“The Economy of Francesco”. Probably, a year ago it would have been described as an event convened by Pope Francis. However, today, with more than a year of travel and teamwork, it is more than that; it is an active process of change that would give a new soul to the economy.
In these days, the movement of young economists, entrepreneurs and change-makers called “The Economy of Francesco” (The Economy of Francis) is brought to everyone’s attention. We are approaching the date of the virtual meeting that will lay the foundations for a rethinking of the economy by this new generation, focused on caring for the environment and the poor. An economy where no one is left behind
With these values, already present in the encyclical Laudato Yes, and taking up the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi, in May 2019, Pope Francis had summoned those young people throughout the world who are committed to building a new economy so that, joining forces, they could sign a pact. Two thousand of them, coming from 120 countries, were selected to participate in the event that was to take place in Assisi, Italy, in March of this year.
What the pandemic could not stop was the enthusiasm and effort of many young people who, from their territories, organized preparatory meetings and concrete activities with the aim of questioning the current economic system and proposing creative solutions for the future. More than 300 events around the world have prepared the ferment of this global movement. Not only territorial events have risen. When word got out that the Assisi event would be postponed, young people divided into 12 thematic villages that, combining current and global economic issues, challenged conventional thinking. To name a few: “Finance and humanity”, “Politics and happiness”, “Work and care”, “Agriculture and justice”. Through these spaces, within each village a work of training and proposal of solutions to major economic problems has been realized. “The re-evaluation of care within society and economy, as a key to shaping the future, together with the need for a more feminine outlook and greater participation of women for a more inclusive economy and finance is a cross-cutting theme in many villages. Young people as guests are becoming protagonists, showing a sense of responsibility, innovative ideas, ability to dialogue across the 5 continents: they are a ‘present’ (and not only future) that should be listened to” explains Sister Alessandra Smerilli, member of the Scientific Committee of The Economy of Francesco.
Pope Francis himself recently stressed during his video message at the 75th session video message at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assemby: “From a crisis we do not come out just as we were: either we come out better or worse. Therefore, at this critical moment, our duty is to rethink the future of our common home and our common project”. These words also encouraged the proposal of solutions, which will soon be presented to the Pope, as a form of commitment to work.
An invitation to all
From November 19 to 21, the digital version of the event “The Economy of Francesco” will take place, which will no longer be limited to the 2000 selected young people, but will become open to all, as the shared content will be transmitted in public streaming from Assisi. Alternatively, it is also possible to participate by meeting in small communities, in the so-called local “hubs”. These hubs, set up around the world, will allow young members (and other interested parties) to meet and follow the program online from their own territory, giving rise to sharing, exchanges and insights at the local level of many of the concepts touched on in the public program. The list of hubs constantly updated, can be consulted here (it is specified that some hubs in Italy are being cancelled or converted into virtual dialogue rooms, given the increasing restrictions due to the current pandemic).
The central online program includes further insights to complement and supplement the economic thinking promoted by the movement. One of these, for example, is the moment entitled “Face to face with St. Francis”, which will offer the opportunity to connect with the city of Assisi and the most significant places in the life of St. Francis, which will be an inspiration to internalize some themes. “The Economy of Francesco has become the largest movement of young economists and entrepreneurs in the world. It is also the construction of a global spiritual capital that the economy sorely needs (…) A green economy is not enough to have an economy of Francesco. We also need the inclusion of the poor, the young people as protagonists, the cultivation of inner life,” stressed the Scientific Director of The Economy of Francesco, Luigino Bruni, during the last press conference held in Vatican City.
The virtual event will also have moments of artistic expression, problem awareness, work sessions, etc. On the second day, a 24-hour non-stop broadcast marathon will begin, which will close on the third day with the video message that Pope Francis will address to young economists.
For those who wish to participate in the broadcast, they can do so through the official website: www.francescoeconomy.org.
Although the digital event ends on November 21, the process continues. The pact will only be the beginning of an even greater commitment, so that the economy will be “a different economy, one that makes people live and does not kill, includes and does not exclude, humanizes and does not dehumanize, takes care of creation and does not plunder it”.
By Lourdes Hércules (United World Project)