Could you share a brief introduction about yourself?

My name is Ariana Diarra, I’m 20, I’m studying communication in Paris and I like to describe myself as a seasoned dreamer. I work to create the world I dream of. I’m involved in various associations, with the same goals: encourage young people to believe in themselves and realise that they can have a considerable impact on tomorrow’s world. For example, I was a volunteer with Trouve Ta voix association, where I gave eloquence lessons to young people from disadvantaged high schools, so that they could improve their oral expression and believe in the power of their words.

How do you engage with youth and education issues, and what drives your involvement?

I believe that education is the key to creating a better world. In my opinion, today we can’t just learn to read and count at school, we have to learn to take care of ourselves and others. Children and young people are the adults of tomorrow, so if we teach them to encourage rather than judge, to cooperate rather than compete, to love rather than hate, I’m more than convinced that we’ll have a much better world. And if I wanted to get involved in associations that work with and for young people, it’s because when I was younger, I met people who changed my life with a simple phrase: “I believe in you”. So today, I too want to inspire young people and give them the confidence I’ve received.

Why do you think poetry and art are so important when talking about the future? 

I think what I love most about art and poetry is that it puts everyone on the same level. Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever the color of your skin, your social level, your gender, your age, etc. You can create. And that’s why poetry and art are so important when we talk about the future, because everyone can uniquely show how they feel, what their dreams are, what their hopes are for tomorrow, and we should give the same importance to everyone’s art, because it’s with each unique pencil that we can draw a harmonious future where everyone feels they belong.

How does art and poetry help you in expressing yourself? 

Poetry is an escape for me, as soon as I have my pencil and my notebook, it’s like I’m in another world. A world where all the words that remain stuck in the back of my throat nestle between the pages of my notebook. For me, art and poetry are like two long-time friends, to whom I tell everything: my joys, my anger, my sorrows… And I love these intimate moments between me and my notebook, because I know that it will never judge me.

What is your perspective on the future of education and learning?

I think it is time for the methods of education and learning to change. We must stop saying that young people are not interested in school and that they are lazy. The real concern is that education methods are no longer up to date. What if we connect the themes of the school program and the social themes that young people are interested in, themes with which they could identify?

From your observations, what are the current expectations of young people regarding their education and learning experiences?

I can’t speak for all young people, but in any case, from what I’ve heard and observed among the young people I know, the main expectation is to introduce subjects at school that teach us concepts we can use in everyday life. For example: How to manage a budget? (what are taxes?), Social skills (how to manage interpersonal relations in the workplace?), Stress management (how to understand and manage our emotions? How to protect our mental health?), Public speaking (how to express your opinion in public? how to deal with stage fright?)

How did you come to know about the LearningPlanet Festival / Festival de l’Apprendre?

I know about the LearningPlanet Festival because I was an intern at the Learning Planet Institute in 2023, during the last LearningPlanet Festival, and I took part in it.

What are your expectations from participating in or attending the LearningPlanet Festival?

I want to take part in the Learning Planet Festival because it’s an incredible event, I met some wonderful people last year and I’m sure I’ll make some more great encounters this year. I’m also taking part in a workshop called “In the mood for poetic futures – collective poetic experiences“, where me and other poets from around the world will be sharing our poems, and I’m looking forward to hearing and being inspired by this sharing of soulful pieces.