the new generations, communicating to all “the art of building peace”. 
This is the name of a solidarity campaign that the Jovenes por la Paz (Youth for Peace), the youth movement of Sant’Egidio, is promoting in various Cuban cities and in particular in the capital, Havana. 

Where Sant’Egidio is active among the young, substantially all around the world, a central theme is that of the solidarity among generations, of the friendship between the young and the elderly. The high school students choose to place at the center of their focus the attentiveness towards the elderly. They view this as a precious opportunity to make the
past, the present and the future walk hand in hand; as a show of their commitment to ensure that no one is left at the margins of social life; as a call to a joy, a sensitivity, a hope that may belong to a people, an entire people. The art of joy and hope, the art of building peace are learnt together, rejecting the culture of waste and setting the foundations for a culture of inclusion. Because everyone is enriched by the encounter with the other.
Thus, for several days, Havana was the scene of meetings, performances, celebrations, and workshops involving drawing, photography, singing, dancing and theater. It was an opportunity for many to express their talents, putting them at the disposal of, and using them to benefit others, in particular the poorest among us.
Everything culminated with a great closing event in Plaza de Belen, in the heart of “old” Havana. The younger generations, gathered together against backdrop of the colonial city, sealed the past to the future and showed the way to intergenerational solidarity and to civil and cultural activism. 

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