About 4,000 "superheroes" invaded Rome from 27 to 30 November 2019. They were the young participants at the Children's Global Summit, organized by FIDAE (Federation of Catholic Primary and Secondary Schools). The meeting’s highest moment was the encounter with Pope Francis.
«I like to see beauty in action in your daily work. A beauty formed by the sharing of many small gestures. I am reminded of the art of mosaics, in which many pieces are integrated to form a larger image. Seen up close, those little pieces of stone seem to have no meaning, but together they create an amazing vision». This is how Pope Francis welcomed to the Paul VI Hall the participants in the international event entitled, “Children’s global summit” organized by FIDAE (Federation of Catholic Primary and Secondary Schools). About 4,000 people, including children and young people aged 6 to 16 years old, accompanying adults, and parents from over 60 countries, including Italy.
Those young "superheroes" are the protagonists of the "I Can" project, inspired by Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato si’, which experiments with the adoption of the student-centered methodological approach from Design for change, created in India in 2009 from an insight of Kiran Bir Sethi to improve some aspects of the “rigidity” of the traditional educational system that is already currently implemented in many countries all over the world.
Through the Design for Change method, educators provide children and young people with the tools to become agents of change themselves, engaging in the transformation of their own contexts, sharing what has been achieved to inspire and ‘contaminate’ others.
Thus, with the slogan, "I CAN!" they change the lives of many through: reforestation; combating bullying in schools; avoiding exclusion and generating empathy; saving and decontaminating water; fighting youth suicide and forced marriages; saving energy; etc. In this way, they contribute to achieving the 17 Objectives of Sustainable Development of the Agenda 2030, the program of action for people, the planet, and prosperity, signed in September 2015 by the governments of the 193 member countries of the UN. «We cannot run the risk of Prometheus» explained Bergoglio, recalling the young man who wanted to replace God in the myth. «Sometimes we too, without realizing it, fall into this temptation, when our “I” becomes the centre of everything and everyone. Instead, […] We must not be deceived and fall into the trap of exclusivity. You have understood that “I can” must become “we can together”. Together it is more beautiful and more effective! I can, we can, together».
The Holy Father then encouraged them to continue along their path by participating in the Global Compact on Education, thus contributing to the implementation of the "global village of education", with the help of their teachers and parents. «What I am so pleased about – he concluded – is that you have preferred solidarity, joint work and responsibility to so many other things that the world offers you. In fact, that is it: certain things amuse you for a moment, and then that is it. Instead, this commitment together gives you a satisfaction that remains within. This is also the fruit of an educational method that involves the head, hands and heart, that is, our different dimensions, which are always connected to each other. That is why you seem happier to me than those who have everything and do not want to give anything. You are happier than those who want everything and give nothing. Only through giving can happiness be achieved (cf. Acts 20: 35)».