The meeting, organized by the Dhillon Marty Foundation, comprises a range of events aimed at highlighting civic engagement and getting people to support sustainable solutions to social problems. It was launched June 16 in France with the distribution of Empreinte Civique, a daily newspaper being published and distributed across 15 countries until June 30.
|Sonia Dhillon Marty|
According to Sonia Dhillon Marty, the India-born president of the foundation, only the development of critical thinking and common civic values will help humankind to deal with the future, especially in the face of seemingly unstoppable technological changes.
“Democracy needs engaged and thoughtful citizens. Our mission is to build critical thinkers who are passionately engaged to defend a fair and just society,” she said.
A former business-development professional at tech company Cisco Systems, Dhillon Marty says she is concerned about getting youth involved in discussions about sustainability, especially as regards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Her aim is to bring together artists, academics, experts from various disciplines, and young people to “investigate sustainable solutions for our interconnected world”.
In partnership with CIDJ (Centre d’Information et de Documentation de la Jeunesse) and UNESCO’s MOST program (Management of Social Transformations), the Dhillon Marty Foundation has widened its scope this year for a greater appeal to community involvement. The diverse events will bring together “social practice” art and dialogue on contemporary global issues.
|Members of the Dhillon Marty team.|
Each program provides an “egalitarian approach to the current social challenges and explores how a holistic solution, beneficial to everyone, can be possible”, Dhillon Marty said.
Subtitled “#ShareYourHumanity” (last year’s winning phrase from a global competition), the 2018 event features a street art performance on June 18 at a store in northern Paris. Artists will use mattresses to produce art, as a means of emphasizing that the well-being of the individual and the community go hand in hand, Dhillon Marty told SWAN.
The following day, June 19, the foundation hosts a “Garden Share” and Japanese tea ceremony, with participants exchanging views on sustainable food production. The focus here is on how each person can contribute to “seeding” quality food and life.
Other activities include a “Social Movement” dance performance and a street cleaning, or “Soji”, initiative - inspired by the Japanese practice of cleaning communal spaces. The latter will take place on June 22, at Place de la République, in Paris.
These social-practice art programs will be followed by panel debates and discussions June 26 to June 29, on topics such as inclusive community action, the economics of technology, and democracy and governance. The annual competition to select the “Phrase of the Year”, from submissions by young people around the world, will take place June 28.
A more physical activity - a run for gender justice - is scheduled to close out this year’s conference. The “#JustRunParis” event “represents the struggle for advancement in quality of life and work undertaken by courageous and tireless women to build a world of more possibilities,” Dhillon Marty said. The route will include different locations in Paris where “pioneering, trailblazing women have changed history and keep inspiring generations”, she added.
After the run, participants will come together for a “Lungar” - a picnic where everyone will prepare, serve, and enjoy food in a “bonding experience”, as in the Sikh tradition of India.
For further details on the conference program, please go to: http://www.dhillonmarty.org and @dhillonmarty. Due to limited seating, registration is required for all programs.