Tate Modern
29 May –12 June 2013 

A challenger to South Africa’s ruling party, the chief executive of Unilever and a Booker Prize-winning novelist are among the figures from the worlds of politics, business, the arts and academia who will be debating issues including mass migration, the flow of capital, environmental challenges and global governance at Global Citizenship, the inaugural Zamyn Cultural Forum in London this May and June (www.zamynforum.org). 

The series of eight free public events at Tate Modern will feature the South African former activist and founder of the party political platform Agang, Mamphela Ramphele, business leader Paul Polman and renowned writer Ben Okri, as well as such leading thinkers as the UN under-secretary-general Baroness Amos, former foreign secretary David Miliband, South African cabinet minister Trevor Manuel, UN special envoy and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, minister for universities and science David Willetts, and sociologist Richard Sennett. 

Zamyn is a not-for-profit company which aims to forge a dialogue with Western decision-making elites about the reality of globalisation. Global Citizenship is the organisation’s inaugural Cultural Forum and will bring together a wide range of speakers on platforms where difference will become the grounds for creative debate. Zamyn and Tate have developed the forum’s programme in partnership with Accenture, Africa Progress Panel, Barclays, Penguin Books and SOAS,University of London.

Scheduled ahead of the G8 Summit in London, the Forum aims to generate powerful new thinking on questions arising from the exponential growth in movement across international borders – of people, capital, resources and artefacts – and the challenges and opportunities for financial, cultural, academic and other national and international institutions. 

Where discussion addresses broader geopolitical issues, including the effectiveness and legitimacy of the G8, it will be grounded in the example of Africa, with a focus on South Africa. An analysis of the rapidly transforming country amid global shifts in power and alliances will provide a provocative and timely starting point for debate. 

One of the Forum’s themes will be Africa’s natural resources. Mr Kofi Annan, Chair of the Africa Progress Panel, which is co-hosting the ‘Resources’ debate, stated, ‘If we use these resources wisely, they will improve the lives of millions of Africans. If we don’t, they can fuel corruption, conflict, and social instability.’

A limited number of free tickets will be available for each of the eight events on a first-come, first-served basis from www.zamynforum.org. The two-hour events will also be streamed live to a global audience on the Global Citizenship website for free. Follow @zamynlondon and @tate for updates #zamynforum 

Notes to Editor

Michael Aminian, director of Zamyn, said:

Zamyn was founded with a vision of the transformative power of dialogue and collaboration across borders, cultures, sectors and disciplines, and between artists, psychoanalysts, writers, academics, visionary business leaders and politicians. I hope that Zamyn Cultural Forum 2013: Global Citizenship can extend a tradition of postcolonial thought found in the work of writers such as Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Chinua Achebe and Moustapha Safouan. It is significant that the Forum should take place in London. Historically the centre of the British empire, today it is perhaps the most cosmopolitan city in the world, where millions belong who also belong elsewhere.

Baroness Amos, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, and chair of ‘The foreigner? Exiles and migrants’ on 29 May, said:

As we see greater connectedness in our world, particularly through culture and social media, we are also seeing greater fragmentation. The Zamyn series of lectures and debates will give us all an opportunity to think through, in a more holistic way, some of the global challenges we face.

Antony Jenkins, group chief executive, Barclays, said:

The focus of this series of debates on South Africa is timely. In South Africa, and across the African continent more broadly, rapid change is taking place, driven by a strong entrepreneurial spirit and the opening up of new trade corridors. As a major provider of financial services in South Africa and in many other African nations we view this as an excellent programme for increasing understanding of the opportunities and challenges today’s Africa represents.

Chris Dercon, director of Tate Modern, said:

Today, institutions like Tate need to be fully committed to art across the globe. Art does not take place in a sphere apart from social, political and economic realities. The eight conversations of Zamyn Cultural Forum 2013: Global Citizenship are a great opportunity to focus on the role of culture in these debates. It is now more important than ever for us to demonstrate that art, politics and business all shape our shared global culture and to make the case that art has the power to change lives.

Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever, said:

Business has an opportunity to step up and fill the leadership void, but it will require moving from an old licence to operate approach to one based on a ‘licence to lead’. Companies that understand this and are willing to become part of the solution to today’s social and sustainability challenges will have a bright future. Those that don’t will become dinosaurs – outdated, outmoded and out-of-business. That is the challenge.

Mark Spelman, global managing director of Accenture said:

Today’s world is full of mixed signals ; the economic order is becoming more interconnected; the political ever more local and social inequality continues to rise. In this world of transition and change dialogue is even more important. This series of lectures and debates on Global citizenship is about nuturing common understanding and fostering collaboration across borders on the some of the big opportunities and challenges that we all face together as members of one planet.

Zamyn is a Farsi word meaning ‘ground’. Zamyn is based in London, with a global perspective. Zamyn’s work draws on the expertise and experience of its Board, Council and Circle members. They include Baroness Amos, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Edwin Cameron, Niall Fitzgerald, Paul Gilroy, Antony Gormley, William Kentridge, Hari Kunzru, John Lanchester, Daniel Libeskind, Shirin Neshat, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Ben Okri, Saskia Sassen, Richard Sennett, Lord Smith, Ahdaf Soueif, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Martin Taylor. 

www.zamyn.org / www.zamynforum.org 

Global Citizenship / Dates and themes

29 May The foreigner? Exiles and migrants

3 June University

4 June Artefacts

6 June Resources

7 June Capital

10 June Sustainability, citizenship and the environment

11 June After the G8: Is it going to be G-Zero or a positive number?

12 June Proposals for the G8 

Events start at 19.00 (18.00 on 11 June) and take place in the Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG.


For more press information, for press passes to forum events, or to find out more about syndication of event film footage, please contact Zamyn press office:
Call +44 (0)20 845 4681 Email press@zamynforum.org
Or contact Duncan Holden, Tate Press:
Call +44 (0)20 7887 4939 Email pressoffice@tate.org.uk

Global Citizenship  – The Inaugural Zamyn Cultural Forum, in partnership with Accenture, Africa Progress Panel, Barclays, Penguin Books, SOAS, University of London and Tate.