Closing the distance is a challenge larger than life in particular with this year of confinement and travel ban, but the Night of Ideas 2021 program should help us get over it!

Last February, it was more than 5,200 participants from all corners of the Bay Area who flocked to the San Francisco Main Library to enjoy a seven-hour marathon of speakers and performances at the second San Francisco edition of the Night of Ideas.

This year, the remote format will give us the opportunity to “close the distance” with the world: the program will be broadcasted globally from France by the Institut Français as part of a 24-hour event. From Finland to South Africa and from Sydney to San Francisco, more than 200 Night of Ideas events will occur on the same evening!

San Francisco’s 2021 Night of Ideas live stream event that will take place on January 28, 2021 from 7–9 p.m local time. (Upon free registration, a link will be emailed to you prior to the online event).

Frédéric Jung, Consul General of France in San Francisco declared that “Nothing could stop us from coming together online with our faithful partners for another very promising Night of Ideas! For this global event, we are proud to gather the best of the amazing San Francisco Bay Area communities in order to offer a two-hour online live broadcast which will put San Francisco once again, on the map of the worldwide Night of Ideas events”.

The program will present a variety of perspectives on how we can collectively move closer to each other and to a better future by reimagining our civic spaces to be more inclusive and by advancing racial equity.

Mayor London N. Breed said “I’m excited that we’re able to carry on this annual tradition of bringing together local thinkers and artists to share with us their visions for a brighter and more inclusive future. This Night of Ideas will remind us of everything that we love about our city and hopefully provide some fun and joy during an otherwise challenging time.”

Hosted by Mina Kim, KQED journalist and host of Forum, this year’s Night of Ideas will feature some of the area’s iconic scenery and tributes to our artists and essential workers that have kept spirits up during this challenging time.

The full program is available here but here is a glimpse of it:

  • A special conversation between Mina Kim and San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed on how the mayor plans to lead San Francisco through the recovery ahead.
  • Community Arts Stabilization Trust Executive Director Moy Eng will provide a walkthrough of the Dempster Building and her vision for preserving art space in our cities.
  • Destiny Arts Center’s mission is to inspire and ignite social change through the arts. A performance from The Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company and The Elders Project will explore the intergenerational connection.
  • Join Lycée Français de San Francisco students from multiple clubs (including Dance, TedEx, DEI and LGBTQ) on a “ballade” through the vibrant and colorful San Francisco Mission district. In this playful and student-led piece, movement combines with words, images, music, and colors to allow participants to creatively express their message and how they approach closing the distance.

Night of Ideas 2021 comes with a really great contest!


Viewers of the 2021 Night of Ideas have the opportunity to win several prizes during the program. Participants may simply register for the event in advance via Eventbrite, and winners will be randomly selected and announced during the event. Prizes include

  • A staycation weekend at Villa San Francisco. Recently featured in Elle Decor, the new cultural institution created by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US and the French American Cultural Society aims at creating a future-driven dialogue between artists and communities.
  • A membership to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
  • A membership with KQED, including access to KQED Passport.
  • A San Francisco Public Library tote bag with a copy of the 2021 One City One Book selection Know My Name, A Memoir by Chanel Miller.
  • A Masumoto family book will be included with each of the four prizes. This is provided by California Humanities.

PRESENTERS AND SPONSORS – Night of Ideas is co-presented by Villa San Francisco, KQED, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Public Library and California Humanities.
The event is made possible by the support of the City and County of San Francisco, the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States – Consulate General of France in San Francisco, and the French American Cultural Society. La Nuit des Idées is a project of the Institut Français.

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