Visionaries Gather For Einstein-Inspired Celebration

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Monette Malewski and prototype of Einstein bookVisionary thinkers from around the world will take part in four days of activities in Montreal, devoted to the legacy of Albert Einstein.

The Einstein Legacy Project is organized by the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University (CFHU), along with Lune Rouge, the investment company established by Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil, to support innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly that which has a positive impact socially or environmentally.

Einstein once said that, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.” Using this as its impetus, the ambitious project, which coincides with the centennial of the publication of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, seeks to inspire talented young people in whatever field interests them.

The project has three main components: a forum for high school students; the Genius 100 Innovation Summit hosted by Lune Rouge; and a dinner, benefiting Hebrew University, which Einstein helped found.

A highlight will be the launch of a prototype of what is described as the world’s first 3D-printed book, which was created by Israeli designer Ron Arad.

The first annual Einstein Youth Forum – held in partnership with Collège Durocher in St-Lambert, Que., Lower Canada College (LCC) and Herzliah High School – will be held Sept. 7-8 and will be attended by students from 70 Quebec and Ontario high schools, including people from indigenous and remote communities.

This outreach will be followed up internationally with a series of programs called The Next Einstein, which seeks to nurture young people from around the world who have ideas that could benefit humanity, but may lack the resources to develop them.

The forum’s opening cocktail, at Durocher, will focus on “Quebec Inc. 2.0,” a look at the future of business creativity in the province. The forum itself, to be held at LCC the next day, will feature TED Talkstyle presentations on topics related to science, technology, the environment, education and social responsibility.

The project began with CFHU putting together a pantheon of 100 of the world’s most influential people in science, the arts, education and humanitarianism. Each was asked to contribute a 250-word essay.

As creator of the world-famous circus, Laliberté was on that list, and the collaboration between CFHU and Lune Rouge grew from there, said the project’s co-chair, Monette Malewski.

Their contributed thoughts have been collected into Genius: 100 Visions of the Future, to be published in a limited edition 3D book shaped in the likeness of Einstein. Malewski said the approximately 300 copies will be available next year.

The diverse group of Nobel laureates, award winners, and CEOs includes: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; environmentalist David Suzuki; author Paulo Coelho; children’s rights activists Craig and Marc Kielburger; former world chess champion and human rights activist Garry Kasparov; Greenpeace cofounder Paul Watson; Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirlfeaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa, and author Sir Salman Rushdie.

Among those at the summit, which will be held at the Citadelle of Maison Alcan on Sept. 10, are: former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield; Sanduk Ruit and Geoff Tabin; Caltech astronomer Konstantin Batygin; and African philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa.

The concluding event, the dinner on Sept. 10 at MTL Grandé studios, will be cochaired by Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinsecu, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Haile Menkerios, Libra Group CEO George Logothetis and astronaut Soichi Noguchi, president of the Association of Space Explorers.

Proceeds will support the planned Einstein Archive and Visitor Centre at Hebrew University, to which Einstein bequeathed all his personal documents. It is hoped the centre will become a global attraction.

The dinner will be co-hosted by Canadian filmmaker Daniel Ferguson and Quebec actor Lorraine Pintal.

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