Kollaasikuva festivaalin puhujista.
In photo Koko Hubara, Natalia Kallio, Christine Kandie, Reena Lama, Julian Kondur ja Illia Ponomarenko. Photos: Jere Satamo, Natalia Kallio, Christine Kandie, Miraz Roshan, Meeri Koutaniemi ja Kostyantyn Chernichkin.

World-changing courage at the core of World Village Festival talks and discussions programme

Talks and discussions at World Village Festival will bring you dozens of perspectives on courage to make the world more sustainable and just. Burning topics such as wars, crises, climate change, human rights and status of minorities are approached in line with this year’s festival theme through the voices of people taking courageous action in different parts of the world. The free festival takes place on 25–26 May 2024.

One of the internationally best-known Ukrainian war reporters, journalist Illia Ponomarenko will talk about information influence in the war context and discuss the role of communication in Ukraine’s struggle for survival.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine is one of the most absurd, unnecessary and pointless wars in the history of humanity. This is also the biggest and most brutal war of conquest since the Second World War. We in Ukraine desperately need help from our friends so that our army could put an end to this nightmare and restore peace on our continent”, says Ponomarenko, whose visit to the festival is sponsored by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Ukrainian Roma activist Julian Kondur will talk about the courage through which Ukraine’s Roma minority have risen to fight on the battle lines since the start of the war of aggression and to help not only Roma but also others in distress. The roles and courage of women during wartime will be discussed through the story of Ukrainian war veteran’s wife and mother of three children Yuliia Mizina.

Award-winning human rights defender and member of Kenya’s indigenous Endorois community, Christine Kandie will describe how a girl with a disability grew up to become a civil influencer defending the rights of minorities.Kenyan Julius Mbatia in turn knows about climate damage and ways of addressing it at grass-roots level and negotiates on these at UN climate conferences.

Nepalese human rights activist Reena Lama breaks taboos and prejudices: from the early 2000s, she has worked with marginalised women such as the HIV positive, sex workers and drug users.

Finn Church Aid Country Directors Patricia Maruschak (Ukraine), Seme Nelson (South Sudan) and Mazen Khzouz (Syria) will discuss aid work amidst crises. Where to find the courage to help in the middle of war and conflicts?

Current politics

The European Union panel discussion will see EU Youth Delegate of Finland Emilia Uljas, Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra Director for Democracy and Participation Veera Heinonen and political journalist Robert Sundman discuss, ahead of the European elections, how to get people, particularly the young, in Finland to participate and vote.

Local politics and planetary health will be approached through the case of Helsinki’s local forests in Stansvik. Local natural environment is being eroded everywhere and biodiversity loss is already threatening the health of us humans, too.

“Biodiversity loss is a global crisis that is difficult to grasp, but it is caused by countless local acts. These are something we can all influence”, says Lauri Kajander from the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.

How to be courageous, an activist and an anti-racist?

Many of this year’s festival programme items will encourage people for action, courage and responsibility. Activism will be discussed by journalist and author Koko Hubara, human rights trainer Natalia Kallio and Sustainability Manager Anniina Nurmi.

“The only way to build an equal and peaceful society is by taking action together. This in itself is already an act of courage in this individual-centric world”, says Kallio.

The programme brought by Maailman Kuvalehti will feature nurse and Kurdish activist Rojin Birzoi, fashion designer Justus Kantakoski and researcher Sanna Valtonen talking about their own growth into courageous people. Anti-racism will be discussed by early childhood educator Paco Diop and Refugee of the Year 2023 Berivan Suleiman.

The festival will also feature a multilingual worship service where you can pray for peace and a more just world.

The talks and discussions programme will take place in the Tiivistämö venue at the Suvilahti festival site and will also be streamed on the World Village Festival website. For more detailed schedules and programme details, visit worldvillage.fi.

More information

Communications: Nelli Korpi, nelli.korpi@fingo.fi, +358 50 317 6698
Programme: Johanna Eurakoski, johanna.eurakoski@fingo.fi, +358 50 317 6696
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Press photos at Flickr

World Village Festival is Finland’s leading event for global action for the whole family, an admission free cultural festival and a trade fair for sustainable development. The event will be organised in the Suvilahti event venue, Helsinki, on 25–26 May 2024 with Courage as this year’s theme. The festival’s core values are diversity, equality, responsibility and communality. The event is expected to attract around 50,000 festivalgoers. Admission to all events is free. The festival organiser is Finnish Development NGOs Fingo and the main partners are Finn Church Aid, the European Commission Representation in Finland, the European Parliament Liaison Office in Finland, Radio Helsinki and Maailman Kuvalehti magazine.