The forum marked 100 years since the end of World War I and was designed to showcase solutions to global problems and pathways to peace.
Heads of state, fresh from the morning’s rainy public ceremonies marking the century since armistice, attended the first afternoon of the forum. Among them were Emanuel Macron, Angel Merkel, Vladimir Putin, and Justin Trudeau. (We were pleased to discover that a video about the event features these global leaders and our very own Perrine Hamel).
Where the action really was, however, was on the floor of the Grande Halle De La Villlette throughout the 3 days of the forum. There, the 120 projects each had a stand with a poster, other outreach materials, and an opportunity to engage with the international crowd to discuss how their work addressed critical global problems. We saw an extraordinary breadth of “solutions”—from nuclear disarmament to a moon village and from programs reuniting missing persons to those promoting interfaith dialogues.
Perrine Hamel (Co-Lead of NatCap’s Sustainable Livable Cities Program, pictured above) gave a pitch about NatCap to interested parties on the floor of the hall. Later that same day, I participated in a “fishbowl” session, moderated by a reporter from The Economist, that was designed to give attendees a better sense of what NatCap (the fish!) does and how we are trying to change the world for the better. Jan Kuiper (post-doctoral associate at the Stockholm Resilience Center and with NatCap) was a key member of our delegation, explaining NatCap’s approach to the many visitors to our stand. As luck would have it, Henry Borrebach (NatCap Training Program Manager), was in Paris and came by to help out as well.
In a time when we are barraged with news about global problems, it was inspiring to spend a few days focused on solutions. Creative solutions. Bold solutions. Solutions inside and across silos. Solutions at scales both large and small. I was pleased to represent NatCap on that global stage and look forward to other opportunities to get the word out about our own part of the path to global peace and prosperity.
Anne Guerry is NatCap’s Chief Strategy Officer & Lead Scientist.