New York is buzzing for UNGA, and we are there with the Emotions to Generate Change exhibition

New York is abuzz with excitement for UNGA, and the exhibition Emotions to Generate Change is also present. After three years, the Big Apple is once again the bustling, crazy city full of service cars, presidential delegations, royalty, activists, observers for the UN General Assembly. And I happily go back, 29 years after my experience at the  New York Film Academy. It feels a bit like home.

The Emotions to Generate Change exhibition in New York during UNGA

Asaf Ud Daula’s photos and Pope Francis’ phrases from the encyclical Laudato Si create a unique journey through the halls of New York’s oldest club, The Century Association. Invited by HandShake,, we set up the exhibition on aluminum panels for the UNGA Kick Off Reception on 18 September 2022. The exhibition was originally inaugurated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square on 31 October 2021. In the following months, it embarked on trips to Davos, at Space Goal 17 during the World Economic Forum, then to Montecarlo, to various Italian regions, and to the Festival della Filosofia in Carpi.

The big night, the voices of Pope Francis and Bangladesh for integral ecology

The evening, organised by We Are All Human con HandShake, Faith and Media Initiative and Paramount, was attended by 500 people. It marked the beginning of a week full of meetings and discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals. Among those present were artists, entrepreneurs, senior government representatives, such as the Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Enrico Giovannini.

The voice of Pope Francis reiterated the call for an integral ecology, where no human being must remain excluded and where the care of creation remains an unavoidable urgency. The photos taken in Bangladesh by Asaf Ud Daula bring the voice of those who usually have no space and opportunity to express themselves. They showcase the need for a real integral ecological conversion.

Marianna Beltrami, Lia Beltrami, Nina Davuluri, Deana Walker

Faith in the media

During the busy week, we participated in the events of the Faith and Media Initiative, which aims to promote faith on a broad spectrum in the world media. Extremely interesting data emerged from their presentation of a global survey on the under-representation of faith in the media, during the Concordia Annual Summit. Looking at the data, one realises how wide the gap is between perception and reality. The results of the research can be found here.

Women’s voices in New York for UNGA, with the exhibition Emotions to Generate Change

Several shots in the exhibition we presented are about women and the exploitation of labour, including child labour. During the UNGA week, several events had women as their theme. In particular, the HeForShe Summit  Summit, with personalities such as the Prime Minister of Japan, highlighted the need for men’s collaboration in the path of justice for women. The Vital Voices, award sponsored by  Diane Von Furstenberg, is dedicated to women entrepreneurs in areas of hardship. For example, during the award ceremony, we listened to a woman who fabricates pads from bamboo waste –just one of the many very concrete projects. The Estée Lauder Foundation also works with women in difficult areas. During their event, the young poet Amanda Gorman touched consciences and spurred real change.

Amanda Gorman

The Tavern on the Green, my favourite New York corner

Of all the interesting places in New York, the one I like best is in the middle of Central Park, the Tavern on the Green. A simple building in the green lung, tiny compared to the skyscrapers. For those who have seen the film Mr Popper’s Penguins, it is a special location! There, we listened to Emerson Collective’s reflection on art, activism and community. The September sun painted a perfect picture.

The journey of ‘Emotions to Generate Change’ continues, with the hope that the images can touch hearts and then generate the change that is so necessary for the planet.

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