The Meeting takes center stage: the “edges” pass by Rimini

Press Meeting

Once again, the Meeting takes center stage with guests from 24 countries, joined by 141 volunteers, coming from 19 nations (Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, Haiti, Kosovo, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, United States, Switzerland and Ukraine).

The crisis in Palestine, but also its hopes for peace and dialogue, is the focus of the opening session with the Holy Land’s Custodian Pierbattista Pizzaballa. The Middle East will be the protagonist of some exhibits: the one dedicated to Syria “From the Depths of Time: the Origins of Communication and Community in Ancient Syria”, presented in a conference and a workshop, with the participation of Maamoun Abdulkarim, General Director of Antiquities in Syria, Thomas Gamkrelidze, Honorary President of the Georgian Academy of Science, David Lordkipanidze, Director of the Excavations of Dmanisi and General Director of the Georgian National Museum (GNM).

From Egypt comes the SWAP (Share With All People) group: an example of friendship among university students of different religions. Usamah Elabed, Law Professor at the Al-Azhar University, and Wael Farouq, Visiting Professor of Arabic Language at the Catholic University of Milan accompany the students.

The conflicts in Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan will be the protagonists of the closing session titled “Witnesses of Freedom”, which will take place on Saturday, August 30th. The speakers will be: Paul Jacob Bhatti, Chairman of the Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Trust, Pakistan; H.E. Msgn. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Nigerian Bishops’ Conference; Domenico Quirico, Correspondent for La Stampa; H.E. Msgn. Shlemon Warduni, Auxiliary Bishop of the Patriarchate of Babylon, Iraq, of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Iran, Cyprus, Georgia and Turkey are the countries explored by the exhibit “Parables of the East. Christianity and the Challenge of the new Millennium”.

From Turkey, we will jump to the concert of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra (led by the well-known Conductor Eduard Topchjan and with the extraordinary participation of the famous violin player Anush Nikoghosyan) and to Kurdistan, listening to their traditional folk music.

An important contribution from the Far East is provided by Shodo Habukawa, Buddhist monk from Mount Koya (Japan), who will speak during the session titled “How Can We Experience Faith in the Contemporary World? Modernity of Don Giussani’s Life”.

Back to Africa, through the double acrobatic theatrical performances from Kenya, titled “The Strange Tree-Una fame che non ci vedo”.
Touching testimonies from the AVSI (The Association of Volunteers in International Service) exhibit titled “Generating Beauty. New Beginnings at the Edges of Earth” come from Kenya, as well as Ecuador and Brazil.

From the depth of the black continent comes the exhibit “From the Edges of Christianity. Ethiopia will raise its hands to God. Images of an ancient tradition”. Its public presentation will be held on August 27th, at the presence of Teklè Mekonnen, President of the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic University of Addis Abeba, and H. E. Msgn. Silvano Maria Tommasi, Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations. During the conference, a written contribution from H. E. Albrecht von Boeselager – Grand Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sovereign Order of Malta – will be read.

Europe will of course be at the center of attention: Professor Joseph H.H. Weiler, President of the European University Institute, will talk about the theme “Europe: Ideal or Idolatry?” with Andrea Simoncini, Professor of Constitutional Law at the Florence University.

Brad Gregory, History Professor from Notre Dame University (USA), and Adrian Pabst, Lecturer in Politics at the University of Kent, Canterbury (UK), will address the question: “Who secularized Europe?”.

Ukraine, between war and hope, will be at the center of the XXXV edition of the Meeting with two important events: the testimony by Professor Aleksander Filonenko – Professor of Philosophy at National University of Char’kov, Ukraine, addressing the theme of the Meeting current edition and the speech of Constantin Sigov – Philosopher and Professor at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine.

We will then move from Ukraine to Russia and Lithuania, through the exhibit “Tolstoj. A Cry and its Answers” and the relevant presentation by Valentina Alekseeva, Curator of the Tolstoj Museum of Moscow, as well as the traditional Lithuanian folk music performance.

Two important voices are arriving from the Church of Spain: Javier Echevarrìa Rodrìguez, Prelate of Opus Dei and Ignacio Carbajosa Pérez, Professor of Old Testament at the San Dámaso Theological University of Madrid.
From “the end of the world”, Carlos “Charly” Olivero, will accompany us in a trip amongst the Argentinian curas villeros of Pope Bergoglio.
To remain in the American continent, intellectuals of the caliber of Orlando Carter Snead – Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame – and Professor Christopher Impey – Deputy Head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona – will be among our speakers. Impey will speak about “The Fascination of Research: from the Specifics to the Universal”, with Yves Coppens – French Paleontologist and Paleoanthropologist, Honorary Professor at the College de France – and Laurent Lafforgue – Professor at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, France.
Dr. Lester Salamon – Director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies (USA) – will talk about “Welfare and Finances for the Common Good”, and José Medina – Science Teacher – will talk about education.
“La lezione di Obama. Come vincere le elezioni nell’era della politica 2.0” (Obama’s Lesson. How to Win the Election in the Politics 2.0 Era)” is one of the “invitation to read” appointments: the book by Stefano Lucchini (Advanced School of Journalism at the Catholic University of Milan) will be presented by James Hansen, Chairman and CEO of Milan-based PR agency Hansen Worldwide.
Francisco Marmolejo, World Bank’s Lead Tertiary Education Specialist, will speak about “University and Occupation”. Marva Griffin, member of the Philip Johnson Architecture and Design Committee at the MoMA in New York, and Augusto Massari – Counselor at the Embassy of Italy in Beijing – will be the speakers at the session “What Does the World like about Italy?” moderated by the Irish journalist John Waters.