In a few days, the big event of the Economy of Francesco in Assisi. The voices of young protagonists, the main event and side event, also organized by the Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park.
This is it! The countdown has begun. It’s less than a week until the long-awaited meeting of the youth of the Economy of Francesco with the Pope in Assisi will take place. “After three years of life, work, waiting, projects, proposals, desires, – ” reads the project’s website; “ –; after two years of a pandemic that could have stopped us but failed; after the great pain that the world has had to face, here we are. In September we will all be together in Assisi to celebrate and spread The Economy of Francesco!
It is an event strongly desired by Pope Francis, who has repeatedly invited young people to let their ideas and dreams emerge, for a radical change in the economy. “You are not the future: you are the present,” the Holy Father had said, emphasizing how the planet had and still needs their courage.
The event will involve young people who have been on the road during the past three years, but also other economists, entrepreneurs, and change makers from around the world involved more recently. Together, at the end of the three-day event scheduled for Sept. 22-24, 2022, they will sign the Covenant that commits them to bring to life a new economy, an economy on a human scale.
The Youths of the Economy of Francesco
Among the young activists, there are also about 20 minors, coming from different countries.
“This time,” says Luigino Bruni, scientific director of Economy of Francesco (EoF), “is a time for new, young protagonists and in particular for teenagers. Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future generation, Bruni adds, “have represented the most important innovation of the 21st century in the field of environmental culture and a new development model. Today these adolescents are on the frontiers of world change, they are teachers who exercise a true magisterium for all of us, and we are particularly happy that teenagers, the prophecy of Francis, are present and active in EoF in a significant way.”
Who are these very young people? They are 13- to 17-year-olds from Syria, Vietnam, Thailand, Slovakia, Italy, and Brazil, engaged in initiatives such as #ZeroHunger (which aims to achieve the second sustainable development goal of “zero hunger”) and others, interested in integral ecology issues.
Among them is Filippa Parisi, 13, from Figline Valdarno (Florence). Filippa became interested in economics and the Economy of Communion in 2018, thanks to the ‘Prophetic Economy experience.’ She tells us of her desrite to participate in the Economy of Francesco because she would like to “improve the world, making it fairer and more equitable, without injustice, poverty, consumerism or waste.” She adds decisively, “From this experience I expect to learn new things from older and more experienced people, have fun, participate in a lot of workshops and learn about new cultures!”
Ralyn Satidtanasarn, called Lilly, is 14 years old and a very young Thai activist who has been campaigning against the use of plastic for years. “Even teenagers and children cannot permit themselves the luxury of ignoring the world that surrounds them,” she explains. “We have been forced to solve adult problems for fear of not having a clean and sustainable future.”
The young Thai’s commitment began as a child, as she herself narrates. “As a child I was always concerned and committed to the environment. As citizens of the world we all have a responsibility for sustainability. Although I was only eight years old at the time, I tried to do what was right by reducing the use of plastics and telling my classmates and family to be aware of its impact on the environment. Unfortunately, individual activism cannot do much, thus I chose to confront the problem at its root, at a corporate and government level. (…) In early 2020, the mono use of plastic bags was banned nationwide at more than 70 major retailers. This has been one of my successes. I learned that environmental issues concern everyone, and so we all have a responsibility to contribute to change.”
For Ralyn, the EoF is “an excellent way to kick off a dialogue about what impact young people can have on the climate.” For Assisi, she has a clear idea of what she will say: “I would firstly like to thank Pope Francis for the teachings and kindness he has shared over the years of his pontificate. I would also thank him for raising everyone’s awareness of the world’s current problems and for strongly supporting young people like me in raising our voices and being heard by great people like him who can help us make a difference.”
A side event
Alongside the main event in Assisi with Pope Francis, there will be a parallel event (Side event), “An Economy for all,” aimed at all those who want to accompany and support the youth of Assisi and contribute to change. It is organized by the Italian Economy of Communion in collaboration with AIPEC, Associazione Nuove Vie per un Mondo Unito and Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park.