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NY Encounter proposes “crossing the divide,” bringing together everything from art to politics

The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City will be transformed mid-February into a gathering place for hundreds of people of different cultures, religions and professions.

It's called the New York Encounter. It was first established by the Catholic movement, Communion and Liberation, in 2011. It's organized and run entirely by volunteers.

New York Encounter
“They desired to have the same kind of engagement with the local culture, with the reality that many people are living in the United States, not just in the Movement, but obviously throughout the country and the population, and it provided a unique way to engage in a serious way with the people around them and with American society. I think that in general it comes from a sincere curiosity in front of reality.”

The 2020 Encounter will take place Feb. 14 to 16. As always, it is free and open to the public. The theme this year is “Crossing the Divide,” which, Tim says, in many ways responds to feelings of division that seem to pervade the United States today.

New York Encounter
“Where there seems to be division, there might actually be a lot more that unites us. It's hard to see when you're alone, but when you're together with friends, looking in the same direction, and with the same kinds of desires, makes it a lot easier. I do think that the New York Encounter, especially this year, even though in previous years in a similar way, it's about that. It's about staying together, and really looking at life in a serious way.”

Despite being organized by a Catholic movement, Tim says the Encounter is geared for people of all faiths and walks of life.

New York Encounter
“I don't think that anybody would come just because they're looking for a Church event, or something like that. That's not what even the Catholics come for. They come for, you know, an exchange, on any number of topics.”

Topics range from politics and literature, to science and art. This year's program features renowned musician Daryl Davis, “Washington Post” columnist Christine Emba, CEO of SOMOS Mario Paredes, Rwandan genocide survivor Fr. Marcel Uwineza and many others.

There are also several live performances, without which the New York Encounter wouldn't be complete.

Claudia Torres