Lonely Planet Writer

A great big 'thinking party' is taking place in cities around the world tonight

All around the world on 26 January, prominent intellectuals, artists and researchers will meet the public for La Nuit des Idées (the Night of Ideas).

View of a small bronze replica of Rodin's The Thinker statue.
View of a small bronze replica of Rodin’s The Thinker statue. Image by wesvandinter

The Night of Ideas began last year in France, attracting a crowd of nearly 5000 people to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, to hear speakers from the cultural, civil and political spheres. This year, the organisers decided to expand worldwide with the theme ‘A World in Common’.

The organisers call these gatherings ‘thinking parties’ and they aim to promote the free exchange of knowledge and ideas all around the world. As well as centrally-organised events, organisations likes NGOs, bookshops, schools or laboratories were invited to set up their own local events as well, with the best ones appearing on the interactive world map to explore.

People listening to a debate are reflected in a mirror on January 27, 2016 during La Nuit des Idees (The night of ideas) held at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris.
People listening to a debate are reflected in a mirror on January 27, 2016 during La Nuit des Idees (The night of ideas) held at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris. Image by FLORIAN DAVID/AFP/Getty Images)

Some of the events taking place include a series of talks and films on a Buenos Aires beach, a discussion in Tokyo about how the ocean connects us, a debate on the geopolitics of sport in Sudan and a ‘circle of ideas’ in Marrakesh which will be simultaneously given in English, Arabic and French.  Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, said, he hopes the event will “encourage us not to resign ourselves and to restore our taste for the abundance of ideas…and allow everyone to think of a different world.”

The Night of Ideas is run by the Institut Francais, an organisation which promotes French culture through diplomacy abroad.
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