Identity Workshop – Identity, Why and for What Good

World Humanities Conference

The question of identity continues to assert its importance in modern society whether it be political, religious, psychological or even legal. Mathematically speaking, identity is expressed in the form of tautology, for example, if x is y, then it is true irrespective of different perspective and different time. Speaking of personal identity, on the other hand, one may feel compelled to take account of factors such as time, memory, faith, or one’s relation to the community they belong. Does the identity of a person persists from the beginning to the end? If not, what determines people’s identity? These questions do not have a readymade answer, yet we know the loss of identity and radicalization continues to pose threat to the integrity of our society. Do we need identity? If we need identity, in what sense?


We invite participants to join us in a workshop to conduct research through role plays and deliberation on why and for what good do we need Identity. Our workshop will consist of three slots of creative exercises, to be performed both individually and through group interaction, exploring the rationales which lay at the foundation of forming the individual vs. group identities.


The format is structured on three types of explorations:


  1.  Individual identity - what matters for the human being? Essentially, revolving around questions that will determine how one defines his/her self: a date, a place or other coordinates that are meaningful for each participant. The "individual identity card" resulted will showcase the elements that are truly important for one's self to live a fulfilling life.


  1. Group identity - looking at the identity labels that the society places on people in general, which are usually found in the formal 'group-belonging identity cards" which accompany us throughout our life, which define our assignation as members to a specific group / nationality / segment of population. These labels are usually formulated to the benefit of the group, rather than the benefit of the individual.


  1. Judgement of the other - looking at how we perceive others and the judgements of value that we make about others, by making precipitated assumptions based on solely limited amount of information available at hand.


The objective of the workshop is to facilitate dialogue on the topic of identity, while helping participants gain a deeper understanding on how we define identity, why we need it and what good does it do, at both individual and group levels.


There is a fine line between how the individual identity impacts the functioning of a group, equally the harmony of the group impacts the wellbeing of the individual. The individual does not live alone in the society, if a person's well-being is neglected, this will also have consequences on the group the individual belongs to. The balance between individuals and groups is constantly shifting in our society because individuals are not properly educated on how to care and nurture their identity as human beings, most of the times the society over emphasising the group's' needs over individual necessities.


Through this initiative, Dhillon Marty Foundation's goal is to contribute to raising awareness and investigating the different ways of development of humanity in the society, hence building dialogue in the society against radical and extremist manifestations.

We will curate short reading material which will be given to the participants before the event. Participants are invited to register with us through the conference’s website. We will record and videotape our workshop. Along with a written report, the video material will be transcribed and edited as a short video of the highlights. It will be used as a leading material for the Identity session during State of the Community conference on September 12-13 at UNESCO in Paris.


Identity Video:

Question Booth will be set-up. We will ask different questions from people to get their spontaneous answers on how do they define themselves. The selected answers will be made into short video which will be used for discussion during Identity session at State of the Community Conference in September.