Pope Francis announces ‘global village’ alliance for education, environment

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Vatican City, Sep 12, 2019 / 09:25 am (CNA).- Pope Francis announced Thursday his newest initiative to form an international and interreligious alliance, which he described as “global village” to educate each child and promote care for the earth.

“Never before has there been such need to unite our efforts in a broad educational alliance, to form mature individuals capable of overcoming division and antagonism, and to restore the fabric of relationships for the sake of a more fraternal humanity,” Pope Francis said in a video message announcing the educational initiative Sept. 12.

“I renew my invitation to dialogue on how we are shaping the future of our planet and the need to employ the talents of all, since all change requires an educational process aimed at developing a new universal solidarity and a more welcoming society,” he said.

The focal point of this initiative will be an international event hosted at the Vatican on May 14, 2020 on “Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance,” which “the most significant personalities of the political, cultural and religious world” will be invited to attend.

Pope Francis said that he chose May 2020 to mark the fifth anniversary of his environmental encyclical “Laudato si,” dated May 24, 2015 and later published on June 18 of that year.

The pope called for “an alliance … between the earth’s inhabitants and our ‘common home’, which we are bound to care for and respect. An alliance that generates peace, justice and hospitality among all peoples of the human family, as well as dialogue between religions.”

“According to an African proverb, ‘it takes a whole village to educate a child.’ We have to create such a village before we can educate,” Francis said.

“In this kind of village it is easier to find global agreement about an education that integrates and respects all aspects of the person, uniting studies and everyday life, teachers, students and their families, and civil society in its intellectual, scientific, artistic, athletic, political, business and charitable dimensions,” he said.

Pope Francis said that “the ground must be cleared of discrimination” to allow human fraternity to flourish in this “shared journey as an educating village.” He outlined several principles to reach these global objectives, including placing the human person at the center of a sound anthropology and training young people to readily offer themselves in service to the community.

The goal of the initiative is “to raise awareness and a wave of responsibility for the common good of humanity, starting from the young and reaching all men of good will,” according to the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education spearheading the 2020 event.

The congregation said that Pope Francis’ proposal continues the tradition of Catholic commitment to education in schools and universities, as well as to intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

“Education reaches its goal if it can form people capable of walking together on the paths of encounter, dialogue and sharing, in respect, in esteem and in mutual acceptance,” states an explanatory note published by the Congregation for Catholic Education Sept. 12.

“Education is a formidable tool for consolidating a process of inclusion that extends to the entire human family,” it concludes.

The congregation describes how education should foster “ecological citizenship” ensuring that a greater “awareness of the gravity of the cultural and ecological crisis” will be “translated into new habits.”

The Congregation for Catholic Education will host a series of seminars leading up to the May 2020 educational alliance event. The first will take place Sept. 16-17 on “Democracy: An educational urgency in multi-cultural and multi-religious contexts.”

“I invite everyone to work for this alliance and to be committed, individually and within our communities, to nurturing the dream of a humanism rooted in solidarity and responsive both to humanity’s aspirations and to God’s plan,” Pope Francis said.

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