World Village Festival will bring individuals and communities interested in the Earth’s future together for solutions and actions in Suvilahti, Helsinki, during the last weekend of May (27–28 May 2023). There will be almost 30 factual programme items featuring changemakers from around the world discussing issues including the relationship between food production and climate change, access of minorities to influence, and the role of policy as a force for change.
The festival will focus on human-sized solutions and actions.
– It will take all of us to reverse the unsustainable course that our planet is on − to eradicate inequalities and discrimination and to build a future that will be sustainable for everyone. We believe that we can do it, but only as a united force acting together, says World Village Festival Programme Manager Johanna Eurakoski.
The festival will host several speakers with an internationally significant track record of generating a force for change. Roma feminist, activist and researcher Carmen Gheorghe is winner of the International Women of Courage Award for her ground-breaking work. Zimbabwean economist and trade union regional officer Tendai Makanza in turn has succeeded through practical action to improve women’s access to employment in Sub-Saharan Africa.
– African trade union activists are the strongest activists I know. Despite the hardships faced, they have the spirit to fix the damage caused by centuries of patriarchy, Makanza says.
Iraq-born human rights and peace activist Gashaw Bibani and Indian Professor of Social Medicine and Community Health Ritu Priya Mehrotra will share their experiences of what provides a framework for good and ecologically sustainable life.
Can policy generate a force for change?
The festival talks and discussions programme will cover themes including how Finland’s new Government will respond to the Sustainable Development Goals, what role is played by climate change in security policy in the future and whether policies might be different if everyone had equal access to influence.
Those taking part will include Members of European Parliament Sirpa Pietikäinen (National Coalition Party) and Ville Niinistö (Green League), Finnwatch Executive Director Sonja Finér, Finnish Centre Youth Vice President Eemeli Valli, Federation of Green Youth and Students Co-Chair Selinä Nera, journalists Liselott Lindström and Sean Ricks and Emma Hakala, Senior Researcher, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, who says:
– The climate crisis will also change the boundary conditions for foreign and security policy. It’s not possible to build sustainable security in a world undergoing environmental destruction.
Vital food versus advancing climate change
The perspectives covered by the speakers will include sustainability in cocoa production, impacts of climate change on humanitarian crises, role of agricultural producers in the green transition, science in future food production, and melting of Antarctica.
Speakers include Nina Elomaa, Vice President, Sustainability, S Group; Kaisa Mattson, Director, Sustainable Sourcing, Fazer; Tiia Kuusimäki, Chief Operating Officer, Solar Foods; Atte Harjanne, Member of Parliament (Green League); Inari Fjärd, Country Coordinator, Ecomodernist Society of Finland; Eija Asmi, Senior Research Scientist, Finnish Meteorological Institute; Petteri Uotila, Professor, University of Helsinki; Antero Kukko, Research Professor, Finnish Geospatial Research Institute; Annika Damström, Journalist, Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle; Oras Tynkkynen, Senior Advisor, Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra; Satu Santala, Associate Vice-President, UN International Fund for Agricultural Development; Tiina Huvio, Executive Director, Food and Forest Development Finland; Kati Partanen, agricultural and forestry entrepreneur; and Heikki Huhtanen, a 15th generation farmer, who says:
– Change is scary when you’re alone but can be exciting when you’re together with others. At least it’s easier together with others.
Other topics discussed will include who decides our futures, religion as a force for change, and the current state of the music business. The programme will also feature a documentary film about young Extinction Rebellion activists, Rebels with a cause (2022). This is the third year that the festival organiser Fingo will give out the Global Philanthropist of the Year 2023 Award. Members of the jury include President Tarja Halonen and human rights activist Ujuni Ahmed.
More programme items, the maps and the exhibitors will be released on 20 April. Read more about the full programme.
World Village Festival is Finland’s leading event for global action for the whole family, an admission free cultural festival-, and a trade fair for sustainable development. The event will be organised in the Suvilahti event venue, Helsinki, in 27–28 May 2023 with Force for Change! as the theme. The main organiser is Finnish Development NGOs Fingo. The main partners are the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Maailman Kuvalehti magazine.