José Luis Martínez-Almeida to the Scholas youth: “Lead the revolution of knowledge.”

The Mayor of Madrid met with more than 150 young people from more than 70 cities around the world at the 10th edition of the World Youth Cyber Meeting organised by Fundación Scholas.

Martínez-Almedia praised the young participants, especially the Spaniards, who had been developing proposals for over two months to address the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic raises for the future of education.

José Luis Martínez- Almeida, Mayor of Madrid, chatted with the young participants at the 10th edition of the World Youth Cyber Meeting, nine weeks after that March 25 when, despite the many doubts, fears and uncertainties, this global Scholas event got underway.

“One of the temptations to which such a dramatic situation as the one we have had to face leads us is to withdraw into ourselves, to isolate ourselves. Yet in a world like the one we are living in at the moment, in which knowledge, dialogue and mutual understanding between all of us are so important, you are giving us an example and proof that there is still hope to face the future.”

He went on to add: “To face this future, we will have to tackle it through two fundamental principles. First: values. There are universal values, which are common and cut across all of us, and in which we can recognise ourselves regardless of how we think or how we approach life.”

“And second, knowledge. [We have to face it] through education. He continued: “It is essential that you are the ones to lead this revolution of knowledge that will allow us to overcome the situations we have had to go through. We cannot ignore at any time the trials and tribulations we have endured. We must improve because, although it may seem contradictory, opportunities also arise from a tragedy such as this. All too often what we do is minimise the encounters and maximise the difference; we make speeches in which we tend to place the emphasis more on what sets us against each other than on what brings us together.”

Among the many faces at the virtual meeting was Sergio, a youth from Madrid, who asked to take the floor and address the mayor: “My journey with Scholas started four years ago. Four years ago we met with Carmena and now we are meeting with you, so I feel very grateful for this support from Madrid’s institutions, for thinking about young people, encouraging young people, making that future possible, and investing in what we really are,” he emphasised.

The Mayor would not miss the opportunity to dedicate a few words to the youth of Madrid and Spain: “I have to tell you that, as Mayor of Madrid, I am very proud of the way young people have behaved in the city. From the very first moment we said that young people were essential to get out of this situation. We are asking you for a responsibility that you might not be responsible for. Perhaps, because of your age and generation, you do not yet have to pick up the baton. But what is at stake here is precisely society, paying tribute to all our elders, the generations that came before us, who have built the country we have, and who are the group at greatest risk.”

“The young people of Madrid, and—I think, in general—the young people of Spain and the young people of the world, have provided the response that we were asking for; for me it has been an exciting response. So thank you very much,” he concluded.

To close the meeting, José María del Corral, world director of Scholas, addressed Martínez-Almeida and the hundred or so young people who attended this 10th world cyber meeting from cities such as (in addition to Madrid) Tokyo, Tegucigalpa, Port- au-Prince, São Paulo, Barcelona, Barranquilla, Maputo, Rome, Naples, Bogota, Lima, Dubai, Bucharest, Montevideo, Tarragona, Miami, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Lisbon, Vigo, Panama, Buenos Aires, Asunción del Paraguay, Córdoba, San Antonio de los Cobres, Granada, Paraná, Santo Domingo, among many others.

And he concluded by saying this: “I dream of Madrid being declared ‘Madrid, Educational City’, because I believe that education does not only take place in schools and classrooms. Walking through the streets of Madrid, with the young people, the kids, becomes a great classroom. That is why, just as I dreamt with Bergoglio 25 years ago of ‘Buenos Aires, Educational City’, a law that was born of the young people, there is no reason not to think, at a global level, that Madrid can be an ‘educational city’. Given its diversity, its beauty, its encounter, and—why not— the fact that there is always a sense of celebration, a level of festivity, which has a lot to do with what we do here at Scholas.”

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