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UNIV 2016: “Family Impact”

About 3,000 young people from 35 countries took part in the 49th UNIV Forum, which was held in Rome during Holy Week. The topic proposed this year for the reflection of the young people was “Family Impact.” The President of UNIV, Martijn Pouw from the Netherlands, said that “in an era such as ours, with a crisis in the realm of finances, culture and, above all, widespread loneliness, the witness of the family becomes ever more necessary.” The current Forum, according to Martijn Pouw, seeks to “highlight more clearly family values, and their contribution to making a more human society that can respond to the deepest requirements of the person.”

On Wednesday, March 23, the university students took part in the general audience with Pope Francis, who at the end of the gathering stopped to greet some of them. The students gave the Pope the money from a collection taken up among the participants, so that he could destine it to whatever social initiatives he wishes, in thanksgiving for the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Among the speakers invited to UNIV were Loreto Spá, an architect and professor at the University of Grenada; Alan Holdren, director of Aciprensa/EWTN in Rome; Jack Valero, coordinator and co-founder of Catholic Voices; Mario Marazziti, member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies; Tugdual Derville, director general of Alliance VITA and spokesman for La Manif pour tous; and Benigno Blanco, president of the Spanish Forum for the Family.

During these same days, the Incontro Romano was also held, centered on the topic “Home Made Happiness.” In addition, the Social Innovators Project presented volunteer and solidarity projects carried out by the university students.

Romana, No. 62, January-June 2016, pag. 144-145.