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Difficult Dialogues on 'global sustainability'

The annual international conference takes on the difficult task of discussing all things sustainable for its upcoming edition
(Left to right) Advisor of health and education Neelam Kaur, lawyer Pinki Anand, journalist Barkha Dutt, governor of Kerala Arif Mohammad Khan and director of Goa Institute of Counseling Clifford W. DeSilva.

Priyanka Roy (t2 Intern)   |   Published 12.11.20, 02:35 AM

Like every year, with an aim to bridge the gap between policy-making and ground implementation, the sixth edition of the annual premier international conference Difficult Dialogues is hosting its virtual summit and a special awards week from November 16 to 20 with the theme of “global sustainability”. In partnership with the tve Global Sustainability Film Awards, the forum this year will also witness the recognition of outstanding film-makers contributing to the cause of sustainability through their art form.

For the past nine years, tve Global Sustainability Film Awards (GSFA), has recognised film-makers from business, non-profit, media and creative sectors who are providing real-world solutions to the cause of sustainability with their films. Since the inception of Difficult Dialogues in 2016, every year various issues of global importance are discussed at the conference by selecting relevant themes like health, gender, education and law. Sustainability is the buzzword of the contemporary world and a crucial topic of discussion considering the present environmental issues and the need for creating a sustainable future for the next generation. It has been addressed by the United Nations too in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


A range of topics will be discussed by the forum in the presence of sustainability experts, business leaders, change agents, campaigners, film-makers and students from all across the world.  The forum has arranged for a five-day-long virtual session including various interactive and interesting events like dialogues, debates, panel discussions and films for better reach. The youth participation opportunity is provided by Daring Debates, which, like every year, will have participants from six countries — Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the US — as well as some from Africa.

Surina Narula, MBE, who founded of Difficult Dialogues, said that the discussion will be based on the subject of sustainability, which is most relevant to the present year. The award week is arranged with an aim to initiate conversations by awarding outstanding films on sustainable solutions. The initiative is taken in order to address and discuss issues related to sustainability that need urgent attention. The aim of the event hosted through various interactive activities is to find holistic solutions to the crucial problems related to sustainability. Four panel discussions will take place on themes pertaining to sustainability. The ‘Changing the Mindset’ panel will focus on the need to understand the effect of our actions on the environment, the ‘Role of Innovation for a Sustainable Future’ will focus on the innovative technological advancements and its impact in creating long-term sustainable solutions for the future, ‘The World in 2050’ panel will bring into focus sustainable development goals across sectors like social, economic and environmental. ‘The Hidden Stories, Impact Journalism; Business and Politics of Global Sustainability’ panel will discuss political and trade interest affecting global sustainability.

The panels will have speakers like Andrew Wilson, a change agent with expertise in sustainability and business purposes; Andrew Dunnett, director of Vodafone Foundation; Tony Juniper, eminent campaigner, writer, sustainability adviser and environmentalist; David Stringer Lamarre, a business leader, entrepreneur and innovator; Duncan Wardle, who served as the head of innovation and creativity at Disney; Mark Wood, an established speaker, author and explorer; Adam Ricobanni, an AI entrepreneur and author; Claire Rewcastle Brown, British investigative journalist who has campaigned relentlessly against environment destruction; and Poulomi Basu, Indian transmedia artist, photographer and activist.

In the awards week, awards will be given under eight categories — Young Filmmaker, Doing Business Differently Short Film, Innovations Short Film, Health and the Environment Short Film, Transforming Society Short Film, Campaigning Short Film, Solutions News Story Short Film, Documentary Impact, Founder’s Award and Artificial Intelligence — to recognise various contributions related to sustainability through the medium of films.

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