The Pope has eagerly awaited this trip to Iraq, in which Scholas, an integral part of this dream, also participated. At the beginning of the week, a team from Scholas arrived in the country to carry out various programmes with young Iraqis and to experience the culture of encounter through sport and art.
During the first day of his trip to Iraq, Pope Francis met with the Scholas team at the Nunciature in Baghdad, together with the young Iraqis who took part in the experience and shared intense moments, during which the common language was art, music and sport.
Among the participants, Mina Hazim Louis, who took part in the interreligious meeting in Baghdad last Thursday, 4 March, gave Pope Francis a t-shirt she had painted with the Scholas logo and the word “Scholas” written in Arabic. Mustafa Muneer Karm instead gave him some dreams written down by young people, so as to continue to develop the culture of encounter together.
The Pope was shown some images of the activities carried out in previous days in Erbil, where thanks to the signing of an agreement with the Tishk International University – TIU, the Scholas Chair was inaugurated for the development of programmes in Iraq.
At the end of the meeting, with the Pope’s blessing, the Scholas Occurrentes School of Sports for Peace was inaugurated. It will be supported by the Ministry for Youth and Sport of Iraq and the Professional Football League of Spain, who are already developing a programme for introducing basic football to Iraq. The School of Sports for Peace also has the support of the World Box Council to develop BoxVal activities in Iraq.
With these actions, Scholas ensures that it will keep alive the commitment made by Pope Francis, after his visit to Iraq, to continue to build together with young people the culture of encounter.
Accompanying the young people of Scholas Iraq were Monsignor Robert Jarjis, bishop of Baghdad; Adnan Dirjal, Minister of Youth and Sport of Iraq; Juan José Escobar Stemmann, Spanish ambassador to Iraq, Riyadh Kadhum Alazzawi, Iraqi athlete and kickboxing world champion, along with Mario del Verme, sports coordinator of Scholas Italia and Manuel Deza, international Scholas teacher.