This “Magna Charta of youth in the school of hope” presents the results of the work done by thousands of young people involved in the World Youth Parliament, a global forum for dialogue created by Fernando Rielo Pardal (1923-2004) and promoted by the International Idente Youth.
The whole work was really a deepening of understanding about one of the ten values of the “Magna Charta of Values for a New Civilization” that had been approved by the WYP in the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, on August 13, 2010. This edition of the Manifesto focused on Educational Relationships. In the future, WYP will concentrate on still other values of the Magna Charta.
This Manifesto on Education is the product of three years of team work in each member nation, and achieving its international character, as the WYP held its third International General Assembly in Berlin from August 9th -15th, 2014. The final document was publicly presented on August 14, 2014 in the presence of civil and religious authorities at the Humboldt University of Berlin. The WYP’s intention in working out this Manifesto is to serve as inspiration for all those persons who, by their daily actions, make education a vital institution in today’s society.
To you, our parents…
… because your commitment is life’s most demanding commitment; because to care for a human being, who is born and grows up, gives a unique satisfaction; for not being afraid to carry out your role with firmness and at the same time with tenderness and respect for our liberty; because some of us understand rather late in life the great value of your paternity and maternity, and because no one can take your place in our lives. In your arms we have been formed as persons; you have helped us grow in critical spirit, to look for something more in life and to shape our own future. We want to express our gratitude in this letter, and we want to keep up our sincere dialogue with you.
To you, teachers, professors…
… because you have such a noble task and you are like clay-potters for us; you have helped us discover our mission, and you have taught us the value of many things that –without you- we would have needed much more time to discover them. You are a role-model of behavior, and you have dedicated extra time to us when we needed it; you have tried to draw out the very best of ourselves, taking a great interest in our way of thinking. We wish that this letter to you will help you to regain strength, enthusiasm, the pleasure of being alongside human beings who are learning and coming out of their difficulties. We really want you to be in peace, because we are conscious that even though those who educate can make mistakes, this never prevents us from receiving what is most important.
To you, beloved society…
… because you never stop looking for the truth. We wish that you will never give up in attributing meaning to your existence, in asking yourself about the existence of God, of looking for answers, of searching through so many paradigms to find ones that are different from consumerism and competitiveness. That solidarity be the motor that puts you into action, that makes us grow together toward a shared good. We write to you while we are still young, and we don’t have much experience, but in you we find persons with an immense human potential, and together with them we want to sow the seeds of a civilization that is different from the present-day one. May this letter help you to take charge of your destiny.
To you, politicians and governors of the world…
… because the exercise of government is necessary in the world; because we depend upon your good use of power, and the lives of so many people are in your hands. We feel impotent as we face the panorama we want so much to transform, and we want to trust in your courage and integrity. We hope that this letter will help you to be more identified with your people, the ones you represent, and to be more committed to your historical legacy. Now is the time for change and action.
To all of you who are responsible for the communications media, and also all who use them…
… because your mission is truly admirable for the development of society that so heavily depends upon information. You have in your hands the power to show us what is good, and not only what is bad; to give us alternative ways of action, good role-models, exemplary stories that can help those who are currently in need; to show us solutions, and not only problems. With this Letter we encourage you to live with valor, trust, altruism. In it, you will find a message we would like to transmit to the world: “project the real world, which is so much more exciting, over and above any kind of screen.” Don’t allow for ignorance: open us up to new horizons of knowledge that truly are worth exploiting.
Observation of facts, causes and consequences
In our present-day society, we observe many positive facts, but, at the same time, we see realities that are in crisis and necessarily have to find ways of resolution. There is a relativization and a lack of human and transcendent values. It is, indeed, worrisome that we act out of egoistic values, individualism, hypocrisy, materialistic consumerism, personality cult, the quest for popularity or social prestige, etc. As a result, those who govern the nations are almost always seeking their own interests, and they easily fall into corruption. Society itself often takes part in this corruption. There are rather few organizations or persons genuinely concerned about education, and that education be truly integral. There aren’t many good role-models in society, and we tend to follow ideologies or imitate social models that are negative or inadequate. Unfortunately, such role-models are widely publicized by many communication networks, and they are focused on superficiality, hedonism, frivolity, lies or economic interests.
As those who are being educated, we recognize the work of our families, professors and other persons who have contributed to our education, but we also observe that education is often moved by interests that are quite distant from personal development like political and economic interests; very frequently, education is incomplete, discriminating, depersonalized, prejudiced, so overly theoretical and focused on employment that it transforms us into consumer items, privileging those who possess more or who are more powerful. The development of virtues is lacking.
We feel the pressure, on the one hand, of an education to which we have to dedicate progressively more and more years; a type of education that promotes exaggerated competitiveness, generating uncertainty about our professional future, and excluding those of us who have different problems or difficulties. On the other hand, our educators aren’t always role-models, or they have given up on their role as educators; they don’t allow us to express ourselves, or they don’t make room for our creativity. Many parents have not been sufficiently prepared to carry out their role as educators, and they do not commit themselves to us for educating us, at times they even resolve their disagreements in ways that are not exemplary; they want to manage or control our future, without listening to us; and either they don’t spend enough time with us or they overprotect us. Many parents and teachers do not have time to listen to us, because they are immersed in their jobs. As a result, many of us are lacking a critical, reflective spirit; we are not enthusiastic about studying, and we are afraid of the future; we imitate the fashion trends, and we do not mature personally.
As teachers, we observe that we are subject to state norms. We have not been trained for anything other than teaching courses. We are obliged to focus on the subject matter and comply with academic programming; we are not allowed to make room for formation of our students in principles and values. Many students come to school with deficiencies: lack of motivation, inappropriate attitudes, family problems or dependence on technology. Many parents either give up their educational role or they delegate it to us in the school. As a result, the educational relationship is distorted; it requires a great effort to keep up a study environment; the quality of learning declines. Lack of support from the authorities, as well as from the parents, together with the low esteem that society gives to our profession, converge upon us and pressure us to diminish our formative role.
What does it mean to educate?
We understand education to be a process of the person’s integral formation and improvement; it serves and develops, therefore, all the levels of the person’s nature (corporal, psychological and spiritual), starting from his personal capacities and cultural heritage, extracting the best of himself from within. It prepares the person for life and helps him to grow in values, with liberty and responsibility; it impulses his personal vocation and social dimension; it teaches with authenticity (by means of the virtue of personal example) to live together in fraternity and peace; it empowers healthy relationships with transcendence, with other people and with the environment, developing the ecstasy of the person (capacity to go beyond oneself). It is founded on role-models, who grant the maximum dignity to the person, following the main model of Jesus Christ. It can be either formal or informal. It begins in the family and continues throughout one’s entire life. There are various agents that are responsible for education (such as parents, school, society, communications media, etc.) as well as the person himself.
How do we wish the new civilization to be?
We wish to form a new civilization of persons who aspire to have a fulfilled life with a transcendent meaning; who live values and virtues that dignify the human being. Humility and simplicity favor openness and the desire to learn from others, and they allow us to build each other up despite social and cultural differences. We would also like to live more strongly values such as forgiveness, tolerance, gratitude, justice, responsibility and the attitude of service. Faith, hope and love are virtues that refer to transcendence, and they are timeless. This is why we do not want ideological reasons to exclude these virtues from our educational environments.
We believe in the importance of looking for the common good without any kind of discrimination. As a result humanity will become more welcoming. Because education favors the overcoming of individual difficulties, it is especially concerned about the members of society who need the most help on the personal and the global level. We opt for a culture in favor of the respect for every human life from conception to natural death. We choose a culture of peace in which conflicts are resolved by dialogue, wisdom and reciprocal dependence for help, without closing up on ourselves and without seeking our own interests, benefitting from them as opportunities for learning.
We want to build a world where the human person and his openness to transcendence are at the center, instead of money and consumerism, in such a way that all the structures constituted by the human being may foster a genuine integral development of all and each of its members.
We want a civilization that looks for the truth and does research about it: one of the fundamental truths we would like to know more deeply refers to what is understood when we say “human dignity”, since precisely from this derives the way in which we treat each other, both personally and socially.
We want to live in a society that promotes culture, above and beyond mere entertainment. We would like to count on governors that feel called to serve the society and who use their power well, knowing how to identify themselves with the people they represent, and seeking long-term solutions, with transcendent meaning. We want the information offered by the different communications media to be objective and coherent with reality, avoiding the excess of superfluous information and its manipulation to satisfy their own interests.
To educate ourselves in fraternity
Fraternity is the essential dimension of man that is reflected in knowing how to live together and to care for each other with a sense of responsibility, respect and attitude of service, putting our talents and capacities at the disposition of others. Considering that all of humanity forms a single family, we are aware that we are all brothers and sisters, driven by love and the higher values of life. We must make a greater effort to be more united, always integrating everyone; fostering dialogue among us without allowing ourselves to be caught in prejudices, but rather enhancing everyone’s virtues.
In a world rooted in fraternity, we give priority to personal development and well-being, over and above other economic and political factors, when it comes to defining objectives in education and professional training. We want to put the best of ourselves at the service of others, to learn to live fraternity over and above competitiveness, not with any perspective of destroying our fellow man.
We always want to act in the direction that most ennobles us, recognizing our weaknesses and overcoming our instincts and selfishness. We are conscious that, first of all, by our own effort, we should reach peace within ourselves in order to be able to transmit it to others. We want to live transcendence as a desire to be-more, to love with generosity, fidelity and the selfless disposition to help others.
To educate for hope. We hope…
…to revive hope in our society so that a new fraternal world be possible. We believe that life has a great meaning through the power of love. We want to have our hearts clean and we want to keep them clean, steering away from superficial ways of seeking happiness. And we will encourage others to do the same. We want to be young people who are free, brave and sure of ourselves, able to overcome any obstacles that may come our way. We commit ourselves to seek out the beauty and transcendental purpose of Humanity, and thus to make it a reality in our lives.
…to create an ethical, professional and spiritual structure that governs society with values. We realize that human life is both a gift and a task, a free and responsible project for which we must surpass limits and barriers. In education, it is necessary to be aware that many results can only be seen in the long run, and we cannot get discouraged during life’s difficulties.
…to have role-models that inspire us; to become reference-points for people around us so that we can help them with our example and witness. We want to be motivated persons that see the talents in others, positively influencing them to be able to accompany them in discovering their mission, while accomplishing our own as well. We intend to develop the capacity to educate ourselves to form our personality, to overcome mediocrity, to be courageous, and not to abandon that effort to achieve our dreams and help others to achieve theirs.
…to uphold a high expectation of our students. It is necessary to be tolerant with people and always hope for the best from them, correcting or guiding with patience, kindness and the wisdom that comes from within us, teaching them to do the same. We dream that education could cover the needs and concerns of each person, truly caring for the students, being interested in their personal reality so as to better serve their singular characteristics.
How to build spaces of hope together?
To achieve building a civilization of love we will be perseverant, faithful to our dreams of fraternity, values and ethical principles on our way to fulfilling this mission. We will always be coherent with what we dream, what we say, and what we do, in every place and every moment.
We will generate living channels of communication for a shared formation between schools and families, potentiating the role of parents with formative support. Starting from the respect created in the family, we want to empower them, working together, both educators and those who are educated, that is to say, the whole society.
Our actions will be rooted in deep internal silence as not to fall into a frenzy filled with useless thoughts. Not to do things in just any haphazard way or because of self-interest, but rather to be generous and honest. We value a respectful sense of humor and the importance of forgiving with the help of love and of faith. To give the best of ourselves, overcoming egoism.
Our first concern is empowering children with integral development. We also want to be like children in our curiosity for learning and in our spiritual sensitivity. We want to awaken the deep “I” of the human being, and to give transcendent meaning to our action day by day.
We will seek to educate ourselves to be educators, to transmit love and passion from our own personal experiences patiently hoping that our labor will always bear fruits, even when not visible. We consider it important to educate concretely about how to live values in our daily lives.
In the event that we witness injustices, we believe that we should fearlessly denounce them using the adequate channels to achieve the change we hope for. We should also gently tell our educators when something does not edify us; recognizing also their virtues explicitly and gratefully.
We commit ourselves to being informed about reality, to dedicate less time to vain and useless activities, and more time to informing and forming ourselves with critical spirit. We also want to dedicate more time to others through volunteer activities or simply through a more listening attitude with interest in others.
We want to transmit, first of all with our example, the ideas of the WYP to the various institutions to which we belong, developing in the youth a knowledge, free of prejudices, that seeks to build a civilization of love. We intend to carry out communication campaigns and strategies, as well as social projects in order to transmit the message of the WYP.
If you want to sign this Manifesto fill in the form below:
If you want to know and sign also the “Magna Charta of values for a new civilization” adopted by the WYP at 2010 in New York, visit the following links: