Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has championed the importance of creativity in tackling global issues like climate change and gender equality, becoming the first in his position to do so in 25 years.
During a recorded speech to mark the opening of Toronto's EDIT design and technology festival last week, Trudeau acknowledged that designers are playing an increasingly fundamental role in helping to solve some of the key issues faced internationally.
"In Canada and around the world, design and technology are changing the way we live our lives, and ideas and projects are making a difference for people everywhere," said the prime minister.
"We face major challenges as a world today, from fighting climate change to achieving gender equality to making sure people everywhere have a real and fair chance at success," he continued.
"Innovators and artists are finding creative solutions to these complex problems, and moving us closer everyday to achieving the UN sustainable development goals."
EDIT festival spotlights designers aiming to solve global issues
Trudeau's speech was recorded for the inaugural edition of EDIT – Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology.
The 10-day event is organised by the city's Design Exchange organisation, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme. The programme's 17 Goals for Sustainable Development are addressed through EDIT's series of interactive exhibits, talks and panel discussions, with touch on a broad range of issues including pollution, refugees and energy.
"Thanks to everyone here, for coming together to celebrate how design, innovation and technology are making the world a better place for all people," Trudeau said. "If we innovate and collaborate, I know we can get there together."
First recognition of design from Canadian PM in 25 years
Design Exchange president and CEO, Shauna Levy, told Dezeen that the Canadian prime minister's recognition of the design sector marks significant progress.
"We are indeed thrilled with Prime Minister Trudeau's support of EDIT, and of design more generally," she said. "To my knowledge, this is the first time since Design Exchange opened its doors over 25 years ago with Prime Minister Chretien that a prime minister has acknowledged the importance of design in solving our planet's grand challenges."
EDIT runs 28 September to 8 October 2017 at Toronto's East Harbour venue. It follows a similar focus to Dezeen's upcoming Good Design for a Bad World initiative, launching at Dutch Design Week later this month.
The series of talks, chaired by Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs, will explore how designers can address the big issues the world faces.