Redefining Narratives, Uniting Futures
1-2 February 2024, Lisbon – Portugal
(Updated on 05/01/2024)
2024 will be a pivotal year in shaping the future. Over the next eighteen months, more than 4 billion people worldwide, including European citizens in the June 2024 elections, will cast their votes in a landscape marked by unprecedented challenges. This period is crucial, yet it’s challenged by growing distrust, polarisation, and social fragmentation.
Re-Imagine Europa’s “Cycle of Distrust Analysis,” drawing on the work of Professor Manuel Castells and Professor Antonio Damasio, highlights how dangerous polarisation can be, leading to political stalemates and hindering progress.
This paradox defines our time: while there’s a widespread recognition among European citizens of the need for deep societal change to meet contemporary challenges and adapt to a global, mobile, and digital world, these same challenges are leading to extreme polarisation that blocks any change.
The 2024 RIE Annual Forum, hosted by Mr. Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon and member of Re-Imagine Europa’s Advisory Board, aims to tackle this issue head-on. Utilizing insights from the Cycle of Distrust and the Narratives Observatory to combat disinformation and polarisation in Europe (NODES), the Forum will bring together around one hundred leading thinkers and stakeholders with diverse perspectives and experiences. Working with RIE’s REFRAME Narrative Methodology, participants will address the factors leading to polarisation, building practical and implementable solutions.
The forum is set to redefine the conventional approach to addressing polarisation and disinformation by harnessing the power of narratology. We see this moment not only as a challenge, but also as a unique opportunity for Europe. Our innovative method is about converting the vibrant energy of public debates and diverse opinions into a force for creative new solutions. Europe has long recognized diversity as its strength, building systems that maximize this potential.
In an era where autocratic tendencies are on the rise globally, Europe can showcase a different path. It is the time to reassert our belief in the power of diversity and wealth of ideas. It’s about demonstrating that a vibrant democratic discourse is not just idealistic but a practical strategy for groundbreaking change.
Our experience with the RIE’s REFRAME Methodology demonstrates that by listening better and understanding our cognitive biases and the symbols we use is key to fostering genuine dialogue and move beyond the apparent polarisation to new world views. Such awareness is not novel — it echoes the methodology Nelson Mandela employed to engage with the Afrikaners, transitioning from polarised debates to solution-oriented discussions, rooted in mutual recognition of concerns and fears.
The outcomes of our discussions will not only shape the strategic direction of Re-Imagine Europa but also play a crucial role in identifying key priorities for the upcoming European mandate and inform the debates happening under the UN Summit for the Future. These insights will extend beyond the confines of the forum, with the potential to significantly influence both international and national political landscapes. By providing thought leadership and actionable recommendations, we aim to enrich the political discourse at multiple levels, contributing to more informed and effective policymaking across Europe.
Understanding narratives is not about changing minds but changing the conversation.
Let’s stop tilting at windmills and start building the future we want!