The Economy of Francesco

young people, a pact, the future

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young people, a pact, the future

international events

September 22-24 2022, - Assisi

September 22-24 2022, Assisi

"The Economy of Francesco"

young people, a pact, the future

Breaking news:

published today the letter with which Pope Francis summons young economists and entrepreneurs to Assisi to propose a pact for a new economy. Economy of Communion participates in the organizing committee of the event together with the Diocese and the Municipality of Assisi and the Seraphic Institute.

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USA. A bridge between generations: Cirkel helps sharing skills

#EoF: Stories - Charlotte Japp from the USA: old and young people seem to be unable to talk to each other anymore, but dialogue is essential

by Maria Gaglione

published in Avvenire on 02/03/2020

A smiling young man, wearing a shirt and blue jeans, looking straight into the camera. His is a smart and amused look. Next to him, an old man leaning on a stick is talking with great intensity. This is the opening image of the CIRKEL website along with the phrase: Closing the Generational Loop. Charlotte Japp, 29, is the CEO of CIRKEL, an intergenerational network that aims to create and sustain relationships between different generations through events and meetings.

Connections that are becoming increasingly rare in our world where young and old seem to be unable to speak to each other anymore," Charlotte tells us. According to the young American entrepreneur these relationships are invaluable because they allow people to learn from each other and grow personally and professionally. The history of peoples and traditions teaches us this. We have perhaps forgotten or underestimated it. “Until today, we've held very many events in three cities across the United States, affecting the lives of over 2,000 people between the ages of 21 and 96.”

Charlotte tells us that she has had a great passion for studying since she was a young girl. “As a teenager I took part in study trips to Germany every summer, with other young people from many countries around the world”. Alumna of a Jesuit school, Charlotte transmits to us her passion for history, art, theology, languages and literature that she studied on "a beautiful hilltop campus. In those years there developed a certainty in me: I wanted to make my life a gift for others. Later, my research studies were directed at a very particular field: the so-called economy of the third age”. Demographic dynamics is one of the most important global challenges today. In recent decades, the world's population has grown rapidly, people now live longer and there is an increased inequality between the different age groups. Alongside a number of factors that have a negative impact on economic and social dynamics (rising health care costs, the shortage in professional profiles and financial services for the elderly, the sustainability of pension systems), the so-called Silver Economy offers important potential in terms of providing health services, goods and services for the elderly. Not only that. There is another important aspect to consider. Strengthening the link between generations has economic as well as social value, which is very important. Generations must learn to get to know each other. While there is a difficulty of communication between the two worlds, the interests of young and old in fact frequently overlap and if considered together they can have positive effects even on the economy, as CIRKEL demonstrates.

The network is helping to create economic sustainability by addressing the knowledge gap between generations. Through intergenerational mentoring, CIRKEL is building a multi-generational workforce benefitting from the skills of the older and younger group of workers. Charlotte shares a simple example with us: “I remember that after listening to an elderly woman talk about inclusiveness in the fashion industry, a young Muslim intern found the courage to talk to the head designer of a famous high fashion house. And after that interview he was hired! CIRKEL argues that the knowledge and experience of each person should not be wasted and lost but valued and shared. Older people offer mentoring and life lessons to young people while young people provide technical skills and updates on trends and innovations. This exchange keeps older people socially engaged for longer. The results of the surveys through which we monitor the impact of our activities show a real positive impact on the lives of those who participate in our network, starting from the (re)-discovery of self-value. When a friend passed me the link of Pope Francis' letter last May and I read that text inviting us to build a "sustainable and inclusive" future where "no one is left behind", I felt being called. CIRKEL implements a business model that involves all age groups to share knowledge made available for the personal growth of each and everyone. Unlike the current "zero sum" system, I really believe that a new economy can be built on the pillars of sharing, inclusion and sustainability. And the fact that young people all over the world have felt called by Pope Francis' appeal is already a sign of great hope”.

In some way, an alliance has already been created between these young people and Pope Francis, who is felt by many as a friend and an ethical reference point. After all, The Economy of Francesco is also a story of generations calling out and talking to each other. They come together to listen to each other as neighbours, travel companions in order to respond to the many challenges of today and tomorrow.

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