Every two years the University of Alberta hosts The Festival of Ideas, a weeklong festival that features readings, debates, lectures, performances and more from amazing Canadians and enlightening international speakers.
This year the theme was aptly named “Shifting Tectonic Social Plates” and included lectures and presentations from renowned authors Fran Lebowitz and Don Tapscott as well 2011 Nobel Peace prize laureates Tawakkol Karman and Leymah Gbowee, and many other remarkable movers and shakers. While I wasn’t able to go to all the performances and presentations, I did make it a point to go to the Nobel Peace Prize Night and the last presentation featured in the Festival of Ideas. Hearing the stories of two very remarkable women, who against all odds mobilized the youth and women of their country to non-violently topple oppressive regimes, was very inspiring. As I was sitting in auditorium where the Nobel Peace Prize night was held, I couldn’t help but feel so privileged to be a part of a University community that actively promotes events such as the Festival of Ideas where people, not only from the local community but from all over the world, can come together and exchange ideas and promote discussions that can eventually lead to a better world.
The Festival of Ideas is just one of the many wonderful intellectual and inspiring events you can experience as a student and the University of Alberta – and I hope to see you at the next one!
By: Nathalie Batres