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14 / 08 / 2004
Marta Rosās: "Young people's commitment should not only be to other young people, but to everybody"

The World Youth Festival closed this afternoon with the same festive atmosphere that characterized its inauguration. During the day's sessions the need to strengthen Catalan associative network and the need for greater participation from young people towards building a better world was made clear

The Orquestra de Joves Intčrprets dels Paīsos Catalans (OIJPC) (Orchestra of Young Musicians of the Catalan Communities) provided the welcome for the massive audience in the Forum Auditorium. A video was also shown, offering highlights of the best moments from the six-day Festival. One of the points emphasized was the participation of nearly 8,000 young people from 125 countries.

The councilor responsible for Youth Issues from Barcelona City Council, Xavier Florensa, reminded the audience of the 2,500 young people who have not been able to take part in the Festival because they were unable to leave their countries of origin, which, once again, demonstrates that our globalized world allows the free exchange of currency, but not the free circulation of many young people". Florensa said, "to be young creates mistrust and suspicion".

Florensa defined the Festival as "a point of contact that has allowed associative network to be strengthened". He went on to explain that young people have contributed "freshness, spontaneity and criticism, as well as leisure activities and a lot of fun".

In addition, the councilor mentioned the different points of view of many young people expressed as part of the Dialogues and highlighted dialogue and mediation "as the only routes to resolve conflicts". Florensa emphasized the open, cosmopolitan and Mediterranean character of the city of Barcelona, describing it as "a city that takes on the role of Catalonia's capital, which, in spite of having its own language that is spoken by ten million people, has not yet been officially recognized by the European Union", added Florensa.

Florensa pointed out "the success of the associative movement in Catalonia and how many Catalan organizations have led international networks of young people". Florensa said that it is necessary to continue working towards "peace, justice, countries' right to self-determination, respect for minority communities and indigenous peoples, solidarity and in taking a stance against discrimination".

Finally, Florensa called upon institutions to address "the need to reinforce participation mechanisms, the inclusion of women in associative movements, greater investment in youth policies and promotion of participation so that society can become more critical yet more united".

The manager of the General Youth Secretariat of the Catalan Autonomous Government, Marta Rosās, highlighted the involvement of the Government and the Festival organizers to make "the dream a reality".

Rosās explained that the Festival illustrated "the will of young people to build a better world". In this process, Rosās said: "We needed empathy and co-operation, we have the responsibility to do this so as to overcome contradictions, and only this way are changes made possible".

"We must take to make good use of concerns and motivations, beyond our personal circumstances; the commitment of young people is not only to the young, but also to everyone", Rosās pointed out.

The director of the Festival, Ines Giralt, said, "this has been a trip full of adventure". Giralt recalled the trip to Panama in which Barcelona was presented as a candidate to welcome the third edition of the World Youth Festival. Giralt affirmed that: "During these three years we learned that to get the Festival going means putting people, creativity and flexibility in motion".

"Now we have the result that the youth organization networks gain in importance and influence and that when they get home everyone continues with the same drive and illusion to build a better world", concluded Giralt.

The member of the Pacific Youth Council, Jeannine Daniel, explained that the needs of each young person participating in the Festival were different: "some needed to be heard and others to listen and learn". However, Daniel highlighted the importance "of taking advantage of the information and the practices that have been formed in Barcelona to reduce poverty and AIDS, and of promoting a more just and egalitarian world".

Daniel added, "it is appropriate to give voice to young people and to make possible their participation in decision-making, since they are the ones who can make change possible in the future”.

Finally, a participant of the Festival expressed opposition to the World Youth Festival being sponsored by multinational companies and explained the reason: "I don’t relate to this".

As part of the closing ceremony, the company Color Dansa gave a performance in which flamenco was mixed with hiphop. The Orquestra de Joves Intčrprets dels Paīsos Catalans closed the proceedings.