Utopia Now – Highlights from the Saturday Summits

The first of our three Interdependence Saturday Summits is a day of practical advice on how to completely change the world, from rebooting democracy to ending inequality and averting climate catastrophe. Responding to the theme of utopian thinking that has inspired Rimini Protokoll’s Utopolis Manchester  at MIF19, we’ve invited inspirational activists who have the answers to fix our broken systems.

Every speaker will answer the question “how can we make a utopian vision today’s reality”.  Speakers range from ex-Presidents to community activists, from radical bakers to internationally acclaimed artists. We are honoured to host the launch of the UK Lived Experience Movement (LEx Move), a growing network of social leaders driving positive social change in the UK and beyond, as part of the event.

Highlights from the sessions will include:


Mary Robinson in conversation with Tessa Khan, Co-Director of the Climate Litigation Network, chair Zing Tsjeng

How do we reclaim our planet


Climate justice pioneer, Former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, is also the co-presenter of Mothers of Invention, the hit podcast celebrating the women around the world doing amazing things in pursuit of climate justice. She is joined by Tessa Khan of Urgenda, an international human rights lawyer doing climate litigation work on behalf of all of us. A powerhouse by all definitions, in 2015, Khan’s organisation won a historic climate case filed against the Dutch government.


We are the first generation to understand how serious the climate crisis is and the last generation to be able to do something about it. Mary Robinson

Brett Hennig 

Replace politicians with randomly selected members of the public


Brett Hennig is the author of The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy. His Ted Talk ‘What if we replaced politicians with randomly selected people?’ has been viewed over 1.5 million times. He co-founded and directs the Sortition Foundation, which campaigns to institute the use of stratified, random selection (also called sortition) in government.


Hennig takes stock of democracy in the past and present. His bold assessment will enable us to step out of the shadows of the political elite. Hennig does not stop there, however. In a fast-forward to the future, he outlines ways and systems that will make the dream of democracy come true. This book is an energy drink for social action. Dr Bettina Wittneben, Research Associate, University of Oxford

The Advocacy Academy – 11.20am-12.20pm

Empower the disenfranchised

The Advocacy Academy, a programme for young leaders from marginalised communities, show us how to give the disenfranchised tools to become change-makers
The Advocacy Academy is a transformational Social Justice Fellowship for young people who are passionate about making a difference in the world. These are the young leaders from marginalised communities tackling some of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

Ilhan Younis will be talking along with Darren Keenan and John-Paul Ennis. Ilhan Yonis was born and raised in South London and is a second generation immigrant/refugee from Somalia. She is a graduate of the Advocacy Academy (class of 16/17) and has been involved in activism for the past three years. In 2017, Ilhantook part in a viral video campaign addressed to the editors of The Sun and The Daily Mail, calling them out on the language that they used to talk about Muslims in their papers. She has been integral in campaigning for Lambeth’s first ever Community Land Trust to provide a viable alternative for genuinely affordable homes. She is currently studying social anthropology  at the University of Kent.

Lived Experience Elders Launch – 4.15-6pm

How do we reclaim our humanity
What do you fear?
When did you wake up?
What are you doing about it?
Where do you find hope?
How can you help?

The LEx Elders and New Constellations invite you to join us at the UK launch of the Lived Experience Movement (LEx Move). The LEx Elders is a growing network of social leaders who have activated their lived and learned experiences to pioneer and drive positive social change in the UK, and beyond. It was founded by Lived experience’ pioneer Baljeet Sandhu. Baljeet Sandhu is an award-winning human rights lawyer, a visiting fellow at Yale Law School and founder of the Knowledge Equity Initiative at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, exploring the value of lived and learned experience in innovation, entrepreneurship and social change. Co-presented with Gemma Mortensen, co-founder of More in Common and New Constellations. New Constellations provides an open, experimental space for people to connect deeply with one another and explore bold dreams of the future.

In an interactive, connected and experimental space, we will join together on a journey from fear, to awakening, to hope and action to uncover what is needed for ourselves, our communities and society to bring about a better future.

Sade Brown is a LEx Elder and Founder and Chief Executive of Sour Lemons, a charity that addresses the lack of diversity in leadership roles across the creative and social sectors.

Sophie Howe  

Take the longview


Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, makes the case for politicians that represent the unborn. She explains how she fulfils her brief to future-proof political decisions for our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Sophie was appointed as the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales in February 2016. Her role is to act as a guardian for the interests of future generations
in Wales, and to support the public bodies listed in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to work towards achieving the well-being goals


sophie howe



Just having an institution that is there challenging the status quo is making people sit up and take notice... The Well-being of Future Generations Act is unique to Wales attracting interest from countries across the world as it offers a huge opportunity to make a long-lasting, positive change to current and future generations. Sophie Howe

Greta Thunberg tells MPs at the Houses of Parliament ‘you did not act in time’.

To book tickets for the event, head to our Utopia Now page, and to find out more about the Interdependence series click here.

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