13-year-old Anja Rozen from Slovenia won the 2021/22 Peace Poster contest sponsored by Lions Club International. Children from around the world are invited to create a piece of art to show what peace looks like. All the winning entries over the last three decades are exceptional, showing the amazing vision that is so strong in young people. This poster in particular stands out in the situation we currently find ourselves in with conflict playing out across the world and the climate crises wreaking havoc on our shared home.

Ahead of the Intergenerational Climate Conference taking place next week, we thought it apt to share Anja’s vision for the world. Her image speaks volumes, and captures the central theme of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: the interconnection of all living beings; the interdependence between humanity, the environment, and the natural world, and a need for a holistic and integrated approach to environmental and social issues.

In the words of this young artist: “My drawing represents the land that binds us and unites us. Humans are woven together. If someone gives up, others fall. We are all connected to our planet and to each other, but unfortunately, we are little aware of it. We are woven together. Other people weave alongside me my own story; and I weave theirs.”

Her words and her artwork link also to the ongoing Synod on Synodality. Anja Rozen’s painting echoes the Synod’s call for collaborative and inclusive decision-making processes within the Church community, emphasising the significance of collective action, dialogue, and shared responsibility in fostering peace and addressing global challenges. Her illustration, symbolising interconnectedness and unity, aligns with the Synod’s spirit of participatory engagement, highlighting the importance of nurturing harmonious relationships not only between individuals but also with the environment, underscoring the imperative need for a sustainable and integrated approach to building a better future for all.

As we witness the profound vision and hope encapsulated in the artwork of young talents like Anja Rozen, it is a powerful message for us to embrace and draw inspiration from their youthful perspectives, listen to the voices of our young people and recognise the invaluable lessons to be learned. Perhaps too, it can serve as an encouragement for us all to remember and reignite our own youthful visions for a brighter and more harmonious future.