Beyond all Borders: Three-day Youth-led Genfest Launched in Manila

6 July 2018

Genfest 2018 entitled “Beyond all Borders” was launched this morning with a loud roar in Filipino-style at the World Trade Center (WTC), Pasay City.

The youth-led international event organized by the Focolare Movement, allowing young people to experience crossing cultures and traditions with the goal of building a united world, is in its 11th edition.

The inauguration graced by the presence of distinguished guests including the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, His Excellency Gabriele Caccia, Tourism UnderSecretary Arturo P. Boncato, Jr., UN-International Organization for Migration (IOM)–Turkey, Mr. Rey Arnold Alamban, British actress and director Sarah Finch, with the representative of the Youth for a United World, Gio Francisco.

Maria Voce and Jesús Morán, Focolare President and Co-President, led the ribbon cutting ceremony at the entrance of WTC to officially open the first Genfest weekend held outside of Europe.

It was then followed by the opening of ExpLo (Exposition and Exploration), an interactive exhibit featuring the “history of humanity” from the perspective of universal brotherhood, designed to invite participants to be protagonists to the history of humanity as active builders of a world united.

“Yes, war is a reality, and yes, forced migration can morph into a migration crisis. Yet, we acknowledge that they are human-made, and as such, the solution can also be human-made,” UN-IOM Turkey Mr. Rey Arnold Alamban said.

In an inspiring note he ended, “…and what we are doing today, youths of different ethnicities, cultures, and religions, converging and demonstrating unity is one effective solution.”

Abp. Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, said and emphasized two words: inclusiveness and attraction. He said that the theme of the Genfest is opposite to what is trending in the world – exclusivity such as exclusive membership in this resort, in this club, etc. He also said that he brought with him the joy, benediction, and gratitude of Pope Francis.

Toward the afternoon, 6,000 young people from about 100 countries came together in colorful display of flags and banners with one witness, that truly a united world is possible.

Opening the second part of the day was an electrifying dance choreography from the Genfest dancers, Philippine All Stars, and DanceLab with a spectacular on-stage display of both physical and digital motion.

Moving experiences of building friendships despite territorial borders, political and religious struggles, pushing forth ideals and conflicting realities today were shared by youth from the United States, Mexico, Burundi, Rwanda, El Salvador, Japan, Italy, as well as the Philippines.

Creative group performances from various countries, with original songs and dances as display of these young people’s ideals were showcased.

They scream of changing perspectives and changing oneself to achieve changes they collectively strive for, letting the world know that being young isn’t a hindrance to carry out dreams and ideals.

The third part of the day, a Cultural Night, Asia is on focus where the Philippines boasted of ethnic and folk dances, followed by India, Nepal, Bangladesh, South Korea, Malaysia, and Indonesia. More than 20 Catholic bishops came too to be part of this celebration of cultures and traditions in Asia. Present were Abp. Romulo Valles, CBCP President, and Absp. Pablo David, CBCP Vice President.

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