#Youth4Philo: Practicing Philosophy for Social Change


In the context of World Philosophy Day 2018, UNESCO organized an event that gathered youth from around the world to have a global dialogue on youth empowerment through philosophy, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 16 November 2018. The selected participants shared their own inspiring ‘PhiloTalk’ about how they practice philosophy to create social change in their communities.

Speakers were young leaders from Canada, India, Lithuania, Morocco and South Africa. The event was moderated by Cécilia Wilson and Zine El Abidine Larhfiri. The event opened the floor to various different topics that were discussed, such as, how can the practice of mindfulness help to create social change and how do superheroes relay philosophical values through storytelling.

“We don’t have to look at philosophy as something poured down by the 2% of what Quentin Crisp calls ‘the Golden Society’, the intellectual academics. We can turn to people even on buses, or at a dinner table to your family and ask: ‘What have you learned in your lives?’ Their life lessons are the most credible life philosophies in the world that have been validated by a lifetime of experiences,” says Deepak Ramola, one of the speakers.

The event started with a video message from Jay Shetty, a young change-maker whose mission is to make wisdom go viral. He had a powerful message to share: "Today, I want to encourage you to do this simple thing: Find your passion, help others find theirs, use it to serve others and turn it into a purpose."

The PhiloTalks and the stories were shared by:

  • Karolina Mazetyte, co-founder and CEO of Y2Y Initiative // Mindfulness: Creating Change within yourself and your Community
  • Deepak Ramola, founder of Project FUEL // Project FUEL: A Million Life Lessons
  • Zinhle Manzini, PhD scholar in Philosophy & Gender Studies // Gender & African Philosophy
  • Jeremiah Ellis, founder of the World Mosaic Project // The Philosophy of Superheroes
  • Yasmine Bennani, graduate in Philosophy & Public Policy // Exploring Artificial Intelligence through Philosophy
  • Leonardo Párraga, Founder of BogotART: The Philosophy of Love

Through a Q&A session with the audience, the young speakers interacted with the public and discussed the role of philosophy in artificial intelligence and pertinent questions were asked about the specific projects of the youth. UNESCO continues to work with youth as change-makers and supports the dialogue between youth from different regions and encourages them to share their stories.