Engaging at the first global Wellbeing Summit for Social Change

Wellbeing is a skill that can be learned and cultivated for human and planetary flourishing

Bilbao-Biscay, Spain, June 1 to June 3, 2022

The Wellbeing Summit, hosted by the city of Bilbao in Spain, brought together over 1000 global social change makers, governmental, arts, and business leaders from over 80 countries to advance individual and collective wellbeing for those working on the front lines of social change.

The three-day summit consisted of ground-breaking talks, conversations and panel discussions highlighting the connections between individual, organizational and societal wellbeing which is at the core of the GD practice. In partnership with over 80 artists and arts organizations, art has been uniquely interwoven at the heart of this gathering and the city to play an integral role in the development of a new language for inner wellbeing, essential for social transformation.

Barbara Bulc shared findings from an ongoing research, stewarded by a non-profit SDG CoLab, working with cities to improve youth wellbeing.  A recently published study Activating Values in Urban Transitions: A novel approach to urban innovation in Romania documents the co-creation of OurCluj, a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary living laboratory focused on wellbeing. Traditionally, living laboratories are innovation clusters, housed within city government, that seek to address policy issues such as housing, education, etc. OurCluj is different because its goal is not progress on a single policy, but on the values that guide innovation itself. Prioritizing these values is a requirement for creating policies and programs that are optimized for outcomes such as enhanced well-being of the city’s young residents.The study concludes with 10 design recommendations for practitioners to catalyze a values-based urban living laboratory (VBULL) in their spaces. It is complemented with a reflective activity with full-colored artistic posters to imagine alternative frames for urban innovation and communities.

Overwhelming evidence shows that wellbeing is a skill that can be learned and cultivated for human (and planetary) flourishing, as presented in the recent article “The plasticity of well-being: A training-based framework for the cultivation of human flourishing” by Cortland, Wilson-Mendenhall and Davidson. In one of highlights, neuroscientist Richie Davidson shared his findings about the four dimensions of psychological wellbeing:
• Awareness – be present
• Connection – stay connected
• Insight – be curious
• Purpose – stay motivated.
We wish to imagine prioritizing wellbeing as an urgent public health need – in families, schools, workplaces, cities, communities, policies, investments – wherever we are – our world and our relationships would begin to shift.
The Wellbeing Summit, organized by the Wellbeing Project, chose the location of Bilbao, Biscay because it has become an international hub for art and culture. It is a place in the process of  transformation by focusing on a Charter of Values that centers on improving the wellbeing of its citizens and the Sustainable Development Goals.


More about OurCluj

Read more about The Wellbeing Summit and The Wellbeing Project

Join us at the next Wellbeing Summit in 2024!