(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 12.18.2023).- Scholas Occurrentes, the organization created by Pope Francis, has received the University of Seville’s “Juan Antonio Carrillo Salcedo” Award for the Protection of Human Rights. The award, which is given every two years, recognizes individuals or institutions that have stood out for their defense of human rights, whether in the political, social or educational spheres. Previously, only Queen Sofia of Spain, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Marcelino Oreja and Adela Cortina were awarded the prize.
The jury of the University of Seville, one of Spain’s oldest academic institutions, chose Scholas Occurrentes, which coincidentally celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, to award this renowned prize.
The commendable work of Scholas Occurrentes in defending the human rights of young people around the world and its concrete and innovative practices, so that every child and young person has a meaningful life, did not go unnoticed.
José María del Corral, world president of Scholas Occurrentes, commented on the recognition: “Scholas defends that having a meaningful life is a human right that cannot be violated, and to achieve this we work on various issues. We face challenges such as suicide prevention in many parts of the world, we address the mental health of young people and adolescents in more than 30 countries during the pandemic, and we combat problems such as gangs in Panama, the Camorra in Naples, and child abuse in Portugal, Mexico and Spain”.
“Many of us talk about Human Rights, but when it comes to seeing the work, few do it in the mud,” reflected del Corral.
Scholas Occurrentes arrived in Spain in 2015, and since then has actively collaborated with the local Church and other faiths, with the Ministries of Education, Youth and Social Affairs, carrying out various activities in several regions of the country, such as the Community of Madrid, Catalonia, Galicia, Valencian Community, Andalusia and Cantabria. Scholas has also opened university branches in Madrid, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona, among others.
Since its creation, Scholas has carried out educational experiences bringing together young people from Israel and Palestine, from Cuba and the United States, from different cultures and religions, creating chairs in public and private universities; building sports schools in Mozambique, Iraq and Latin America. Scholas young people work from Haiti every day to recover dignity through education. Also, from Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington, Scholas teachers seek that every young person finds meaning and that dialogue overcomes hatred and confrontation. Every day, the young Scholas teachers encounter the real problems of children and adolescents: the lack of mental health, the abysmal increase of suicide, insecurity, addictions and corruption, abuse, child exploitation, bullying and cyber-bullying and so many other pains that need listening, creativity and community.
Scholas is convinced that the educational system can be changed, from the bottom up and with the commitment of everyone. It defends the human rights of young people with concrete actions regardless of whether they are of this or that belief or if they are of this or that social or economic level; because it believes that the important thing is the encounter and diversity is what brings us together.
This award, for its founders, belongs to the young people who commit their time and passion every day to reach more young people around the world and to Pope Francis for having trusted in this sacred intuition.