On this Trinity Sunday, we wish our readers every joy and blessing.

Pope Francis prays for a Europe of unity to make the dream of the EU’s founding fathers come true. We, at JESC, think that it is time for a European Renaissance.

I had the honour to recently meet Pope Francis, on June 8th in Rome, when taking part in an International Conference on Laudato Si’, organised by the Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice Foundation. Talking about ‘Caring for our Common Home’, the Pope underlined that, “adequate responses to current problems cannot be superficial.”  Rather, he added, “what is needed is precisely a conversion, a transformation of hearts and minds.”

In this edition of the Leadership Post, coming just after the European Elections, we decided to focus on positive thoughts, inspired by the idea of a ‘European Renaissance’.

But we are also committed to fighting injustice and supporting those who advocate for the marginalised and the exploited, like the Jesuit Network for Justice in Mining. “We speak out against the exploitation of minors and of natural resources,” said Guillermo Otano, the new leader of Justice in Mining, in this interview.  

We are aware that there is not a new Renaissance yet, but we can glimpse the signs of it coming: the rise of the ecological movements and a renewed sense of European unity due to the difficulties in delivering Brexit.

“We need to forge a new, positive narrative for Europe,” said Luca Jahier, President of the EESC – the European Economic and Social Committee – when he visited the fellows of our European Leadership Programme (ELP). “We have to revive civic engagement to harvest a sustainable European Future. We need a r-EUnaissance,” he said.

As former President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy stated, when he visited the ELP: “Europe is still a beautiful peace project.”  We are still not sufficiently aware of its intrinsic beauty.

We, at JESC, are really in tune with this idea of a Renaissance of the European Union. That is why we invite all young people who are interested in politics to apply for the Schuman Traineeships in the European Parliament, and they will have an advantage in selection for the ELP if they do decide to. The two traineeships can be combined together.

This new younger generation of Europeans also has a key mission: building a new collective memory that goes beyond divisive attitudes that separate Eastern and Western European countries, stemming from the long legacy of the Fascist and Communist regimes of the 20th century.

This topical debate was introduced by Dr Peter J. Verovšek, from Sheffield University, to the ELP fellows.

More steps towards unity are needed; along with peace, justice and ecological conversion, it is not easy to achieve all these things at the same time. But we must try, because we know for sure that there is no Renaissance without trust in the capacity of humans to change and to renew.  

Enjoy the June edition of the Leadership Post.

by Peter Rožič and Susan Dabbous