4 years of Ideas Box | Université de la Paix

The FEU is pleased to host the 4th annual conference of Ideas Box: libraries that use technology to further peace, access to education and information, organized by Bibliothèques Sans Frontières as part of “Université de la Paix 2018”. For its fourth edition, which will be held at the Cité Internationale in Paris, from Monday, March 19th to Saturday; March 24th, 2018, the Université de la Paix has as its theme “Democracy Digitized: Challenges and Threats”. On the program: conferences, exhibitions, workshops, round tables and screenings. What if libraries could change the world? How, with the help of new technologies, initiatives such as the Ideas Box (a media kit designed by the NGO Bibliothèques Sans Frontières) enable librarians, non-profits, and private and state actors to work towards building peace, improving the quality of education and information for the most vulnerable around the world. Patrick Weil, President and founder of Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (BSF) and Jérémy Lachal, CEO and co-founder of BSF, talk about the impact of the Ideas Box since its birth in 2014.

About the Ideas Box

The idea came from a number. 17 years is the average time a refugee spends in a camp. 17 years during which most of the time he will not be allowed to leave the camp, to work, 17 years without doing anything. This is what more than 50 million refugees or displaced persons are experiencing today as a result of conflicts or disasters around the world. Displaced persons and refugees obviously have immediate needs for food, shelter and health care. But once these needs have been met, the populations must rebuild themselves and recreate ties. All too often, they are lacking the tools needed to envision their future. Something new had to be invented. Something that could also be useful, beyond refugees, for all vulnerable populations around the world. In response: a revolutionary media library. It is on the basis of this observation that we launched the “Urgent Need to Read” Campaign for a better consideration of the intellectual needs of human beings in danger. The appeal was supported, and continues to be supported, by prestigious personalities from around the world, starting with 9 Nobel Prize winners including Toni Morrison and JM Coetzee and world-famous writers such as Stephen King or Salman Rushdie. In response, together with the French High Commission for Refugees and the creator Philippe Starck, we have designed the Ideas Box: a standardized media library in kit form, easily transportable and deployable in the field. A robust and energy-efficient system. But also a system that offers content that is finely tuned to the needs of populations, their language and culture. The Ideas Box was therefore born out of this challenge for access to information, culture and education for refugee populations. But once it was created, the Ideas Box demonstrated all its capabilities and its great modularity, and very quickly we began to imagine its use and impact in other contexts, in industrialized countries as well as in the developing world.
More information about the Ideas Box..

The Speakers

Patrick Weil, President and founder of Bibliothèques Sans Frontières. Born in 1956, Patrick Weil is a historian specializing in immigration and citizenship issues. He is also Director of Research at the CNRS, and Professor at Yale University and the Paris School of Economics. In 2007, he founded Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (BSF), which has since become one of the world’s leading NGOs for development through culture and knowledge.

Jérémy Lachal, Executive Director of Bibliothèques Sans Frontières. A graduate of Sciences Po Paris and holder of a master’s degree in International Law, he founded Bibliothèques Sans Frontières in 2007 alongside historian Patrick Weil. Since then, he has directed this NGO which, in six years, has become one of the main support organizations for libraries and creative spaces (fab lab, co-working, etc.) in the developing world (more than 250 libraries created or supported in 20 countries, including France) and which has developed in the United States, Canada, Belgium and Switzerland. BSF also launched the French version of the Khan Academy in September 2013. Particularly interested in the use of new technologies and open source in the processes of education, cultural creation and information dissemination, it also works on the design of economically sustainable and autonomous cultural devices. Since 2012, Jérémy Lachal has been associated with the International Leadership Program of IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) in which he participates in the design of international strategies for the promotion of libraries, Open Access and information sharing.

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