Emmaus International

On 24 May 1969, 70 Emmaus groups from over 20 countries across 4 continents responded to Abbé Pierre's appeal and they met, for the first time, at the Federal Parliament in Berne, Switzerland. This meeting marked the adoption of the "Universal Manifesto", the founding text and common set of principles of our international movement. This Manifesto, a powerful marker in our history, is a still very relevant as it echoes our struggles today, at a time when our findings are alarming and we face many challenges.

Let us take action for justice and dignity!

On 24 May 2019, the international Emmaus movement will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the "Universal Manifesto" in Berne, in the same city where it was signed exactly 50 years ago. To mark the event, 350 member organisation of Emmaus International, spread across 37 countries and 4 continents, will renew (see the videos) these values and principles which guide their actions and which are more relevant than ever.

The Emmaus movement will enter the hall of the National Council of the Federal Parliament in Berne for a morning dedicated to the meaning of the "Universal Manifesto" yesterday, today and tomorrow, in the presence of 180 delegates and members.

Watch the video

The Swiss Emmaus federation, hosting this historic event, will invite the population of Berne to come to the Waisenhausplatz, next to the Federal Parliament, to meet their communities and groups present throughout the country. They will be invited to share a meal in the spirit of solidarity and to find out more about the three struggles which orientate the international movement throughout the world: ethical and solidarity economy, social and environmental justice, peace and freedom of movement.
All the Movement's groups will meet online on social media, through digital action which will enable them to join the celebration of this important event nomatter where they are based.

Faced by an unfair global system, which creates exclusions and conflicts, by a "financiarised" economy and the privatisation of common goods, the Emmaus groups as a whole aim to demonstrate, through this action, the fresh impetus that they wish to breathe into international solidarity!

Relive this event on video!

Highlights of the round table   Testimonies of the participants
Video 50ans TablesRondes                 Video 50ans Temoignages

The universal manifesto of the Emmaus Movement

EmmausOn 1st December 1968, Abbé Pierre wrote to all of the Emmaus groups in the world with the proposal of holding the 1st international assembly of the Emmaus Movement in Berne, Switzerland, on 24- 25 May 1969, the task of which would be “creating a Universal Manifesto of the Emmaus movement”. He sent out a draft “reflecting opinions of the provisional Council ”, established shortly beforehand to help him lay the foundations of an international organisation of the movement. Groups had the opportunity to send proposals for modifications. He drew their attention “to the need for this to result in a founding text, brief but complete, which both guarantees unity for the most important issues, while allowing freedom of application according to different contexts”.

allowing freedom of application according to different contexts”.
The Universal Manifesto was debated at length, slightly modified and then approved by acclamation on 24 May 1969. It reminds us of the origins of Emmaus, the symbolic nature of our name, and defines the fundamental principles of the Movement’s action, summarised as: “Serving those who suffer most”. It represented, at the time, “the lowest common denominator possible between a middle-class citizen of Switzerland and a Latin American revolutionary ” dealing with slum poverty.

Today the Universal Manifesto still remains the “founding text” of the Emmaus Movement and one of the 5 founding texts which must be signed by any organisation wishing to join Emmaus International.
The Universal Manifesto of the Emmaus Movement is available in 21 languages.

The first general assembly in pictures!

Photo flash back to this first global meeting of the groups held in Berne, Switzerland on 24 and 25 May 1969, at the request of Abbé Pierre. Abbé Pierre was there along with 150 representatives from 70 groups, originating from 20 countries.
This first meeting led to a new general assembly in 1971, in Montréal, when Emmaus International was established as an association.


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Discover our three struggles