The Dalai Lama’s infectious smile reflects a universal conviction that “the purpose of our lives is to be happy.” In the pre-digital age, happiness and well-being stemmed from spending time with friends, reconnecting at family gatherings, getting outdoors and taking time to unwind. Today in our hyper-connected world, it can feel like a colossal effort to maintain the quality of our relationships, unplug from our screens and recharge our own batteries. As work and tech have taken over our lives, our well-being has been relegated to a regular date at the gym, a yoga class or disconnecting with our favorite mindfulness app. It’s a commodity under siege from the constant stress of daily life, and something we work hard to preserve and maintain.

This summer we’ve set out to curate a brief and magical interlude from the modern world during the Enchanted Arts Festival at the Château de Dampierre-sur-Boutonne in the Charente-Maritime, France. It’s a place where we can all take time to go back to basics, be mindful of our surroundings and, if we want to go deeper, find connections back to nature, the elements and the source of our happiness.

Known as a Salon during the Renaissance era, the Château de Dampierre-sur-Boutonne has played a historic role over the centuries as host to a series of prestigious visitors, artists and philosophers from Francis I and Catherine de Medicis to Louis XIII and Salvador Dali, all of whom came to be inspired by the mysterious alchemist’s gallery, to pursue their own search for personal transformation and to discuss their vision of a different world.

This beautiful chateau, deep in the French countryside, is still a place where dreams of transformation begin and take root. The festival will bring together an eclectic community of creative minds, innovative thinkers and changemakers to shape and inspire the future, including contemporary and visual artists, musicians, journalists, social entrepreneurs, humanitarians, cultural producers and media creatives.

In creating the Enchanted Arts Festival, we’ve witnessed the collective power of the people and what’s possible when people, projects and communities of interest at local and global levels link up with like-minded thinkers and cultural actors to produce new models of social change. Innovative partnerships with social value are emerging as ideas cross-pollinate, different kinds of energy are released and talents combine.

During the European Year for Cultural Heritage 2018, the festival has also reinforced our belief that we can leverage this rich cultural heritage and our shared histories and stories – through images, artifacts, words and sounds – to create a common language that transcends differences and breaks down walls. This feels more important than ever during a time in history when our societies are increasingly punctured by fragmentation and divisiveness.

Beyond the exploration and fun, the festival will provide a place where socially-minded entrepreneurs and artists can seed new and innovative ideas for building a better world together. With our partners at MakeSense and The Wonderment, we will also be conducting workshops to harness new thinking and co-create some impactful solutions for the good of our shared humanity.

Come join us under the stars for our inaugural festival from July 27-29th – and let’s imagine a new world together!