The World

Margaret Karram is the new Focolare president

David Fernández Alonso-February 1, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes
president focolares

Elected on January 31, she is the third president to lead the Movement after the founder, Chiara Lubich, and Maria Voce, who has just completed two terms.

Successor of Chiara Lubich

Margaret Karram, from the Holy Land, has been elected president of the Focolare Movement with more than two-thirds of the votes cast among the participants in the General Assembly of the Movement, composed of 359 representatives from all over the world. Succeeding foundress Chiara Lubich and Maria Voce, who remained in office for 12 years (two terms).

From the Holy Land

Margaret Karram is 58 years old and is an Arab, Christian-Catholic. Born in Haifa and graduated in Judaism from the Hebrew University of Los Angeles (USA).. He has held various positions of responsibility in the Focolare in Los Angeles and Jerusalem. He has also worked in various commissions and organizations for the promotion of dialogue between the three monotheistic religions, such as the Episcopal Commission for Interreligious Dialogue, the Assembly of Ordinary Catholics of the Holy Land and the ICCI organization (Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel). He worked for 14 years at the Consulate General of Italy in Jerusalem.

Since 2014 it has been at the Focolare's International Center. as advisor for Italy and Albania, and co-responsible for the Dialogue between Ecclesial Movements and New Catholic Communities.

She speaks Arabic, Hebrew, Italian and English. In 2013 she was awarded the "Mount Sion Award"The award was given together with Jewish scholar and researcher Yisca Harani, for their commitment to the development of dialogue between different cultures and religions.

In 2016, she received the Santa Rita International Award for fostering dialogue. between Christians, Jews, Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, starting from the everyday.

The election was held yesterday, January 31, 2021, but his appointment became effective only today, following confirmation by the Holy required by the General Statutes of the Focolare.

The document expresses the hope that the new president will be able to to perform their duties "with fidelity, a spirit of service and a sense of the Churchfor the good of the members of the Work and of the universal Church".

The president's tasks

According to the General Statutes of the Movement, the president is elected from among the focolarinas (consecrated women with perpetual vows) and will always be a woman. It is a "sign of the unity of the Movement"This means that it represents the great religious, cultural, social and geographical variety of all those who adhere to the spirituality of the Focolare Movement in the countries of the world. 182 countries where it is presentand which are recognized in the message of fraternity that its foundress, Chiara Lubich, drew from the Gospel: "....Father, may they all be one" (Jn 17:20-26).

There are many commitments and challenges awaiting Margaret Karram in the coming years: the tasks of governance and leadership of a worldwide movement like the Focolare, deeply immersed in the local and global realities and challenges of humanity, beginning with this time of pandemic.

The style of his work

The Bylaws also indicate the "style"that should distinguish the work of the president: "His presidency will be first and foremost a presidency of charity", it is said, "because it must be the first to love, that is to say, to serve her brothers and sistersrecalling the words of Jesus: 'Whoever wishes to be first among you will be the servant of all'." (Mk 10:44).

The president's overriding commitment, therefore, is to be bridge-builder and spokeswoman for the central message of the Focolare's spiritualitywilling to practice it and spread it, even at the cost of his own life.

The next steps of the Focolare General Assembly are the election of the Co-President this afternoon and of the Councilors on February 4.

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