Migrants, he said, bring their own culture which is "a richness for us," but must also receive part of the culture they come to so that a real "exchange of cultures" takes place.
"Yes, there is fear, but the fear is not only of migrants," but of those who commit crimes, he said, and, pointing to the bombing of an airport and subway in Belgium last year, noted that the persons who carried out the attacks "were Belgians, born in Belgium."
They were the children of migrants, but migrants that had been "ghettoized," rather than integrated, he said, explaining that fostering respect for one another can "take away" this fear of different cultures.
In addition to responding to Essa's question, Pope Francis also took questions from three other students studying in different fields at the university.
The students were Roman-born Niccolo Romano, who asked about how universities can work maintain their "communis patria," or "common homeland" for all; Giulia Trifilio, who asked the Pope what "medicine" is needed in order to combat violent acts in the world; and Riccardo Zucchetti, who asked how students can work to constructively build society in an increasingly changing and globalized world.
In response to Trifilio's question on how to put an end to the violent acts humanity at times seems prone to throughout the world, the Pope spoke about the importance of language and "the tone" that's frequently used, even in casual conversations.
Whether at home or on the street, many people today "yell," he said, explaining that unfortunately "there is also violence" in the way people express themselves.
He also pointed to the arbitrary greetings between even family members, who in a morning rush pass by with a quick, yet meaningless "hey" while on the way out the door. Even these seemingly small things, he said, "make violence" because they make the other person "anonymous," taking away their name.
"There's a person in front of us with a name, but I greet you like you are a thing," he said, noting that this starts at the interpersonal level, but "grows and grows and grows and becomes global."
"No one can deny that we are at war. This is a third world war in pieces," Francis said, adding that "we need to lower the tone a bit; to speak less and listen more."
As a remedy, the Pope suggested the ability to listen and receive what the other person is saying as the first "medicine" to take, with dialogue as a second.
(Story continues below)
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"Dialogue draws near, not only to the person, but hearts. It makes friendship. It makes social friendship," he said, adding that where there is no dialogue, "there is violence."
"I spoke of war. It's true, we are at war, but wars don't start there, they start in your heart, in our hearts, when I am not able to open myself to others, to respect others, to speak with others, to dialogue with others, war starts there."
This must also be practiced at the university level, he said, explaining that a university must be a place where discussion takes place among students, professors and groups. If this doesn't happen, "it isn't a university."
Pope Francis cautioned against what he termed as "university of the elite," or the so-called "ideological universities" where students go, are taught one line of thinking, and then prepared "to make an agenda of this ideology" in society.
"That is not a university," he said. "I go to university to learn, yes, but to learn to live the truth, to seek the truth, to seek goodness, to live beauty and seek beauty. This is done together on a university path that never finishes."
In response to the question about building up society amid rapid changes and increasing globalization, the Pope said an important lesson that has to be learned is to "take like as it comes."