This week LBC attended two of the lectures in the Global Citizenship lecture series, organised by the Zamyn Forum at the Tate Modern. We watched varied panels of speakers such as Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, Robert Guest, Business Editor of the Economist, Walter H. Kansteiner III, Senior Director for Africa at ExxonMobil, Tito Mboweni, Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti, Simon Taylor, Director of Global Witness and Ben Okri, Booker Prize-winning novelist and poet, take centre stage, at times uncomfortably, fielding questions and complaints from the audience.

Global Citizenship Lecture at the Zamyn Cultural Forum 2013

The lectures provided a range of perspectives on issues of sustainability, global resources, accountability and citizenship while the debates revealed growing concern about standards of global transparency, with eyebrows raised about the extent to which communities are truly represented as the agenda on sustainability is set by companies, governments and NGOs. In a globalised world with ever-scarcer resources and an increasingly competitive market, how can stakeholders, large and small, co-create the strategies they need to remain resilient? How can we ensure everyday people are well represented, informed, visible and listened to?

The events highlighted a real need to shift conversations about all our futures to a much more open platform for discussion and social action. Zamyn Forum and the Tate can be congratulated for their efforts. Although it seemed that there was not quite enough time for the wrangling, tense and at times accusatory questions to subside and for richer dialogue to emerge, the forum connected and pulled ideas and individuals together.

Often organisations at the coalface, running services that keep our communities thriving, are strained and have little time to peer above the parapet to connect with other active stakeholders operating alongside. Still, if conversations are shifting, there’s an opportunity to manoeuvre with them so that we don’t get left behind – how many of us will take it?

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