On the occasion of his visit to Italy, the president of the United States George W. Bush met an international delegation of the Community of Sant’Egidio.
"You are the international army of compassion" said President Bush at the beginning of the meeting. "Sant’Egidio – he added – is one of the great faith-based organizations in the world. And we’re here to talk about our common commitment to help the poor, feed the hungry, and help eradicate disease".
The meeting was requested by the President, as he himself wanted to explain: "I’m looking forward to hearing your strategies in dealing with some of the more difficult problems in the world. I’m proud of your organization, and I thank all members of your organization for being such loving souls".
After the introductory words of president Bush, Andrea Riccardi and Marco Impagliazzo, president of Sant’Egidio, illustrated the spirit with which the Community was born and works, as well as its spreading in the world.
During the meeting, that lasted 55 minutes, various issues have been dealth with, like care of Hiv/AIDS in Africa and the success of Sant’Egidio’s DREAM programme, now implemented in ten African countries. Effectiveness of this program of care is due – as was highlighted – to an approach that unites science and friendship. The president has moreover listened with special interest to the project legal registration of the "invisible children" that Sant’ Egidio is undertaking in Africa, where 70% of the minor are not registered at birth, with the consequent risks of this "legal non-existence".
With regard to the issue of struggle against illness and poverty in Africa, the president wanted to discuss with the delegation the effectiveness of the American relief and the World architecture of public support to development.
At the round table with Bush participated also the persons in charge of the DREAM programme , Cristina Marazzi and Leonardo Palombi who, illustrating the possible strategies to overcome the pandemic in Africa remarked how DREAM, by ensuring the right to care and health as fundamental for dignity of man "really represents an important step on the to democracy and the development of Africa".
Cristina Marazzi emphasized the role of the program of the Community in protecting and promoting the life of women: "The African mother is often at the lower level in the social hierarchy. But this fragile woman is the hope of the African continent – affirmed – to Protect the life of this small mother is preventing her sons from adding to the many millions of unlucky orphans. An orph