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COVID-19- Facundo Manes spoke to the young people gathered at the Scholas World Cyber Meeting

At the sixth edition of the World Youth Cyber Meeting for Coronavirus, organised by Scholas, more than 120 participants from 60 cities around the globe interacted with Argentine neurologist Facundo Manes.«

Facundo Manes talks to the Scholas youths

As part of the Scholas virtual meetings for young people, neurologist and neuroscientist Facundo Manes had a chat with the participants.

As a way of joining young people and encouraging them to keep the culture of the encounter alive, well-known personalities from the fields of politics, culture and science have participated in the Meetings. In this edition, the guest speaker was a specialist in the field of neuroscience: Dr. Facundo Manes.

“Young people are quite vulnerable to the mental impact of this pandemic […] All pandemics have changed belief systems, and we have to fight to be resilient, and this is something that you work very well at Scholas,” explained Facundo Manes at the beginning of the talk. He then added: “It is time to foster resilience as you do in Scholas. All the work of Scholas is dedicated to resilience.”

The young participants were eager to hear what they could do to feel better based on scientific evidence. Some, like Carolai from Colombia, were actually reading the book “The brain of the future” written by Manes himself. Many were able to express and even ask the neurologist how to deal with their fears and apprehensions.

Such was the case of Carol, from Panama, who asked about the best way out of the insecurities engendered in times of quarantine.

Facundo Manes replied: “There is a lot of fear […], and that results in a lot of uncertainty and discomfort. The best way is to go out as a team, to stay connected, which is what we are doing here.”

He went on to explain: “The best way out of here is together, as we are doing with Scholas’ work: uniting us, bringing together people of different ideas, beliefs and languages. You don’t come out of this as an individual: you come out as a team, just like you are working now.”

Raff, from the Dominican Republic, asked him how to calm his nerves, the fear that he might not fulfil the dreams he had for this year: “We are all like this […] we have to accept our negative emotions […] a brain attentive to the present decreases the anxiety mechanisms and is more productive and happier.”

Afterwards, he addressed all the young people with an encouraging message: “We have to be agents of the change we seek […] That is why the work of Scholas, of you, is so important in this exceptional world we are living in. It is perhaps more important than the work that Scholas did before. Today it takes on a much more important dimension, one that will be key in the future: empathy […] And maybe the most important empathy is emotional empathy, feeling what the other person is feeling. And that is what your work, the work of Scholas is about: empathy. That might be the most important concept in this new world that has already begun.”

Students from 19 countries then worked in small groups on the role of leisure in the post-pandemic world. They also discussed the origin of school in the world and the fundamental place of leisure in the latter.

Dr. Facundo Manes recalled the importance of “boredom” for the creative and neurological process.
Sarita (16), from Spain, shared her group’s reflection. Using as a trigger a phrase from Aristotle who says that the vital function is to learn: “leisure should be oriented towards learning […] where one learns to find oneself, to enjoy what one does and to learn from everything one does”. She then added: “Those people who use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, a book or a photo and company, are the happiest people in the world, because we they how to enjoy time.».

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