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Pope Francis receives Harvard WorldMUN students from around the world


Pope Francis met the university participants of the 2016 Harvard World Model United Nations inside of the Paul VI Audience Hall.

General Secretary of Harvard World MUN
"Your Holiness and on behalf of the delegates, dignitaries, staff, advisers, honored guests and friends of Harvard World Model United Nations, we are honored by your presence today and blessed with the opportunity of receiving your wisdom.”

The Harvard World Model UN is a four-day international relations simulation promoted by Harvard University, bringing together students from over 100 countries to discuss solutions to the greatest global challenges of our generation.

General Secretary of Harvard World MUN
"World MUN was founded in 1992 with the goal of creating the first truly international University level Model United Nations Conference. It was held in Poland, just a year and a half after the fall of the Berlin wall, to make clear its mission of bridging the gaps and bringing people of difference cultures, beliefs, and ways of life together.” 

Pope Francis took the opportunity to address to these aspiring future world leaders on how to  apply the principles of service and justice into their own lives. 

"The major result is the time spent together, your meeting with people from all over the world, which represents not only the many contemporary challenges, but above all, the rich variety of talent and potential of the human family.”

After meeting with the Pope, the enthusiastic students gathered outside of Paul VI Audience Hall and spoke of their incredible opportunity to hear Pope Francis' speech.

"My name is Laurel, I'm from Australia as well, Western Australia. I'm representing Bosnia and Herzegovina and it's been a great experience learning about different cultures, nationalities and it has been a lot of fun as well meeting new people. A great experience I'd recommend to everyone.”

"The experience here has been pretty amazing. The architecture and all cultural stuff.. It's been a nice exchange of cultures. It's been a global village and we got to meet people from all around the world so it was pretty awesome." 

As they conclude their stay in Rome, they hope to attribute the values of international peace and justice to wherever their path will take them in life. 

Dear Friends,
I am happy to welcome all of you to the Vatican, and I hope that your time in Rome has been beneficial, as you participate in the 2016 Harvard World Model United Nations.  I am grateful to Joseph Hall, the General Secretary of your meeting, for his words offered on your behalf.  I am especially  pleased  to  know  that  your  members  represent  so  many  nations  and  cultures  and, therefore, reflect the rich diversity of our human family.
As university students, you are given in a particular way to the pursuit of truth and understanding, of growing in wisdom not only for your own benefit, but for the good of your local communities and broader society.  I hope that this experience will lead you to appreciate the need for, and the value of, structures of cooperation and solidarity which have been forged by the international community over many years.   These structures are especially effective when they are directed to the service of the most vulnerable and marginalized in our world.  I pray that the United Nations, and each individual Member State, may always be ordered to such service and care.
The greatest benefit of your time together here in Rome, however, does not have to do with learning about diplomacy, institutional systems or organizations, however significant and worthy of your study these are.  The greatest benefit is your time together, your encounter with people from around the world, who represent not only our many contemporary challenges, but above all the rich diversity of talents and potential of the human family.
The issues and challenges you discuss are not faceless.  For each of you can articulate the hopes and dreams, the challenges and sufferings, which mark the people of your country.  In these days, you will learn much from one another, and will remind each other that, behind every difficulty our world is facing, there are men and women, young and old, people just like you.   There are families and individuals whose lives are daily shaped by struggles, who are trying to care for their children and provide not only for their future but also the basic necessities for today.  So too, many of  those  affected  by  our  world’s  greatest  problems  of  violence  and  intolerance  have  become refugees, tragically forced from their homes, and denied their land and their freedom.
These are the people who need your help, who are crying out for you to hear them, and who are supremely worthy of our every effort on behalf of justice, peace and solidarity.  Saint Paul tells us that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (cf. Rom 12:15).  In the end, our strength as a community, on every level of life and social organization, lies not so much in our learning and personal ability, but in the compassion we show for one another, in the care that we exercise especially for those who cannot care for themselves.
I also hope that your experience has led you to see the commitment of the Catholic Church to serving the needs of the poor and refugees, to strengthening the family and communities, and to protecting the inalienable dignity and rights of each member of our human family.  We Christians believe that Jesus calls us to be servants of our brothers and sisters, who care for others regardless of their background or circumstances.   This is not only a mark of Christians, however, but is a universal call, rooted in our common humanity.
Dear young friends, I assure you and your families of my prayers.  May Almighty God bless you with the happiness he has promised to those who hunger and thirst for justice and work for peace.