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Environment, conflicts and migrations – Italian camp in Rome!

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another”. This phrase by Mother Teresa of Calcutta encapsulates the logic that underpinned and moved all the participants in the FOCSIV Youth Camp, which took place in Rome in June 2022. The camp was supported by the “Change for the Planet – Care for the People” CIDSE initiative. The original article (in Italian) is available on the FOCSIV website:

Enthusiasm, participation, emotion, sowing, dynamism, fighting together, play, knowledge, harmony, understanding, relationship, friendship, opportunity, exchange, sharing, fighting together, energy… are just some of the words symbolizing the three days spent together. The desire to reflect and discuss, helped to address important issues such as: non-violence, war and the meetings with organizations and other young people were the main focus of this unforgettable camp!

The experience was a proposal of friendship without barriers between people who want to be a gift for each other. It is in this ‘relationship’ that made the camp great: all the limits inherent in human beings were transformed, becoming a common force. This is how emotions were readable in the eyes of those who participated, confirming how differences exist only in people’s heads, collapsing as soon as we listen to each other, get to know each other, and remember that we belong to each other.

The young participants put themselves on the line for an experience ‘to be told’ and told each other, leaving constructive reflections, even in the critical areas that always underlie people’s work, and they did so with great enthusiasm and a desire to see each other again!

The three days were punctuated by the interventions of speakers who animated the debate and helped to stimulate reflection and concrete commitment to active citizenship for peace and social cohesion.

The daily routine was marked by two strong moments: the morning, for reflections and debates and the afternoon, for meetings and sharing spaces of inclusion and life stories, often, stories of rebirth.

I am strongly interested in the topic of migrations and one of the most touching meetings for me was with Don Mattia Ferrari (Chaplain in the Diocese of Modena-Nonantola and on the Mare Jonio, the Mediterranea Saving Humans ship, engaged in the sea rescue of migrants and shipwrecked people). He stated that if the debate (on migrations) is made exclusively from the logic of geopolitics and people are not put at the centre, everything loses value. The person is never an abstract thing. Moreover, we have to remember that Tripoli is as valuable as Kiev. And we must be outraged at what has been happening in Libya since 2017. Our country is complicit in this way. We must acknowledge our responsibility for the death and drama of many people who were, and are, imprisoned there. The narrative existing today is that of ‘we’ are the subjects and ‘you’ are the objects. So ‘we’ save ‘you’. Pope Francis’ encyclical “Brothers All” states that as long as this dichotomy exists, there can be no brotherhood.

Ivana Borsotto, president of FOCSIV also intervened in a round table on migrations, saying that “on the subject of migration, we know that the Libya issue is very important and is a commitment that we as FOCSIV should take on. The migration policies that work are those that start with the countries of departure. We must ask the Italian government to open up the flows, and Europe to review the Dublin agreement. That morning was really inspiring and we pointed out the importance to explore and to put in practice intergenerational listening.

The three days of the camp were full of meaning and emotions, of strong topics and touching testimonies, of reflections and commitment, and ended with the strength of a reciprocal restitution, the fruit of sharing and the desire to act and see each other again. On the first day with Daniele Taurino, we mentioned several times the strength and commitment to be nonviolent, to act with conviction and awareness, to act according to our conscience, and we can only close this writing with the words of the great Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you would like to see happen in the world”.

Maria Grazia Meloni


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