Dearest friends,

as the most beautiful Christian holiday of the year draws close, I am virtually putting pen to paper to extend the most affectionate warm wishes to the friends and supporters of the extended ABF family.

This December holiday that we are preparing to celebrate once again offers the salve of its Good News: extraordinary news capable of opening our hearts, evoking the coincidental miracle of the life that is born and the love that protects it.

We are leaving a complex year behind us. We all know how much worry and suffering have darkened the days this past year, due to the many wars that are plaguing the world. Equally, and with even more strength and conviction, we remain optimistic and are striving to do good, together with each of you, certain that the latter will ultimately prevail. The holiday season and the warmth of the spirit that encapsulates the season are also special for this reason: because they allow us – by illuminating it – to fully regain our inner home, strengthening the daily exercise bestowed to us by Gandhi of becoming “the change we want to see in the world”.

For twelve years now, in the daily lives of my family as well as in those of many friends, this drive has a name, or rather, an acronym. ABF: the foundation that has motivated us to act, strive and test ourselves every day, together with wonderful partners, colleagues, friends and supporters.

As I always say, this is a journey that began when poverty ceased to exist only between the pages of newspapers or on our television screens, and instead began to knock on the door of our homes. At that time, Veronica and I realized that there was an urgent need to do something and that, while alone we could do much, together we would be able to do so much more.

This is the idea that has shaped this virtuous extended family of which you are an integral part, a tool to implement important projects, starting with education and thus with schools. It is no surprise that Aristotle reminds us that the roots of “paideia” (namely, education aimed at ethical and spiritual development) are love, yet its fruits are sweet!

We have built numerous educational facilities, in Haiti as well as in Italy (most recently, just this year, the educational HUB in the Sforzacosta neighborhood of Macerata), translating into tangible actions our belief that education is the key to fostering real opportunities for empowerment to generate stories of growth, beauty and opportunity.

We acted, also through projects such as “Voices Of” in Naples and Jerusalem,  in the certainty that art and beauty are human rights and that, aiming to generate beauty, they cannot be separated from education.

We recently had the privilege of being invited to the United Nations to speak about the virtuous strategies that ABF has identified over the years: its global educational programs, “ABF Voices Of” and “ABF GlobaLAB”. Projects that have proven to be best practices and have attracted international interest in the foundation.

Even while taking center stage in the glass skyscraper that houses the UNI, we reiterated our belief that real “empowerment” also means taking care of education, utilizing innovative approaches and tools, which recognize art, music and digital technology as valuable educational resources.

As the Ancient Greek thinkers pointed out millennia ago, “education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”. ABF’s purpose is precisely to kindle so many flames that, one day, they may rend the darkness (which exists wherever wars, evil and selfishness prevail).

In the hope that this Christmas will also be a time of fellowship (with the needy, with those who have been forgotten), I hope that your days may be filled with joy and serenity, together with your families. And that this Christian holiday may find all of us aware, of course, of the misery that exists in the world, but even more solid in facing such misery, with the serene and unwavering strength of love and faith, as magnificently described in the words of Etty Hillesum (enlightened by love and faith, in God and in life): the only way forward, as the Dutch Jewish writer reminds us, is that “each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others.”

From my family to yours, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas that is filled with peace and joy for all.

Andrea Bocelli