Reflections of Summer Camp 2019 in Marseille, France

September 2019

GGI Consultant, Nina Atwal was one of the eighteen fortunate participants at this year’s Summer Camp in Marseille. Returning to work inspired by the engagement and ideas that were shared, and having formed new connections with others from around the world, she gives an overview of last week’s hugely successful event

The ethos of Summer Camp is for experienced and young leaders to come together to share and draw on each other’s experiences in an organic way, to foster meaningful conversations and reflect on common issues. The goal is to inspire the identification of principles needed to tackle difficult issues and make our communities more sustainable.

This year’s edition took place in Marseille, France in mid-September. The focus for the participants from Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Ireland, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, the United States and United Kingdom was to explore the phenomenon of migration.

Sharing insights and experiences at a workshop session

The four-day conference was designed around activities that aimed to stimulate thinking and inspiration. The theme encouraged discussions on migration patterns, different types of migration beyond migration of people, the impact of migration on communities and individuals, and, why all of this is significant to us.

We explored the work of Le Corbusier’s housing unit, “Cité Radieuse”, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and considered the impact of the social, political and economic context on the commission of this incredible 1950’s symbol of modernity. We discovered the rich cultural diversity of the city of Marseille through purposeful observation of the city and its people, and engaged in culinary exploration through sampling food from a multiplicity of cultures. We attended the Marseille Soap Museum and discovered why soap has deep roots in the history of Marseille and how its evolution over centuries has been influenced by a number of cultural traditions.

Soap making at the Marseille Soap Museum

The experience was filled with unfettered exploration, informed observation, thought-provoking conversation and cultural consideration. But what are the tangible outputs or learnings from the experience one might ask? In line with the ethos of Summer Camp, which is for participants to shape their own perspectives and holistic development, the real value is the value that each individual ascribes to it. Thus, what participants took away from it was entirely up to them, and that is the beauty of the Summer Camp experience.

Global connections breaking bread at the end of an inspiring day