“A Different Mindset for a Sustainable Future: The Value of Inter-Generational Dialogue”, public lecture by Princess Laurentein van Orajne-Nassau of the Netherlands

(December 7th, 2011, 6:15 p.m., New Bulgarian University, Sofia)

The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria together with New Bulgarian University, the Credo Bonum Foundation, Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza” and Publishing House Ciela and with the support of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy organized a public lecture by Princess Laurentein van Orajne-Nassau of the Netherlands, entitled “A Different Mindset for a Sustainable Future: The Value of Inter-Generational Dialogue”.

The event began with a short movie made by the Princess’s foundation. It shows children from variety of countries that express their thoughts about our planet. Indeed, the children and their unconventional thinking that can be quite useful because they can give us unconventional ideas for solving our problems, the Princess said.

During her speech Princess Laurentein paid attention on the necessity of a new way of thinking, new strategy for the evolution of humanity. She said that there are plenty of issues such as overpopulation, lack of resources and climate change that we have never faced before and the only way to cope with these challenges is to change our way of thinking. The Princess also mentioned The Report of the Brundtland Commission of 1987, which introduce for the first time the term “sustainable development”. In her opinion, we need to think about our current needs in order to face the needs of the future generations. She believes that the only way to learn to think about our future is to listen to our children.

Princess Laurentein quoted Albert Einstein by saying that the logic will get you from point A to point B but Imagination will take you everywhere! She said she is not a dreamer but she has great ambitions and wants to leave a footprint. However, she reminded that our actions not our dreams define if we are going to do something significant. The Dutch Princess said that we all know what is needed to change the world - even the smallest gestures are important like not staying long under the shower or to save electricity. As far as she is concerned to do something unknown, something that hasn’t been done before, is very hard but if you don’t try you won’t be able to see if you are on the right path. She gave an example with the NGO she initiated in 2004 for fighting against illiteracy in the Netherlands. Today, it’s a big European foundation with solid budget and has significant contribution in providing education for all children. Princess’s ambition is that one day the number of illiterate people in the Netherlands to become 0% of the population. She said that she is only a catalyst of these initiatives and her goal is to attract as more people as possible and NGOs as well.   

The Dutch Princess also focused on children’s upbringing and education because the children are the main capital where we should invest in. They can help us find solution to our problems through their imagination. I want Mr. Finey to deliver this message to the children. Let’s think in different way, the Princess said.

In the end of her lecture Princess Laurentein of the Netherlands expressed her gratitude for the wonderful hospitality and had a great time in Bulgaria. She said that in Bulgaria she heard the phrase “We are 20 years behind” and disagreed with that. You have 20 years of experience in that not to do anything and trying to change the things, she said. At the very end of her speech Princess Laurentein said that she didn’t know where the bridge she was walking on is going to take her but she would keep walking on it.