New Paths for Hope

Young People and Our Global Future

Aerial view of St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

June 13, 2024
2:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. CEST
Location: Villa Malta (Rome) Map

This event has been cancelled.

The younger generation is inheriting a broken world. The plague of nationalism and war, the surge of autocracy, and the persistence and depth of social inequality threaten hopes for a more peaceful, democratic, and inclusive future. How can we best accompany youth towards a hope-filled future? How can young people themselves chart an optimistic and productive path forward? The Community of Sant’Egidio and Georgetown University are convening a one-day conference in Rome to explore these questions.

The Community of Sant'Egidio began in 1968 as a student movement animated by the Gospel and dedicated to the renewal of the Church and society. While most well-known for its international peacemaking contributions, Sant’Egidio has always been active at the local level—in Rome and around the world—in solidarity with poor communities, refugees, prisoners, and others on the margins. Its work would not be possible without the idealism and passion of young people for justice.

Georgetown University, a Catholic and Jesuit university founded in 1789, is committed to the formation of students for lives of purpose in service to the common good. A global institution located in Washington, DC, Georgetown seeks to prepare young people to lead meaningful lives and address social and political challenges in a divided world. Fulfilling the mission of higher education today requires a readiness to listen to and engage with student hopes and aspirations.

The conference is hosted by the Community of Sant'Egidio and Georgetown University (led by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; Representative Office in Rome; and Collaborative on Global Children's Issues) and co-sponsored by La Civiltà Cattolica, Australian Catholic University, the Lay Centre, and the Notre Dame University Rome Global Gateway.


14:30 – 15:30 CET | Welcome and Keynote
Welcome | Rev. Nuno da Silva Gonçalves, S.J., Editor-in-Chief, La Civiltà Cattolica
Introduction | John J. DeGioia, President, Georgetown University
Keynote Address | Rev. John Dardis, S.J., General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning, Society of Jesus

15:30 – 16:45 CET | The Contemporary Challenges Facing Young People
Young people the world over face an unprecedented set of challenges. The experience of the pandemic and its isolation has taken a toll, reinforced by the divisive effects of social media. Entrenched social inequality and high rates of youth unemployment in many parts of the world are an ongoing problem, and mental health concerns are on the rise. How are these and other interrelated challenges impacting young people today, and how can we—young and old—best address those challenges creatively in our schools and in our communities?

Eleanor Daugherty, Vice President for Student Affairs, Georgetown University
Anna De Marchi, Student, Sapienza Università di Roma
Claudio Betti, Director of Special Operations, Community of Sant’Egidio; Rome Campus Director, Australian Catholic University (moderator) 

The discussion with the audience will begin with reflections from three students in attendance, representing different experiences and points of view.

16:45 – 17:15 CET | Coffee Break

17:15 – 18:30 CET | Young People as Agents for Change: Resources within the Catholic Tradition
Over the past several decades the Church has largely failed to engage and lift up young people. The clerical abuse crisis and a broader secularization trend have driven many away, compounding the effects of decades of often ineffective catechesis. The global polycrisis may be an opportunity to revive those aspects of Catholic social teaching with the capacity to inspire youth, from solidarity and the preferential option for the poor to care for our common home. How can the Church and its institutions accompany young people into a hope-filled future?

Sr. Linda Pocher, FMA, Lecturer, Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences Auxilium
Pietro Bartoli, Sant’Egidio Solidarity Project Programme Director, Community of Sant’Egidio
Thomas Banchoff, Vice President for Global Engagement, Georgetown University (moderator)

The discussion with the audience will begin with reflections from three students in attendance, representing different experiences and points of view.

18:30 19:30 CET | Reception

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