The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development brought Pope Francis’s message of gratitude alongside his call to continue working for the regeneration of the economy to the global and regional event, The Economy of Francesco 2021, that took place on 2 October in Assisi and connected online with many countries around the world.
In collaboration with the Dicastery, the international movement of young economists inspired by Pope Francis (EoF), gathered in person at regional hubs to share pathways and create partnerships, and virtually to celebrate the fruits of two years of EoF’s action, commitment, and community.
At the Italy Regional Hub event, Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, Secretary ad interim of the Dicastery encouraged young people present saying, “Pope Francis knows you are already changing the world. He is very proud of you.”
At the event promoted in Madrid by the Spain Regional Hub, Marta Pedrajas, coordinator of the "Person and Society" sector of the Dicastery, spoke - in video from Assisi - about the role of responsible consumption and encouraged dialogue between faith and economy.
Leading up to the global event, the Dicastery co-organized the three-day forum, “Encounter in Nairobi,” with EoF and the Jesuit Ecology Network Africa (JENA) as an opportunity to listen to one another in the spirit of solidarity. Twenty-six young professionals* from Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia examined the root causes of challenges facing the African continent and committed to being catalysts for a future where the dignity of each person is recognized and nobody is left behind. Fr. Dominic Chai, S.J., Jesuit economist of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission, attended the meeting in Nairobi on behalf of the Dicastery: "Encountering the young people here in Africa, who continue to answer Pope Francis’s invitation to reanimate the post-pandemic world, has been an uplifting and humbling experience. It is my hope that we continue to walk with them in order to perceive and discern where the Spirit is leading our world and our Church" he said.
Young entrepreneurs, economists, and changemakers from five continents are working to give meaning and purpose to our economies. Mateusz Ciasnocha, a regenerative agriculture farmer from Poland and member of the EoF community, noted that young people are the protagonists of change in the current and future economy, and are living out Laudato si’ in action. They are concrete examples of why the world is better now than it was a few years ago.
The international online event promoted an integral approach to rethink, reimagine and reanimate the economy, enriching the topics of poverty, work, economy, ecology, and enterprise with poetry, spirituality, art, and music.
The projects presented at regional hubs and during the international online event reflected the diverse ways young people are building the future they want, so that we can move from what is already to what is not yet. High-level participants in dialogue with members of EoF included Vandana Shiva, Partha Dasgupta, Sabina Alkire, Stefano Mancuso, and Jeffrey Sachs.
In his message to the EoF community, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude for the enthusiasm they bring to their mission of regenerating a new economy that is more just, sustainable, and solidarity-based. He celebrated the efforts of young people around the world to promote a new integral paradigm capable of informing the next generation of economists and business people with respect for our interconnection with the earth and our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.