May 12, 2012 from 3-4 pm (in the different time zones),
thousands of young people of different cultures and
religions organized sports competitions together with
actions for peace and solidarity. Many of them also
met with civic and religious dignitaries.
first leg of “Run for Unity” kicked off
in New Zealand, followed by Australia, and hour by hour,
it continued throughout the countries of Asia and the
Middle East, Europe and Africa, South and North America.
The last leg was run by the youth in Vancouver, Canada.
in the relay teams chose places that were a sign of
peace and unity: the peace bell in Bicentennial Park
in Sydney (Australia); Schengen (Luxembourg) which is
famous for the signing of treaties regarding European
borders; in Berlin (Germany) they ran past the Brandenburg
Gate, a symbol of Germany unity; in Belfast the Parliament
Buildings and the Stormont Estate hosted the Irish portion
of the worldwide event.
relay race drew Christians from different denominations.
In many countries youths belonging to different faiths,
cultures and ethnic groups ran together to show their
commitment to peace and unity. In New Delhi (India)
the “Run for Unity” event involved Sikhs,
Muslims, Hindu and Christians; in Karachi (Pakistan),
the participants were composed of Christians, Muslims
and Hindus; in Caesarea Maritima (Holy Land), the event
included Jewish, Muslim and Christian youths; in New
York (USA) Christians and Muslims came together at Malcolm
Shabazz Mosque in Harlem.
“Run for Unity” website, Facebook, and the
YouTube channel published real-time updates of scheduled
events with information, photos and video. On Saturday,
May 12, three brief transmissions were shown with news
from various cities on all five continents, reported
by these youths themselves. These activities form part
of a bigger project entitled “Let’s Color
Our Cities” where young people carry out actions
of solidarity in places where poverty and in situations
of conflict are prevalent.
the Philippines, the Run for Unity was held in the cities
of Cebu, Davao and Tagaytay. A total of one thousand
Held in Tagaytay, Mariapolis Peace, the Run for Unity
was the culminating event of a four day youth camp which
saw 150 teenagers participate from different parts of
Luzon from May 8-12, 2012. This Youth camp offered different
workshops on six yeses: “Yes” to peace,
creation, to family and life, to a just economy, to
solidarity and responsibility.
in various fields were invited to share their knowledge
and experiences on different themes related to the six
yeses. Significant was the planting of more than 100
trees after the talk on Ecology by Mr. Rainier Manalo
– a former professor of Palawan state University
and president of Bird watch Palawan Ornithological Society
(BWP). He is also the head of Crocodylus Porosus Phils.,
Inc (CPPI) Crocodile Conservation Program.
by Professor Manalo’s talk on ecology, the Youth
campers hiked to a nearby rural village where they planted
more than 100 trees as part of their yes to creation.
There were also games called a “Race to love”
encouraging unity and brotherhood among the participants.
On May 12, the more than 100 youth campers welcomed
the participants for the Run for Unity event. More than
400 young people participated in the actual run in Terra
Moy, Mariapolis Peace. Although it rained hard during
the event, that did not stop some of the youths from
finishing the 4 kilometer run. After the run, a concert
was organized by the Focolare Youth who also shared
experiences on how they have concretized the six yeses
as a contribution to the initiative, Let’s Color
run for unity started in Davao city on May 10, and culminated
in Cebu City on May 12.
event was such a visible fruit of the unity built together
by the Teens for Unity, Youth for a United World and
all the members of the Focolare Movement in the region.
The project “Coloring our Cities with Love”
was launched to all as a challenge to be lived together.
was presented through creative dances and choreography,
songs, personal and collective experiences, and through
workshops and games. Chiara Lubich had advised the youth
to make their calculations in coloring their city, so
plans of concrete actions were drawn up in the workshops
with the help of mathematical signs, i.e, plus meant
adding more love and minus was for lessening the sorrows
of others; the multiplication stood for multiplying
joys, and division stood for dividing and sharing what
we have; the equal sign recalled our equality in God’s
eyes, and the percentage sign represented the promise
of the hundredfold when we do God’s will.
mathematical signs were concretized through the six
(6) yeses. Each group chose a specific “Yes”
and made a project proposal about how to realize it
in their respective parishes, schools, churches and
their respective organizations.
the actual Run4Unity, the participants had much fun,
running and waving colorful scarves. A wellknown TV
network even covered this event by interviewing some
of the participants about the goals of Run4Unity.
of the participants remarked later: “It was really
a great opportunity to share the Ideal of Unity from
the ‘skyscrapers’ (or above the rooftops)!”
Then there was the finale Flash Mob of their YES to
all the goals and proposals of Run4Unity. Another youth
shared: “Building unity really costs a lot! But
gradually, by trying to be the first to love, I saw
how the barriers among us crumbled and I experienced
how we are brothers and sisters.”
are more news from other Asian nations.
“Our Fun-Bike for Run4Unity concluded in Bantul,
Yogyakarta, attended by 75 children and 40 adults, the
majority of whom were Muslims. We began cycling just
after dawn, starting out at the same time from four
different meeting points in town. There was great enthusiasm
among all and it never waned, not even with the heavy
rain that started to pour down right at the beginning.
We had expected a hot day with a scorching sun. Instead,
the rain refreshed all the roads we passed.
After an hour we reached our final destination, where
people of the village welcomed us with music and song.
We then held our program in a pendopo (a traditional,
open hall where villagers normally hold their important
events), which had been built after an earthquake in
2006, with the help of an association called Action
for a United World. There we shared the message of Run4Unity,
which we demonstrated through games prepared together
with older youths. With
one voice, we openly declared our ‘Yes’
– committing ourselves to spreading peace and
unity wherever we are, starting with our own selves.”
the first time the Run4unity event was held in Lahore.
It was a true miracle! Young people were the protagonists,
performing on stage, as singers, emcees and in dances
that spoke about their own life experiences, particularly
on the Golden Rule.
event was even publicized in a local newspaper. The
more than 200 children, including 20 Muslims, were then
divided into 10 groups for the Run. The driving spirit
of Run4unity was the Golden Rule which helped the young
people to play better and in harmony with one another.
participant shared: “For two weeks in Lahore the
temperature exceeded 40 degrees and we were afraid of
how it was like playing outside under the hot sun! But
that day, from early morning on, there was the cool
breeze blowing very nicely. Then we ended up flying
balloons high up in the air, as symbols of our wish
to bring to everyone our message of peace.
day ended with the message of Chiara Lubich at the Supercongress
of 2002, ‘We have one life to live... live it
the best we can!’ Our joy was infinite and we
all went home happy with a heart full of new hope: helping
us to believe and live in a world that is more beautiful,
and more united!”