Master Peace Ecology [Children-citizens in action]

Master Peace Ecology [Children-citizens in action]

Children-citizens in action: Master Peace Ecology![1]

To parents/teachers/educators...

This activity is promoted as part of the United World Project, in preparation for the United World Week 2022.

The United World Week 2022 (May 1-8, 2022) will be the culmination of Pathway 2021-2022: “DareToCare, people, the planet and our ecological conversion.”  (http://www.unitedworldproject.org/en/workshop/daretocare-2021-2022-daring-to-care-for-people-and-the-planet/)

In 2020, as part of the United World Week entitled "In Time for Peace", we had proposed a first “course” to become a Master PeaceMaker. (https://gen4.focolare.org/en/download/united-world-week-2020-masterpeace-to-become-superheroes-of-peace/) 

It was an itinerary to discover some of the values that are the basis for a more human, fraternal and peaceful world. We believe that a true future of peace is built by giving children the opportunity to participate in real life, as true protagonists of change. While in full lockdown due to the pandemic, some modules were prepared that could be carried out by individual children, accompanied mainly by their parents.

 Why this “Master Peace Ecology” now? This year we would like to go deeper in some of the topics previously discussed in the first course, highlighting the link between working for peace and all the other ecological and social issues. The course is based on the concept of integral ecology, which is endorsed in both religious[2] and civil[3] sectors.

What is “Master Peace Ecology?” This year we propose, as far as possible (while observing all the current regulations in effect in each country regarding the pandemic), to encourage cooperation among children, to promote the exchange of ideas, to "infect" each other, so to speak, to think about the environment, working in groups with other associations, with schools, parishes and also with people in their own neighborhood. Each group must be accompanied by at least two adults[4] as reference points who will accompany the group and also present the project upon its completion. The group will choose its own name and gradually determine how it will be organized. The adults "accompanying" the children along this path will try to facilitate the whole process, to present the various stages and examples, and will aim as much as possible to promote the children’s awareness and active involvement, to stimulate and guide the children, without interfering too much and allowing them to take the initiative.

The children are the major players, the one who initiate this project – they are children-citizens in action!

 How to obtain the certificate of Master Peace Ecology:

Once the group is formed and a name is chosen, the first stage of the process can be introduced. It is intended as a starting point only, an aid to help the children observe their surroundings. It is aimed at stimulating an initial awareness and encouraging personal and group reflection. Then, two paths are proposed, which are equally important and underline different but complementary aspects of an integral ecological approach. They are: to work for peace and to care for all of creation, which includes both people and the environment. We suggest selecting one of these two, considering that it might not be possible to thoroughly explore both paths and also to be able to implement something concrete in just a few months. However, each group is free to develop their project as they will. In addition to the material provided in the course, we have included other materials that can be used as a further incentive. Since we are addressing this project to groups all over the world, we thought it might be useful for the adult companions to introduce to the children material from other cultures, such as stories, fables, sayings and so on. This can give the children a wider understanding of each topic according to different cultural groups. The final stage will be the same for everyone. It requires two proposals that are considered important in order to support and encourage the role of children, as outlined in the Global Educational Pact. In fact, its second point recommends: “Listen to the new generations.”[5]  Therefore, we propose not only that you send us the description of the project chosen and carried out by the children, but also a message/proposal to be sent to people who can help to accomplish their dreams - school superintendents, mayors and other local administrators, politicians at all levels, etc.

How will Master Peace Ecology be concluded?

The report of the ideas and projects accomplished by the group, together with the message/proposal for civic leaders can be sent by the adults who are working with the children by May 6, 2022 to the following e-mail address: gen4@focolare.org. All groups that submit any material, together with the registration form, will receive a “certificate of participation.” Projects that arrive by April 15-20, 2022, may be presented during the United World Week 2022. An international jury will select the three entries judged of greatest impact and usefulness and these will be illustrated in comic strip format (in such cases, the parents of minors who are part of these groups will be asked to sign a waiver allowing use of the images and the names of the children). These chosen entries will then be presented at a global online event in June (“Global Meeting Kids Gen 4”), as well as being posted on the Gen 4[6] website (https://gen4.focolare.org/) and printed in the Italian BIG[7] magazine.

For further and updated information, please visit the website: https://gen4.focolare.org/en/

“Master Peace Ecology” will end...but the commitment to keep working together for a better world will never end!

[1] Peace-Ecology: we refer to the concept of integral ecology (cf. Laudato Sì of Pope Francis), in line with the seven paths proposed in the Global Educational Pact promoted by Pope Francis in his video message of 10-15-2020, wherein he hopes for a new season of educational commitment that involves all parts of society. Hence, he invites families, communities, schools, universities, institutions, religions and political leaders, men and women of culture, science and sport, artists, media operators and all of humanity to adhere to this educational pact by personally committing themselves to seven paths - 1: Putting people at the center; 2: Listening to the younger generations; 3: Promoting the role of women; 4: Making the family responsible; 5: Being open; 6: Renewing the economy and politics; 7: Caring for our common home.

[2] See the Joint Appeal signed on October 4, 2021, by close to 40 religious leaders during a conference in the Vatican promoted by the Holy See and the British and Italian ambassadors to the Holy See. This joint appeal was presented by Pope Francis to the President-designate of the COP26, Alok Sharma, and to the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon Luigi Di Maio.

[3] The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an action plan for people, the planet and the future that takes into account the need to support universal peace and freedom, to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions, and to achieve a sustainable transformation of society, the economy and the environment by 2030. In fact, it is understood that for development to be sustainable, it must integrate economic growth, environmental protection and human and social rights. Only in this way will it preserve the planet for future generations from an ecological, social and civil perspective.

[4] The criteria laid down in the Guidelines for the Wellbeing and Protection of Minors implemented by the Focolare Movement (https://www.focolare.org/en/download/linee-guida-focolari-protection-minors/) requires the presence of at least two adult companions.

Attached to this note is the STATEMENT ON THE PROTECTION OF PERSONAL DATA

[5] Point 2: Listen to the new generations: To listen to the voices of children, teens and young people to build together a future of justice and peace, a life worthy of each person.

[6] The Gen 4 are the children of the Focolare Movement (from 4 to 8/9 years old). They live the spirituality of unity of the Focolare Movement and commit themselves daily to live for a more united world and to spread the values of peace and universal brotherhood.

[7]  BIG - Bambini In Gamba (Clever Children), by Città Nuova Publishing House: an interactive monthly magazine for children up to 10 years of age, with games, comics, short stories, true stories, and trivia. It fosters a pedagogy “of the positive” through the promotion of values such as hospitality, peace, solidarity, universal brotherhood.

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