During the last weekend of May, one hundred Korean youths gathered together for the annual Youth for United World Korea workshop. This workshop was attended by many who were new to Y4UW and so the weekend was framed to introduce the movement with time spent learning about the ideals of Chiara and her vision of a united world through mutual understanding and love.
The weekend program consisted of icebreakers, a presentation on the works of Y4UW (both in the national and international context) as well as a program with the New Humanity Movement. While the preparation for the programs were not easy, each program played an important role to our theme of Empathy. Be it a time of laughter and festivities, or a time of introspection and meditation, the participants of the workshop showed great desire for understanding and passion through each of the activities. In the end, we were able to discover a new light within ourselves, as well as within each other.
A program that particularly helped us discover this light began as a discussion of how we could learn to connect in mind, heart and spirit to the issues in the world around us. With the news of the suffering, pain, and devastation through the recent earthquakes and aftershocks in South Asia, the Korean youths felt compelled to move, and we decided to start there.
Unfortunately, we quickly realized a sad reality. The reality that while many of us want to do something, we have lost the ability to truly feel for those who are suffering and thus, we fail to act meaningfully. With your help, we were able to get in contact with Youth for United World in India and Nepal, and through them, not only were we able to better understand the situation (especially from the perspective of another youth), but we were able to begin making bridges of the mind, heart and spirit that would allow us to speak and act with the language of compassion. For this we are grateful.
Roshan and Sona (Y4UW and Gen) shared with us stories that showed their hearts of charity and compassion. Even in the midst of their own burdens, their conviction and drive to bring what small joy they could to those around them was truly inspiring.
Yamann and his family (Y4UW) detailed for us the depth of the devastation that they are currently facing. Their story helped us to realize that while the earthquakes may be over, the unstable conditions in which many are still displaced in is just as much of a threat to the life and safety of those in the affected areas.
Jo and her family (Focolare Volunteer) have been spending their days working hard to build resilient homes for displaced families. Their compassion shines like a beacon of hope in certain darkness.
Lastly, we received a heartfelt video from Laxman (Y4UW and Gen) which was a precious gift to the Korean Youths. All of these stories combined had the effect of helping to soften and open the hardened hearts and closed minds of so many of us.
This gifts that we received from members of Y4UW has started a movement within the Korean Y4UW. Using the open space format of ideation, we have started brainstorming ways we can stand together with those who are suffering in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
These bridges help us all to realize that the stories of those around the world are not just words on a page, but true realities that affect all of us. This is why we must keep strengthening our connections, and continue to share our burdens, hopes, and dreams with each other so that we can move, cry, and act as one United World.
On the last day of the workshop, many youths took the opportunity to share their experiences. A message that particularly resonated with us was by a youth new to the Y4UW movement. He shared that learning about Y4UW has given him hope for the youths of the world. Not only this, but he also shared that if other young people continue on this road and take concrete actions with the ideals shared by Y4UW, then not only will we be dreaming of a better world- we will be living in it.
We want to thank the Youth for United World movement and our brothers and sisters from all over the world who are building bridges of compassion and understanding with each other.
Let us continue to build a United World!