The Saint-Louis Forum: A city of Giving and Receiving

Amadou Diaw

Chairperson of the Saint-Louis Forum

The world, of course, has become complex. But as Edgar Morin rightly mentioned, “it is said more and more “it is complex” to avoid to explain. Here, we must make a real reversal and show that complexity is a challenge that the mind must and can meet.” How can we not consider this approach, which consists in unraveling the complexity of the world, on the basis of a collaborative and innovative reflection? To make the voice of the Africans, whether the Africans’, that from Africa and more broadly or simply African-inspired voice or a voice sharing the same ideals or values

The answer must be truly African. The Ubuntu should be crucial for this approach. The Ubuntu, ancestral philosophy, defines an art of living, an art of being human. The name Ubuntu “Humanity to others” or “I am what I am because of what we are all”. As an individual, it is therefore a question of being responsible and using our talents and abilities for the human community and for Life.

But how can we achieve this? Beyond compulsory indignation, we must undertake actions. Federate all innovative ideas, all good practices, all beneficial innovations, all innovative projects. Partner with all those who accept to be shareholders rather than spectators, who accept a chosen future and not an imposed future, who are convinced that part of the solution is in them, who are intimately convinced that reflection and action must be inseparable. Bring together leaders and entrepreneurs, officials and statesmen, creators and designers, thinkers and intellectuals, men of action and field workers, artists and literary people, and culture.

In a nutshell, bring together men and women from all generations, all continents, all cultures, all experiences, all social categories, all levels of expertise (experienced and recognized experts, enthusiastic people, amateurs and the general public, etc.) on the basis of the simple but true idea that the genius of the nature expresses itself through its love for diversity.

Far from a meeting dedicated to the elites, let us open ourselves to all those who want to be part of the dynamic transformative action, while engaging or participating in a collective reflection on the future of both African continent and the whole of humanity.

Far from a great mass, in which the beautiful statements abound, Let’s give a place of choice to the action, the one that changes or transforms the world positively, the one that solves and unravels critical situations, the one that appeases hearts and spirits, the one that advocates living together, the one that proves that human solidarity is not an empty word, the one that “drives the roots of our future in the soil [so that tomorrow] a canopy of hope raises to heaven” (Wangari Muta Maathai), the one that definitely, through its ambition and generosity, leads to never despair of either man or humanity. Rather than one more forum, let’s really imagine the forum that brings more.

Together, let’s make the voice of Africa stronger. Actually, it will encompass all the expressions of which the continent is the cradle or the receptacle, whether their authors are African or not: Africa is also a territory, and therefore everything that is said or made in Africa is part of the common heritage. Finally, Africa does not include only men and territories, it is also a world vision, it has values ​​and traditions, it is a state of mind, it is a representation of the world, etc. From this point of view, Africa can perfectly be regarded as a “universal heritage” that everybody on Earth could claim. We must set out differently this Africa that is a common good for all mankind.

We must not only develop theories, diagnoses and scenarios, but also do much more, especially prove, through actions, that the solutions exist indeed. We have to select an environment or rather a nest for that. Saint-Louis of Senegal, a city full of history and of a unique cultural and intangible heritage, is open to us. It is a lab-city, a space devoted to innovations, creativity and crossbreeding. Saint -Louis, a city of giving and receiving? A city in which Gaston Berger, the father of prospecting, was born was certainly ready to play such a role in drawing a Future for the world in general and Africa in particular.

The Saint-Louis Forum: serious ambition, one might think, but was the largest tree born from a small seed?

Author: Amadou Diaw // Photo: © Amadou Diaw


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