On Tuesday, 1 November, Pope Francis spent an hour and a half speaking with university students from Africa, in a virtual wide-ranging conversation on the theme “Building Bridges”. The Pope encouraged participants to live in the present without alienating themselves, to continue to dream and never to lose sight of their roots.
The event was organised by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America together with Loyola University Chicago, which had put on a similar online event for university students from North, South and Central America, on 24 February of this year, also as a way to promote the synodal spirit by keeping intergenerational dialogue alive. Among the countries represented this year were the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya and Cameroon. Reflecting on the difficult history of Africa, marred by “slavery and exploitation”, the Holy Father affirmed that “Africa does not exist to be exploited; it has its own wealth, which is a human wealth, the wealth that you all represent”.
With regard to facing challenges related to politics, the environment and migration, Pope Francis’ invitation was to “continue to be strong, with all the strength of unity”, and to continue to actively fight for the good, because, he said, “the non-participation of young people is the death of a country”.