Interview with Hélène Molinari

The Press Office had the occasion to interview the Founder Helene Molinari about the work of the SUMUS community in Venice and abroad.

-Can you tell us more about yourself and where did the idea of creating the SUMUS Community came from?

I am a citizen, a woman, a mother and one day hopefully a grandmother. I am deeply committed in building a better future, a new societal model in harmony with «the living». In my career, I worked in finance and important corporate companies, I also was involved in many philanthropic associations until 2020 when I decided to find the SUMUS community, it was just after the first lockdown! Too much was too much for me, so I decided to share my vision of a new way of living respectful of humanity and the planet and to dedicate my time to make it happen!

We all know that 6 of the 9 planetary limits have already been exceeded, the survival of humanity is in danger. Even if it seems unbelievable for many people in my generation, we all have contributed to this situation. It is obvious for me that it is now our collective responsibility to restore it as much as we can to legate a better future to our children and grandchildren. Crises are opportunities to invent something better!

SUMUS means «we are» in Latin, it is time to reconnect to who « we are » as human beings. It is time to be the change we want to see in the world as Gandhi said! At the core of SUMUS, there is the growth of humanity for more sense in life, for more wisdom and joy.

Sumus is a humanist, independent and philanthropic association, it is a citizen community open to all who are ready to contribute to this better future.

It is at the same time an international community and a venetian community. We do believe in the strength of concrete experimentation, and we have decided to experiment it in Venice! Venice as « the pilot city » of this new societal model.

Why Venice? In the past, Venice has been a pioneer in so many fields (political, economic, cultural…) Venice has innovation in its DNA!

Venice is unique and universal at the same time, a city of humanity able to influence other cities in the world to accelerate the vital mutation and maximize the positive impacts. To rethink Venice to rethink the world, to regenerate Venice to regenerate the world. This is the idea.

Last but not least, Venice is built on water, and water is the source of life, what a powerful symbol for a regenerative way of living!

As we are facing a systemic crisis, Sumus proposes a systemic approach.

To make it simple, we represent Sumus as a rose with 3 petals:

          • The HUMAN petal: how to elevate humanity to a higher consciousness for more serenity and well-being.
          • The SOIL petal: how to regenerate agriculture and food for the health of the planet and the health of people.
          • The WATER petal: how to create a regenerative economic cultural academic ecosystem around an aqua biomimicry center with the support of impact funds for a new prosperity.

The challenge is huge! What makes us so optimistic is the power of nature. Not so many people have understood that nature is not only a beautiful landscape or a supermarket for human beings. Nature exists for more than 4 billion years and is the most effective R&D center, the most important school on earth, an unlimited source of innovations to solve all our human challenges.

Leonard Da Vinci used to say, «look at nature, it is your future»! He is right, it is time to ask nature through biomimicry and bioinspiration and leverage the power of the Living to create a better world!

-What kind of support does the community provide and how is it developing its objectives at the local and international levels?

We act as an «international think-tank» to identify the best practices and experts of the living in the world and as «a local venetian does tank» to implement them in the different ecosystems/petals in Venice.

We also organize «art exhibitions» to promote our ideas, this is what we named «artivism», art for purpose. Art is a common language and can speak directly to our heart and soul! it is a precious accelerator of consciousness!

To give you a concrete example, last November, we have organized a 3-day event in Venice, it was an international and local gathering on the theme « We Care We Dare a heartful peaceful and regenerative future». We have invited more than 100 international pioneers in agriculture, food, education, biomimicry, regenerative economy etc. They have presented their experiences and results, we have worked in workshops to select some of them in the 3 Sumus petals (human, soil, water).

In the human petal, we have identified many interesting projects such as:

            • Cercle des petites lumières by Chiara Pastroani: philosophical workshops for children between 4 to 15 years old. Discussion circles around news, a piece of art. It helps the children to express their point of view, to listen to others and to be able to express their emotions. This brings a higher behavior maturity to children.
            • The experimental master of Émilie Gaillard who teaches it in «science pp» about «the Rights of the New generations» to train young leaders to defend the rights of nature, biodiversity, animals, and human rights too.
            • The IDG initiative Inner Development Goals (IDG) of Thomas Borkgman, an international toolbox and community available to help people to leave a more meaningful life, to change their behavior to a more collaborative world, replacing competition by cooperation, fear by empathy etc. and therefore able to make humanity evolves.
            • The humanistic leadership by Nathalie Rodary: book and training to coach future economic and public leaders to integrate the respect of life and common goods.

The objective now is to deploy them with the help of venetian do-tank.

How do we do to mobilize the Venetians?

It is not obvious. Of course, many of them are very proud of their city and hope for a better future for Venice and for the world but most of them are wondering if it is not too late.

This is why we have innovated in the way to communicate and to attract their attention.

In parallel of the conferences, we have launched an art exhibition «1000 Donne di Venezia for a better future». With the artist Pierre Maraval, we have shouted 1072 venetian women during the summer. Our aim was to celebrate the feminine forces of Venice and the importance of the feminine skills for a better future. It was also to communicate on the manifesto «We Care We dare» embedded in the exhibition, which is a call for action to the Venetian women to be part of the society's renewal.

The exhibition has been launched on a symbolic day: the 20th of November which is the international day for children. There were more than 800 mainly women on the campo San Lorenzo for the opening! It was impressive!

So now we have on one hand concrete projects and experts ready to share their knowledge with us, and on the other hand more than 1000 venetian women who are potentially ready to jump into action.

During 2024, we will work with the 1000 Donne and many others who are joining our movement and the international family of pioneers on these concrete projects to adapt them to the local environment of Venice. We would like to implement the petites lumières in some schools. We have already contacted San Servolo to present the master course of Emilie Gaillard, to adapt it to the international course of the international university of Venice etc. We are working to gather the venetian economic community to present humanist Leadership in a more detailed way.

To summarize our approach, for each Sumus petal (human, soil, water), we aim to create an organic local ecosystem of volunteers, fed, and supported by our international pioneer family. It is just the beginning of our development, we are pragmatic, in the following months and years, we count on organic growth encouraged by the first.

-What are the biggest challenges you faced in educating and raising awareness about sustainability?

We are facing incredulity.

We go one step further than many actors of the mutation, we speak of sobriety, we speak of sustainability and our main message is about regeneration! We think we need to combine the 3 axes to build a better future.

Once again, Nature is much more powerful than any other type of intelligence, if we understand it and if we leverage the regenerative power of the natural ecosystems, if we develop the Biomimicry sciences to accelerate our knowledge of nature, we can invent products, services, systems that will help us make the mutation to a new healthy paradigm.

The other issue we face is that many people would like to help but they feel overwhelmed by the global challenges! They are used to a top-down approach and think that most of the keys are in the hands of administrations or finance or corporate sectors.

We think that the keys are in our hands too and every citizen can play a role in his own zone of influence, in his life, his couple, his family, his company, his city… one step by one step! That will make the difference at the end if everyone is committed! One day we will reach the critical mass and the new world will be there!

-What value do you place on human rights education to help solve these challenges?

It is crucial. Humanity is suffering everywhere. It is time to open a new chapter of our history, to elevate humanity, to help the people reconnect to their soul, to their heart to their body et not only to their ego, but it is also time to better understand that we are all unique, different, and original and that’s fine. It is time to better understand that we are all part of the same family, the human family and more widely the family of the living.

We should first reconcile the feminine and masculine forces in each of us and in the society and combine them «in harmony» as they are at the source of life, the foundation of humanity.

We should better protect the rights of children and give them the chance to express their unique potential. We should protect the animals, the plants, the minerals from human predators… we should give an identity to the rivers, mountains as if they were a person to be able to better defend their rights…

-Can you leave a message for the faculty, alumni, students, and staff of the Global Campus of Human Rights?

Even if we are facing chaos, a profound change is already undertaken, solutions exist, we can reinvent a new way of living inspired by the intelligence of life, combining in a smart way artificial intelligence, numeric tools, ancestral intelligence, and consciousness. This new society model will take care of people, will take care of the common goods, will regenerate the natural ecosystems, will bring more well-being, more heath, more prosperity for all and more joy in our societies.

It depends on us, everyone can be an actor for his future, can decide to survive or fully experience life, it is in our hands! It starts by opening our consciousness and developing more wisdom and confidence in life.

Human rights, Nature rights are at the core of this new paradigm, this is why you personally as part of the campus of human rights have an incredible role to play to influence the future of humanity!

For more information contact our Press and Communications PR Office:

Elisa Aquino – Andrea Cammarata – Francesca Sante -

Read interviews and updates in our seasonal digital Global Campus of Human Rights Magazine to be informed about the latest News, Events and Campaigns with our local and international unique community of donors, partners and friends.

Stay tuned for the 12 th issue of the Magazine coming soon in March in English and Italian.




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