The 2019 Forum General Assembly took place from December 5 – 7, 2019 in Rome with the leaders of over 100 Catholic inspired organizations and networks working in the international political contexts. The assembly was organized as a broad platform for dialogue including representatives of the Vatican Secretariat of State, five Permanent Representatives of the Holy See to the international bodies and various representatives of the Dicasteries. The meeting concluded a two-year collaboration on the theme “Moving toward a more inclusive society” and explored the possible ways forward in responding to the growing complexity of today’s interconnected challenges.
The central theme “Moving toward a more inclusive society” had been a shared focal point of reflection over the past exchanges. Twenty-one thematic meetings had been organized focusing on the concept of inclusion to deliver a number of priority ideas and positions in the fields of Human Rights, Development and Environment, Migration, Education, Family, Health and Youth. Three additional meetings focused on the interconnection of the challenges and on defining collaborative ways forward.
Discussions during this assembly first aimed to finalize the various exchanges of the past two years. Focus was subsequently given to number of challenges such as the growing confusion between State and Church; the interconnection and growing complexity of today’s challenges; how operational programs concretely contribute to impact and influence the debates in the multilateral environments; how public campaigns may also serve a purpose in developing new policies and how larger networks prove to be useful tools in disseminating ideas and concepts.
In the closing statement the organizers pointed at three positive outcomes: the well understood need for greater convergence in an effort to increase impact and better address the growing complexity of the challenges; the value of the document on inclusion soon to be translated and published; and the great number of ideas and proposals inviting and allowing for further synergies.
During the private audience which concluded the assembly, Pope Francis emphasized how much “today’s world is calling for new boldness and new imagination in opening new paths of dialogue and cooperation, in order to promote a culture of encounter where, in accordance with the creative plan of God, the dignity of every human person is foremost.”