Opening session: a space to listen, trust and take transformative action


After a year and a half of purely virtual meetings, and now closer to that ‘day after’ we were all waiting for, last July 5th, 6th and 7th we organized the first hybrid meeting since the creation of the platform in March 2020: Dialogues for the Day After

Together with the Technical University of Madrid and the Antonio Machado International Center, we created this meeting space believing that the real and deep transformation we need towards sustainability can only be achieved through true and courageous dialogue, mutual trust and deep collaboration between different people and institutions.

Thus we presented the Dialogues for the Day After.

After a brief introduction held by the president of the Duques de Soria Foundation, Francisco Benjumea, in the opening session, Mónica Oviedo, head of sustainability at Iberdrola and one of the driving forces behind our platform, highlighted mutual trust as the key value in the collaborative construction of El Día Después platform, from long before its official creation in March 2020, until having recently been selected by the UN as an SDG good practice. 

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A value that has prevailed in these 17 months of work: trust. We have a common goal and we have set aside prejudices.

Mónica Oviedo, Iberdrola’s Head of Sustainability and promoter of El Día Después

Dialogue to transform realities: the importance of context

Carlos Mataix, director of itdUPM and one of the driving forces behind El Día Después, highlighted the transcendental value of dialogue not only in El Día Después, but in the post-Covid reconstruction and sustainable transformation to which the European Next Generation funds invite us. 

“The pandemic has offered us an x-ray of ourselves, as individuals and as a society”, highlighting some strengths, but also weaknesses, therefore “we would be very silly, if we were not learning from all of this to anticipate and prepare ourselves to mitigate or avoid other crises”

Plural, courteous and continuous dialogue is the starting point for transformative action, but this kind of dialogue is scarce.

Carlos Mataix, director of itdUPM

However, he pointed out, “it is practically impossible to change and learn if we do not listen to each other, hence the insistence on dialogue”. But “the quality of the dialogue, as well as its results, depends a lot on the context in which the dialogue itself takes place”. And that context is the one we have endeavored to design in El Día Después, identifying three fundamental conditions for dialogues that produce transformations: the plurality of points of view, knowledge, ideological positions; the cordiality of the dialogue, far from confrontation; and its continuity as the key for the dialogue to take us to new places, and to enrich each point of view. 

In short, such a dialogue is the basis not only for knowledge – to know better what is happening to us – but also for action, to change realities, and that is the kind of dialogues that are taking place in a space like The Day After.

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Dialogue and collaboration in contemporary politics 

Insisting on this idea, the mayor of Soria, Carlos Martínez, also stressed in his speech the importance of making politics through cooperation and not confrontation, and remarked that “it is in the most difficult moments in the history of humanity that the greatest advances have been made” and therefore “we cannot afford to miss this opportunity”. 

After inviting to reflect on how to transform the food, energy, technological, educational, health, migratory and territorial systems, the Mayor defended that “recovery can only be viable if it is fair and takes into account equal opportunities for people and territories”.

Francisco Igea, vice-president of Castile-Leon’s council, who, from a different ideological position to that of Carlos Martínez, also stressed the need to change an essentially confrontational political system for a greater capacity to dialogue, and claimed the need for the territories to feel part of the broader political conversations and decisions, and acknowledged the courage of the Mayor, Carlos Martínez. 

Global alliances must replace the vocation of competition with a vocation of cooperation.

Carlos Martínez, Mayor of Soria

Politics in this country have to change: we have to be able to get out of this basically confrontational political model and be able to dialogue.

Franscisco Igea, vice-president of the Regional Government of Castile-Leon

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Full video of the opening session 

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