Meeting 2020: What awaits us

From the opening with former ECB President Mario Draghi, to meetings with Carrón, Bassetti, Azurmendi, Weiler... and many other speakers, exhibitions and performances. An overview of the program of the 2020 “special edition”.
Paolo Perego

This is it, it is nearly time. Two weeks until the opening of the 41st edition of the Meeting, in a particular and difficult year because of the emergency that has dramatically shaken the entire world, which continues to cause concern and inconvenience. And even the Meeting, in these complicated circumstances, has chosen to transform itself, not to cease to be present: because "the weight and fatigue of existence, which is not only the outcome of the various problems that life poses to us, but the lack of an adequate meaning", can give way "to a promise that attracts us." Even today. These are the words that come back to us upon the lips of the organizers with the title of this year’s "special edition 2020", which will take place between August 18 and 23, a phrase by the Jewish philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel, quoted by Fr. Giussani in The Religious Sense: “Devoid of wonder, we remain deaf to the sublime." Here is the sublime, that promise, "something that awakens our person and sustains it in its desire, the most concrete factor, even the most operative when facing our time."

Hope, trust, care, vision, reconstruction and subsidiarity. Six key words that will serve as a magnifying glass to address certain topics such as economic recovery, European politics, care and health, science, culture and inter-religious dialogue, between debates, dialogues, exhibitions and performances. All in a special format, with some “plenary” talks, live from the Palacongressi in Rimini with access reserved for a few hundred people, and many digital meetings broadcast via live stream.

But to get a taste of the week in Rimini, here is a brief overview of the program, which can be consulted in full and in detail on the event’s updated website.

Palacongressi in Rimini

It will start on August 18 at 11 a.m. with the inaugural talk with the former President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, a person who "was able to make courageous decisions in times of great difficulty", as explained by the President of the Meeting, Bernhard Scholz. Among the protagonists of the first day is anthropologist Mikel Azurmendi, who will speak about the theme of dialogue and encounter, based on his book El abrazo, a study of the life of the Spanish CL communities which changed his life, as he himself has most often recounted. There will also be the former President of the Italian House of Representatives Luciano Violant, and the actor Luca Argentero, to name a few, along with a tour of the “sublime” in art guided by Giuseppe Frangi. To close the day, there will be a show inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Dream of a Ridiculous Man.

Wednesday 19 will open with the theme of work, in a round-table discussion with several "experts" including the president of Istat (Italian National Institute of Statistics), Gian Carlo Blangiardo. To follow, another round-table discussion with exceptional guests, including Professor Joseph Weiler, a long-time friend of the Meeting, and Notre Dame lawyer, Patrick Deneen, who will address the theme of democracy. Neonatologist Elvira Parravicini and Antonio Pesenti, from the Department of Anaesthesia- Resuscitation at the Policlinico di Milano, among others, will intervene on the topic of “care and ethics”. In the evening, a debate between philosophers Costantino Esposito and Luciano Floridi on "sociality and creativity in the digital age" and a dialogue on music with Brunori Sas, Malika Ayane and Francesco Gabbani.

Education and formation will be the topics of the first plenary session on Thursday 20. The story of Avsi's international cooperation will be followed by "special" guests: the captain of the Italian national women's football team, Sara Gama, and two representatives of the Italian Footballers' Association, Damiano Tommasi and Simone Perrotta. Europe will also be discussed in two afternoon meetings, with the European Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, and David Sassoli, President of the Brussels Parliament. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, is also invited. Shortly afterwards, there will be a dialogue between the great psychiatrist Eugenio Borgna and philosopher Umberto Galimberti. Then, at 9pm, Julián Carrón's talk entitled "Where does hope originate from?", a keystone of the 2020 edition. "Faced with what has happened and the uncertainties, where can the expectation of a better future rest? Is it just a problem of favourable circumstances? What really makes life freer and more beautiful?". Questions that everyone wishes to ask, which will serve as the common thread for the leader of CL, author of several recent publications precisely on this subject.

A change of direction on Friday 21, to delve into a very hot topic in recent months: “public healthcare” with the regional presidents of the Marche, Lombardy, Sicily and Puglia. And in the afternoon, Roberto Speranza, Italian Minister of Health, will speak. Another highly topical meeting that day, “The challenge of recovery”, in the plenary session at 3pm, with Roberto Gualtier, Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, Annamaria Furlan (CISL Union), Gigi De Palo (Forum of Family Associations) and Giorgio Merletti (Confartigianato), moderated by Guido Bardelli (Cdo). There will also be space to discuss the work of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Subsidiarity. Amongst those invited are politicians such as Luigi Di Maio, Maria Elena Boschi, Maurizio Lupi, Matteo Salvini, Graziano Delrio, Antonio Tajani, Giorgia Meloni... The protagonist of the fourth day will be the writer Maurizio Maggiani, with a video-interview by Roberto Fontolan, one of the three dialogues (the others will be with Spanish writer José Ángel González Sainz on August 19, and with the African-American philosopher Cornel West on August 23) recorded and re-proposed at the Meeting to address the relationship with reality and the questions that emerge. Finally, the theme “the charm of science fiction” will be addressed with its own meeting.

We come to Saturday. Sabino Cassese, Emeritus Judge of the Constitutional Court of Italy will intervene at the same round-table as various regional Presidents (Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Calabria, among others) on the "architecture of the Italian regional system". Another appointment of the day, between "future, development, sustainability and subsidiarity", with Stefano Zamagni, economist and President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Elisabetta Soglio, Editor of Buone Notizie - Corriere della Sera, and Enrico Giovannini, economist and spokesman for the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development. In the afternoon, after an exchange of experiences on the theme of "schools are back on track" (plenary at 7pm), an international comparison on what has happened in recent months will take place with Enrico Letta and journalists Desi Anwar (Indonesia), Aleksandr Archangel'skij (Russia), David Brooks (USA), Christine Ockrent (France) and Ceferino Reato (Argentina).

After an international evening with musical acts led by Gioele Dix, the last stage of the Meeting, Sunday 23, will open with Mass celebrated by Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian Bishops' Conference. The Head of the Italian Bishops will then take part in a dialogue on the life of the Church today. At 3 pm, a meeting with Muhammad Yunus, Economist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2006: "Let's not go back to the previous world. Let’s rebuild it together". To close the 2020 Meeting, in response to the very nature of the Meeting, a series of testimonies from around the world: "Keeping hope alive when everything seems impossible", a meeting with testimonies of a different, new humanity, struggling with challenging circumstances, but which is possible for everyone.