Chiara Lubich Invited by Swiss Politicians to Speak on Fraternity

Address to be Broadcast on Television and Internet

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BERNE, SEPT. 3, 2004 ( Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Focolare movement, will be the keynote speaker at the «Fraternity in Politics: Utopia or Necessity?» congress for politicians and youth in Switzerland.

Organized by representatives of the Swiss National Council, the Vallée Youth Parliament and the Movement for Unity, the congress will be held in Berne on Saturday.

The purpose of the meeting is to offer Swiss politicians a new stimulus in their commitment, and to foster dialogue between politicians and young people.

It is an «innovative" line with which the organizers encourage a different reading of political action, in an age «marked by fragmentation, provoked by growing polarization at all levels of the federal administration, and by the widespread vision of politics as a power struggle between political parties,» the ecclesial movement explained in a statement.

The foundress of Focolare, who founded the Movement for Unity in Naples in 1996, has spoken on this important topic in various international political settings, including London, Madrid, Bratislava and Brasilia.

The Movement for Unity is a worldwide network that brings together all those throughout the world, of different political tendencies, who have made a commitment to form one human family.

The main protagonists of the movement, always in reciprocal relationship, are politicians committed in institutions, parties and cultural centers, and employees, scholars and students of political science, as well as citizens who see in universal fraternity the end, content and specific method of their own commitment.

Federal Chancellor Annemarie Huber-Hotz will open the congress in Berne. Chiara Simoneschi-Cortesi, national councillor of Ticino, will introduce Lubich.

The congress will provide time for dialogue between the participants and politicians of several countries who have already begun to experience this new proposal in the field. Young people have been allocated special time in the afternoon.

The Berne congress is a continuation of the March, 2003 meeting in Martigny, Switzerland. At that meeting 250 people participated, representing politicians of various levels.

Deputies, members of cantonal parliaments, mayors and many young people have already confirmed their attendance.

The Vallée Youth Parliament was created in 1995. Similar initiatives have taken place in other Swiss cantons. It is open to young people who live or study in Valle, whether Swiss or foreign. The meetings address current issues in regional, national or international politics.

The Congress will be broadcasted live via satellite and on Internet from 3-4:30a.m. EST on Saturday.

For a live connection and consultation consult the Focolare Web site.

For additional information you may also consult the Web page of the Swiss chapter of the Movement for Unity. This page is only available in French, German and Italian.

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