Students from 17 European countries gathered in Velletri, Italy on Saturday for the start of a five-day conference to discuss racism, xenophobia and the impact of migration in Europe.
'Who is my neighbour? ' Who is excluded from our society?' ' What does it mean to love your neighbours?' 'Do we know who they are?' 'Are we willing to take risks to be in solidarity with migrants and minorities'? 'How does our faith build bridges and draw borders?'
These are the questions which the participants are going to approach through lectures, docu-drama, panel discussions, workshops and story-telling. The World Student Christian Federation of Europe and Religions for Peace Global Youth Network, who organised this event, see these questions as very important because of recent turbulent times.
Europe nowadays faces the rise of nationalism and xenophobic attitudes. Extremist political parties are gaining more power in many European countries and beyond. Immigrants and minorities have become easy scapegoats, used by politicians to detract public opinion from their failures.
“How can young believers of different faiths react to it?” the organisers ask. One of the outcomes of the conference 'Who is my neighbour?', will be the 2013 WSCF Europe year- long campaign to fight xenophobia, using different means of communication and community building.
For more information see: www.wscf-europe.org