Bonvenon, welcome-to the fifth Adelaide Festival of Ideas. which has as its theme the question 'Which Way to the Future?'.
Albert Einstein once remrked, 'I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. ' Such a view now seem, relatively speaking, short-sighted. We can no longer afford the do nothing option, to disregard, for example, the evidence of our disdain for our natural environment.
This Festival is avowedly not about predicting the future. Crystal-ball gazers ore not welcome, and should (as they must already know) stay away. Instead, the discussion is to be about imagined futures and how we might get there.
Most of us are in accord on the kind of future we want: freedom from oppression, to live peaceably with our neighbours, a sustainable earth, decent work, a long life and a first-rate health care system to tend for us when our health falters. In the end, our common hope is thot we can bequeath a better world for our children.
What we disagree about is how to build a better world. Grand schemes-a universal language,
a Ieague of nations, an international protocol to reduce carbon emissions-have been tried and found wanting. But have we erred too for in the other direction, become too parochial?
Yes, resoundingIy. That is the beauty of this Festival. Over the course of four nights and three days, some of the finest intellects in the world come to remind us of what lies beyond our city, and cajole and entreat us to change our world for the better. Listen, Iearn, taIk, do.
The Festival could not proceed without the endeavour of the staff of the Adelaide Festival Corporation, the inspiration of the program
advisory committee, and the generosity of sponsors. I thank them all for making this fifth Festival another success, one which firmly consolidates the Adelaide Festival of Ideas as the premier event of its kind in the world.
For our audience, real and virtual, we have two initiatives in 2007 that I encourage you to enjoin. All sessions are being recorded, and will be available as downloadable podcasts in the week following the Festival. A number of Australia’s Ieading bloggers hove also generously volunteered to cover proceedings and to give their reactions to the sessions they attend–be sure to take part and hove your say. The future is ours to imagine: that is its siren song. Come join the chorus on North Terrace this July.
Chair, AFoI Advisory Committee