Summit of Conscience

People from many of the world’s religions and wisdoms will meet in Paris on July 21 for a World Summit of Conscience to answer the question “Why do I care about the planet?” and launch a “Call to Conscience for the climate”.

It is only a mobilization of conscience on a global scale that will enable humanity to meet this great challenge confronting us: how to limit global warming by taking real action, including reducing our consumption of fossil fuels.

Time is short. This is not only a political economic or ecological issue. It is the future of humanity that is at stake.

Each of us is called to respond now to the questions: is it important to me that the adventure of mankind on Earth can continue? Am I ready to change my lifestyle today so that the children of our children come into this world in tolerable conditions? And why, ultimately, do I care enough to do so?

In the preamble to the COP 21 Climate Conference, in Paris, the Summit of Conscience launches the “Why do I care?” campaign. It is an invitation to everyone – leaders, personalities and citizens of all countries of the world and of all faiths – to respond to this question, based on their own conscience and their own story.

Why do I care?

Call to Conscience

Letter to be presented to each Head of Delegation attending the Paris COP and signed by all key religious and cultural figures attending the Summit of Conscience

From a meeting in Paris for a “Summit of Conscience for Climate”, initiated by Nicolas Hulot, the French President’s Special Envoy for the protection of the planet, we are taking this opportunity to speak to you, person to person.

By their nature, COPs offer an opportunity to meet and talk at the highest level. They also offer an opportunity to undertake decisive steps to tackle climate change; but as we all know that opportunity is beset by challenges.

2015 is a dramatic year for making key choices for Humanity: we need to reinvent how we tackle the major challenges that face us and our planet. This calls for new ways of living and acting.

Such a call comes from the deep belief by the signatories to this letter that to really make a difference each of us needs to approach these complex challenges from our own individual personal consciences.

This calls for real honesty at every level, and it is vital that it starts here, among those deeply involved at the level of leaders of national delegations, NGOs, the scientific community, civil society…

So as you prepare to come to Paris we would like to ask you to think about your personal role, and answer a simple, but profound, question: Why do I care?

Your response might be very personal – the influence of a parent, child or grandparent; the influence of culture or personal beliefs; the influence of a transformative experience of the wonder and beauty of nature; a crisis in your life which brought you back to core values.

In our contemporary world it is very rare that we are asked to talk about what lies at the heart of our actions. Instead we hide behind statistics, data, policy statements etc, few of which actually touch other people’s hearts and minds.

To create this letter, and to consolidate the movement behind asking this question, several public and private institutions hosted The Summit of Conscience, in Paris, July 2015. They invited thinkers, faith leaders, artists, cultural figures, thinkers and others to explore the idea of individual conscience as a way to finding a real solution to climate change and the destruction of the environment.

Many of the Summit attendees are signatories to this letter, and each has gone through the thoughtful, sometimes tough, often revealing process of trying to find an honest answer, rather than just an obvious one.

In telling the story of Why do I care, you will be joining millions around the world, including the example set recently by His Holiness The Pope, in making climate change and the protection of our beautiful planet a personal issue of our own beliefs and values.

Why are we asking you to do this? Because we hope that in answering this question, you will come to the Cop primarily as a conscious human being not just a representative of a Government or agency.

In the end the most important element of this is that we hear from you as a person, a member of the human family who has for a time a uniquely significant role to play in protecting the world.


7h45-8h45: Participants registration

8h45-10h: Introductory Session (speaking order to be confirmed)

– Opening speech from M. Jean-Paul Delevoye, President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council

– Speech from M. Kofi Annan, Chair of “the Elders”, Chairman of the “Kofi Annan Foundation”, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations

– Speech from His Excellency M. Michael Higgins, President of Ireland

– Speech from His Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco

– Speech from M. François Hollande, President of the French Republic

Polyphonia Quartet, Israeli and Palestinian musicians (12-15mn)

10h-11h: Opening session: Why We Should Care

– Introduction by M. Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the President of the French Republic for the protection of the planet

– H.H. Bartholomew 1st, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

– H. Em. Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

– Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs, American Jewish Committee

– Prof. Abdou Filaly-Ansary, Director of the Institute for the Study of Muslims Civilisations – Aga Khan University

– Prof Tu Weiming, International Confucian Ecological Alliance, China

– Ms Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO

– Ms Marina Silva, Senator from the State of Acre, Brazil

11h-11h30: Coffee Break

11h30-12h45: First plenary: Why do I care? – The fight against climate change, a personal situation, a universal challenge.

Personal reflexions based on the experiences, philosophies and religious beliefs of participants

Text sung by Venerable Chang Ji and Venerable Chang Zao, Dharma Drum Mountain, Taiwan

11h30 – 11h45: Keynote addresses

– Fr. Rigobert Minani-Bihuzo, Director of Jesuit Social Center in Africa, DRC

– M. Mohammad Yunus, Founder of the Grameen Bank (Bangladesh)

11h45- 12h30: Discussion between panelists (here presented in alphabetical order)

– M. Ghayth Abduldjabbar Abdullah al-Timeemi, Founder of the Center for Racial, Religious and Cultural Diversity (Iraq)

– Ms. Nandita Krishna, Director of C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, Director and Founder of the Center for Environmental Education CPR (India)

– M. Mahamandeshwar Swami Avdeshanand Giri, religious leader of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, India

– M. Andrea Riccardi, Founder of the Sant’Egidio community (Italy)

– Ms Alina Saba, Environnemental activist (Nepal)

– Ms. Vandana Shiva, environmental activist (India)

– M. Trin Xuan Thuan, Astrophysicist (USA)

12h30-12h45: Discussion within the audience

12h45-13h45: Buffet Lunch

13h45-15h: Second plenary: How Do I Show that I Care? – What am I already doing that shows my involvement in the struggle on climate change?

– Testimonials, actions and commitments to act by participants and religious communities

– Dance performance : Ms. Nobuko Kashiwagi. Traditional Japanese dance in honor of nature

13h45-14h: Keynote addresses

– Ms Susan George, Honorary President of ATTAC,

– Master Zhang Xueling, China Daoist Association

14h-14h45: Discussion between panelists (here presented in alphabetical order)

– Reverend Takayuki Ashizu, Chief priest of Munakata Grand Shrine (Japan)

– M. Jean-Luc Fauque, President of the Supreme Council of the European Confederation – the Scottish Rite

– Rev. Fletcher Harper, Director of GreenFaith (USA)

– Sister Chan Khong, representative of the Thich Nhat Hanh Community (France)

– Fr. Dominique Lang, Chaplain of Pax Christi France, Author of the blog “Churches and Ecology”

– Mr Henrik Madsen, CEO DNV-GL, Norway

14h45-15h: Discussion within the audience

15h-16h15: Third plenary: What do I do ? – How to fight climate change

Testimonials, actions and commitments to act by participants and religious communities

15h-15h15: Keynote addresses

-M. Sebastiao Salgado, Photographer, co-founder of Instituto Terra (Brazil – France)

– Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa, Bishop of Bunyoro Kitara (Uganda)

15h15-16h: Discussion between panelists (here presented in alphabetical order)

– Dr Vinya Ariyaratne, Director of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement (Sri Lanka)

– M. Swami Amritasvarupananda, Amma’s representative (India)

– Sheikh Khaled Bentounes, Spiritual Guide of the Alawiyya Sufi brotherhood (Algeria)

– M Sailesh Rao, Director of “Climat Healers Initiative for Transformations” (USA)

– Ms Alina Saba, Environnemental activist (Nepal)

– H.Exc. Bishop Frederick Onael Shoo, Founder of the Lutheran Movement for the Environment in Africa (Tanzania)

16h-16h15: Discussion within the audience

16h15-16h45: Coffee Break

16h45-17h: Two stories from Amazonia

– From Sarayaku: Ms. Patricia Gualinga, daughter of Shaman Don Sabino and sister of José Gualinga, former president of the Sarayaku community with M. Felix Santi, President of the Sarayaku Community ( Equator)

– From Guarani-Kaiowa: Ms. Valdelice Veron, spokeswoman of the Guarani-Kaoiwa People, with M. Natanel Vilharva Cáceres, cacique of the Guarani-Kaiowa People (Brazil)

17h-18h: Fourth plenary : “Inspiring the World to care – igniting the will to act for the climate

How to carry the message beyond this Summit from now until COP21. How to ensure other Summits of Consciences are organized elsewhere in the world, by public figures and non-denominational and religious institutions/organizations.

For this session, as well as for the closing ceremony, accredited ambassadors will be invited.

17h-17h15: Keynote addresses

– Ms. Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation- Climate Justice

– M. Nigel Savage, President of Hazon (USA)

17h15-17h45: Discussion between panelists (here presented in alphabetic order)

– M. Ahmed Abbadi, Secretary General of the Oulemas League (Morocco)

– M. Oumar Abdi Deputy executive director of UNICEF

– Senator Loren Legarda (Philippines)

– Ms. Masami Saionji, President of “The World Peace Prayer Society” (Japan)

– Dr Rajwant Singh, EcoSikh (USA)

17h45-18h: Piece of Violin interpreted by Zhang Zhang

18h-18h30: Closing session

– Official launch of the “Call to Conscience for the climate” for all persons involved in the climate negotiations, and official submission to the ambassadors present.

– Presentation of the new commitments made by the participants and “The Green Pilgrim Age” initiative

– Speech from Ms. Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, the Sustainable Development and Energy

– Speech from M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the International Development

– Speech from M. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Founding Chairman of R20

– Speech from M. Janos Pasztor, Assistant Secretary General on Climate Change speaking on behalf of the UN Secretary General

18h30-18h45: Closing ceremony with young readers from Bayard for the Youth, projection of a short video “A story told by Children” and delivery of a Planet to Personalities.

– Cheikh Lô, Senegal