Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, is visiting the UK next month. The key focus of her work and that of the Focolare is to foster unity and dialogue at all levels, and especially in the fields of ecumenism, interfaith relations, economics and politics. Her visit will include a lectures at St Mary's College, Twickenham, on 16 June. On June 19 she will share an ecumenical platform at Westminster Central Hall with leaders from other faiths. She will address parliamentarians at the Palace of Westminster on 22 June. (For more details of these events check our Listings pages). Chiara Lubich started the Focolare Movement in Trent, Northern Italy in 1943. Its spirituality is based on the Gospel. Although originating in the Catholic Church, the Focolare Movement has spread to 198 countries, with more than two million members belonging to all Christian churches, and the major world religions. 'Unity' is the keynote of the many dialogues Chiara has initiated and nurtured with Christians of all persuasions since the late 1950s in Europe and later with Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Jews, both in their frameworks as majority religions in specific countries and as minorities in multicultural societies. She is an honorary president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. In recent years her work has attracted public recognition from the European Community (Human Rights Award, 1998) and from UNESCO (The Peace Education Prize, 1996). She has addressed politicians at the United Nations, in the European Parliament, and in many European states. In February 2004, she had a private meeting with the Taoiseach, Bertie Aherne, and the Irish President, Mary McAleese. On 10 May, Chiara Lubich will be giving a keynote address at a major event for 10,000 people in Stuttgart on the theme, 'Together for Europe' at which President Romano Prodi amongst other international figures will also make a significant contribution. She has been awarded honorary degrees in various disciplines throughout the world, and at an age when most of her peers are slowing down - Chiara is 84 - she continues to gain energy and an ever greater capacity to explore new ways of crossing the divides of geography, culture, religion and politics. For more information see: www.focolare.org.uk
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