The World Youth Parliament opened July 29, 2019, at the Pontifical University of Salamanca (UPSA). The 5th plenary session of the World Youth Parliament, an ecumenical forum brings together young people from all cultures and faiths, which in this edition develops the theme “Peace under construction: making decisions together for a new civilization”.
The 120 young people come from 22 countries but represent several thousand from a total of 31 nations from America, Africa, Asia, and Europe, and even from Ecuador’s Otavalo and Shuar indigenous nationalities. It is promoted by the international organization Idente Youth, with the support of UPSA and the Fernando Rielo Foundation.
Previously the parliamentarians were received by the councilman of Tourism of the City of Salamanca, Fernando Castaño, who thanked them for the effort and contribution that this forum represents. Already in the Aula Magna of the UPSA, the Vice-Rector of the same, D. Jacinto Núñez Regodón, underlined the historical model of peace and diversity that symbolizes the city and the special role played in it the Pontifical University of Salamanca.
It was followed by a message from Father Jesús Fernández, president of the Idente Missionaries Institute and of the Fernando Rielo Foundation, read by its vice-president, Father Luis Casasús. Fernández recalled the words of the founder of this Universal Youth Parliament, Fernando Rielo, for whom Christ is the thinker, the politician and the parliamentarian par excellence and a point of reference for young people of all faiths and cultures.
After the inauguration a formative session followed with the intervention of Fr. Raffaele Lanzilli, consultant to the Synod of Bishops, who began by asking everyone if they really wanted peace and what it implies, since the opposite is not war but false relationships. He proposed to move from the dominion of the ‘I’ to the communion of the ‘we’ and further recalled that peace does not demand uniformity but the richness of diversity. He was followed by María Fernanda Lacilla, a member of the Idente Youth Foundation, who related peace-building with communication. She recalled Gandhi’s invitation to silence, as a condition for communication, as well as Fernando Rielo’s ‘education in ecstasy’ for whom getting out of oneself is essential to listen to the other, and this is love.
The morning ended with the greeting of the Rector of the UPSA, Ms. Mirián Cortés, who highlighted the importance of so many young people committed to peace before whom “Pope Francisco would applaud”.
In the afternoon, Luis Casasús differentiated between the simple connection of unity, which implies the effort to work together with the same objective. He affirmed that it is the awareness of one’s own vulnerability that creates the unity and compassion necessary to transform one violent world into another of mutual care. Denying one’s own lack of incapacitates connection and collective responsibility.
Throughout the week, parliamentarians will work in commissions and plenary sessions, in which delegates will present each country’s proposal and do a synthesis and joint construction work until a final manifesto is reached. This will be presented at the general assembly on Saturday 3 August at the UPSA.