October 28th, 2019, marked the inaugural event of Urban Economic Forum (UEF) in Toronto, Canada. UN-Habitat, International City Leaders (ICL), and UEF hosted the event in celebration of World Cities Day, with a focus aimed to facilitate dialogue around a sustainable urban economy and technological development.
Arts Help’s very own Sophie Brussaux was invited to speak on the power of art and upcoming collaborations with the UN. The day began with a message from the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, followed by a message from the director of UN-Habitat Eduardo Moren and guest speakers from around the globe.
In her presentation, Brussaux not only introduced Arts Help and its mission, but she also detailed how sustainable initiatives could be scaled up to make long-term change. Brussaux argued that art is at the forefront of trendsetting, and in utilizing its persuasive power, leaders could positively reinforce sustainable habits in the general population. Raising the example of fast fashion, Arts Help’s ARTS Project turned billboard waste into trendy and sustainable backpacks. Highlighting other examples of impactful art, Brussaux detailed the growing focus and influence social justice presents in contemporary creators.
Day one of the conference also included speakers from private and public centers. Among these industry experts were Sandra Mergulhao, Executive Producer of Bloomberg TV, Julie Ward, British Member of the European Parliament, Anantha Krishnan, World Bank and United Nations Senior Consultant, Mayor of Kitchener Berry Vrbanovic, many UEF administers, and more. UEF Co-Chair and UN-Habitat Senior Economist. Knowledge & Innovation Branch Marco Kamiya closed out the day with remarks of gratitude and invited guests to the next day’s venue in downtown Toronto.