Young peacemakers inspired by visit to Italy - 18 April 2008

 The winning teams of Pax Christi's European Youth Contest have just returned home after an inspiring trip to Italy. The British team entry ' A little piece of peace' highlights the links between peace and the environment and what we can all do to create peace by living more sustainably and sharing the world's resources.

Emma and Claire, two members of the team from St John Fisher Catholic High School in Wigan said: "We feel inspired! Inspired by the other teams' videos, inspired by the stories of Giovanni Scudiero, Exec member of Pax Christi International, the other teams and the people who live at Casa per la Pace. It shows that no matter where you are from you can communicate, understand one another, teach one another and most importantly break bread together. We feel as though everybody has the potential to change the world!"

The teams from France, Portugal and the UK stayed at Pax Christi Italy's Peace House (Casa per la Pace), in the hills just outside Florence. They explored together the theme of Peace and the Environment, shared the presentations they had made, and made new friends, despite differences in language and culture. The Peace House welcomes international volunteers every year, as well as local school groups. Commenting on their stay Emma and Claire said "Casa per la Pace is a wonderful place! We do not think there are many places in the world like that. We feel now like members of a family."

Highlights of the trip included a wonderful day spent in the beautiful city of Florence. Carmine, coordinator of the Casa per la Pace, led the group on an Art and Peace tour of the city, explaining how the city was somewhere people had learnt to live together peacefully, despite their differences. On the last night of the trip the group celebrated Mass together, with prayers and readings in different languages. After dinner the group were treated to a violin duet by two of the volunteers at the Casa per la Pace.

Pax Christi, the International Catholic Movement for Peace, believes strongly in the benefits of bringing young people together to share and learn from each other, and breaking down the boundaries of nationality, language and culture. The contest draws on a long tradition of Pax Christi 'Peace Walks' all over Europe, which gave young people the chance to 'walk the road' together.

Pax Christi will be running the competition again next year. Young people can enter in groups of four with the support of an adult - look out for details on our website in the autumn at

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