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[Dubai, 10-12 February 2019]



Dear Friends, Al Salamu Alaikum / Peace be with you!

I send you greetings and best wishes for your work. I carry in my heart the visit I have just made to the United Arab Emirates and the warm welcome I received. I encountered a modern country which is looking to the future without forgetting its roots. I saw a country seeking to transform into concrete initiatives and actions the words tolerance, fraternity, mutual respect and freedom. I also saw how even in the desert flowers spring up and grow. I returned home with the hope that many deserts in the world can bloom like this. I believe it is possible, but only if we grow together, alongside one another, with openness and respect, willing to take on everyone’s problems, which are the problems of each person in the global village.

I am thinking of you and your commitment in these days, as you face fundamental issues including political challenges, economic development, protection of the environment and the use of technology. It is my sincere hope that the question underlying your reflections will not only be “what are the best opportunities to take advantage of”, but “what kind of world do we want to build together?” This question leads us to think of people and of persons rather than capital and economic interests. It is a question that does not look to tomorrow, but further into the future, to the responsibility weighing upon us: handing on this world of ours to those who will come after us, preserving it from environmental degradation and, even before that, from moral degradation.

We cannot really speak of sustainable development without solidarity (cf.Laudato Si’, 159). We could even say that the good, if it is not the common good, is not actually good. Perhaps now more than ever, thinking and acting require a true dialogue with others because without others there is no future for me. I hope then, that in your activities you start from the faces of persons, from an awareness of the cry of people and of the poor, from reflecting on children’s questions.

With these thoughts I thank you and I hope that your efforts at the service of the common good may bear fruit. I ask the Lord to bless your commitment for a more just and prosperous world for everyone.

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