June 3, 2022

Lennon's dream lives on


imagine, the self-organized project of terre des hommes switzerland for diversity and against discrimination, has its birthday. The pioneering initiative, named after the legendary song by John Lennon, is more than a festival and has an impact that goes far beyond the stage.

It all started with an exciting idea - a music festival against racism, with young culture and thematic impulses, in the heart of Basel. When in 2001 a few committed young people brought the first imagine festival to life on Barfüsserplatz, probably none of them thought that in just a few years this manageable event would develop into the largest annual open air in northwestern Switzerland - with and 30,000 visitors per edition.

Room for diverse opinions

Even if the big stage and the loud music still represent the popular figurehead of imagine, it is worth taking a close look next to the garishly lit festival stage. Whether awareness-raising workshops in schools and clubs, creative thematic events in cafés or cultural events in clubs and concert venues - the world of imagine is colorful, diverse and committed. The common thread is the slogan "For diversity. Against discrimination" in all its facets.

This message reflects a value attitude. Nevertheless, imagine manages without pointing fingers and reproachful attitudes, says Til Hänggi, co-coordinator of the awareness-raising area: "imagine offers a platform to channel and address relevant and stressful topics for us young people. In doing so, we want to stimulate discussion and exchange. We don't want to dictate what is right or wrong, but offer a space for diverse opinions. We want to create niches and free spaces."

Positive experience for change

Diversity, individuality and equal opportunity are being demanded by more voices than ever before in today's world. Young people are challenging traditional values and ideas, and rapidly and fundamentally changing what has held true for decades.

"Many are dissatisfied with the direction and speed of these developments. Retreat into the traditional, exclusion as well as discrimination are expressions of rejection and excessive demands," says Luciano Gagliardi, project coordinator for imagine at terre des hommes switzerland. "We need new competencies, strategies and positive experiences to adequately deal with societal challenges in the context of diversity. imagine contributes to this."

Voices and faces on 20 years of imagine

To mark the big anniversary, the current issue of terre des hommes switzerland magazine is devoted entirely to the imagine project - including a special supplement designed by the team itself.

And the one from Nicola Unfer The anniversary film created for the project is dedicated to the stories and faces that have shaped the imagine project over the years. In addition, it presents the results of a recently published impact measurement, which was collected with the support of the Mercator Switzerland Foundation.

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