the theme you have chosen for the 55th World Day of Peace "Dialogue Between Generations, Education and Work: Tools for Building Lasting Peace" is a rigorous reminder to institutions, governors and all those who bear social and political responsibilities and - at the same time - food for thought on the tools to effectively address the issues that afflict a multipolar and fragmented world, such as those of environmental degradation, the resurgence of diseases, the aggravation of hunger, chronic water shortages and the constant propagation of conflicts.
The current pandemic has made the three main social challenges of our time even more complex, as emphasized by Your Holiness: the intensified distance between people, the acute educational crisis and growing job insecurity. In a context gravely marked by the constantly rising cry of the poor and of the earth, I concur with the need to undertake the path of peace which Saint Paul VI defined as integral development.
A path that, as highlighted in the Message, depends on productive dialogue between generations, a veritable alliance between the elderly, keepers of memory, and the youth who drive history forward.
This means shunning the pursuit of immediate interests that contribute to engendering scrap culture and engaging in an open and frank exchange of views, aimed at the creation of shared projects such as the climate emergency. Therefore, I agree with the exhortation to encourage all those - first of all the youth - who are committed to a world that cares more about environmental protection. Promoting the role of young people is, on the other hand, one of the foundational objectives of Italy's foreign policy.
As Your Holiness brought out, education - an essential aspect for building peace and the very grammar of dialogue between generations - is one of the great challenges of our time. And I regret observing how, in recent years, the resources dedicated to this essential function at a global level have decreased. On this issue I would like to express the hope that funds for education will finally be considered as an investment. Because education and personal growth are the keys to building the future.
The third aspect that the Message emphasizes on is work, intended as a means for the full attainment of human dignity and as a basis whereupon to build justice and solidarity within each community. The Covid-19 pandemic has further aggravated inherent problems in the labour market, making people living in precarious conditions - and who are often excluded from social protection systems - even more vulnerable. Thank you, Your Holiness, for having addressed the role that politics is called to play in this area, namely that of promoting, and guaranteeing in every circumstance, the right balance between economic freedom and social justice.
The words of Your Holiness remind us, in a historical moment in which humanity is being buffeted by the storm of the medical crisis, how together every day we can become "artisans" of peace. In the knowledge that I convey the sentiments of the Italian people, I would like to extend my sincere and warmest wishes for the New Year and for the continuation of the apostolic mission of Your Holiness".