TENTATIVE PROGRAMME for the 13 th of September. Room II

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2 TENTATIVE PROGRAMME for the 13 th of September Room II 2

3 Each theme will be presented and discussed first by a keynote speaker, followed by two other speakers whose participation will provide a complementary or different point of view than the one initially expressed. The objective is to provoke the public s participation and to initiate the debates around the central theme. The audience might therefore present the speakers with questions regarding the interventions. «My mouth will be the mouth of sufferings which don t have a mouth» Aimé Césaire Quotation from Notebook of a return to the native land For Aimé Césaire, the struggle for the emancipation of humanity is that of universal solidarity. The humanization of all people guided Césaire s poetic and political work. My mouth will be the mouth of sufferings which have no mouth, my voice the freedom cry of those who languish in the dungeons of despair [ ] in the world there is no wretched victim of a lynch-mob, no wretched victim of torture in whom I am not murdered and humiliated. «Working in conflict or post-conflict areas to build the reconciled universal does not mean forgetting peoples struggles for liberty and dignity. Emancipation of people, civic peace, social justice, and dialogue in reciprocity and rights, these are the goals that have guided several generations of men and women, often at the cost of blood and sacrifice, who have fought to win and share political, social, economic and cultural rights, and participate in the universal. These are the foundations to which Tagore, Neruda and Césaire were committed, as active visionaries, proposing a dialogue based on the integrity of the human being, despite the difficult historical and geo-cultural contexts and as different as they were in Asia, the Indian sub-continent, Latin America or the Caribbean at the crossroads between Europe and Africa. Their project was not to put history on trial, but to contribute to the emancipation of peoples by freeing them from political oppression while eradicating the moral or intellectual servitude that threatens us all. The anti-colonial struggle of these three men, who spoke from the South, was a fight by determined humanists, convinced that rule of law would prevail over exclusion, sectarianism, extremism, racism or intolerance, and that the inalienable values of a responsible universal were not the prerogative of a few people or the monopoly of a few groups within society. [ ] The North and the South both seem to raise the same question that Tagore, Neruda and Césaire placed at the heart of their humanistic involvement: how can we build a just global society in which each person commits to sharing with others a Universal of rights, dialogue and meaning?» 3

4 «Give back those woods, take away these cities» Rabindrânâth Tagore It was at his school, in the rocky laterite soil of Santiniketan, that he introduced Briksha Ropan, a tree planting festival as well as Halakarsan, a plough ceremony to celebrate the first draw of the plough. Together, with the practice at Santiniketan of teaching under the trees in the embrace of nature, with the students feet touching the soil and their heads under the sky in a training of the senses, these festivals inspired respect for the omnipresence of nature. He voiced this anxiety when he wrote: Give back those woods, take away these cities. «The need to rethink the representation of humanity, its activities, and its place in the natural environment in which it is an integral part, is the subject of increasing international awareness and debate. By their humanist commitment, Tagore, Neruda and Césaire realized the crucial need to align the material and collective development of humanity with nature long before the ecological and environmental question had become the serious and pressing issue that it is today. Their pioneering visions remind us that human beings respect and love for nature have long united the wisdoms of Western and non-western civilizations, whether Hindu, African vitalist or traditional Amerindian, from an infinitely large cosmos to an infinitely small drop of water or a leaf. It is true that through their respective homelands, they were confronted with the apocalyptic imminence and power of earthquakes, such that their interpretation of history and their deep understanding of spiritual forces probably provided them with their anticipatory vision with regard to human induced catastrophes. Humanity claims to be able to control natural phenomena and cycles with economic, technological and scientific misjudgment, yet questions the division caused between humans and the environment, as a result of the excesses of industrial development. The current ecological mobilization is a result of environmental dysfunction that is widespread on a global scale. Natural sites have become degraded, ecosystems have become contaminated, and increasingly frequent human errors have caused catastrophes from chemical pollution and deforestation, wreaking havoc and devastation. Given the modest results of political decisions and the market s cynicism, these controversies seem to denounce this growing awareness as another dogma that only feeds new sources of profits, and sparks scientific rivalries and political hype.» 4

5 «Book, let me go» Pablo Neruda Pablo Neruda wanted a book that was open to life, to play an integral part of the movement to keep knowledge alive The need to pass on knowledge and teaching for action is inseparable from self-discovery, experience of the other, knowledge of history, and understanding the reality through books. Book, let me go. It is at the heart of the poet s mission, as an echo of the great movements that form human societies. «Tagore, Neruda and Césaire were convinced that the inalienable values of a responsible universal were not the prerogative of a few people or the monopoly of a few groups within society. These goals are still a long way off in the current global context, which sees the culmination of a process set in place since the birth of industrial civilization, and where a number of factors lead us to the conclusion that the current crisis is global and systemic, because it is the product of contradictions that stem directly from the logic of colonialism and imperialism, multiplied by technological, consumerist and materialist expansion. Economic war, social exclusion, conflict between religions and civilizations, environmental risk or the society of vigilance comprise the different facets of a unidirectional universalization, spreading anguish and revolt among hundreds of millions of human beings caught in an iron grip between segregation enclosed in the private sphere and dilution in the universal. [ ] Which form of education is needed to reinvent and to engage once again in the Universal? By transmitting data, conveying values, training the person, rekindling memories, revealing talents, opening up to the other, adapting to innovation? Questioning the relationship between the dominant and the dominated, the legacies of Tagore, Neruda and Césaire are strongly pedagogic and teach us that all knowledge and all cultures are of equal significance in terms of organic symbols depicting the diversity of peoples and civilizations. They help to define the mission that is embodied in education in order to, build in the mind of human beings a world order that finally makes the urgent demands of the universal and the individual compatible. Faced with the new and infinite jungle of data, the challenge is to awaken the conscience, the foundation of humanism and the advance of men and women towards a human community where there is an awareness of the values of justice and dialogue, resistance to enslavement, but also learning that responsibility is the only safeguard against the many dangers of acculturation, alienation, sectarianism or brainwashing. For Tagore, Neruda and Césaire, education comes from an exchange of knowledge and experiences the need for which transcend particularities in a multi-polar world, like a passport to social inclusion, economic integration and cultural dialogue. How, on the basis of their message, can education share, classify, deepen and transmit content, experiences, and values of the inestimable heritage that nourishes the reconciled Universal?» Contacts Coordinator: Edmond Moukala Reservations: Antonia Leroy, ; Other contacts: Lamia Somai-Lasa, ; Website: Eve Grinstead Division of Thematic Programmes for Diversity, Development and Dialogue Web Site: 5

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