The goal of the Night of ideas (‘La Nuit des idées’) is to celebrate the stream of ideas between countries, cultures, topics and generations.

Every year, the Night of ideas gives the opportunity to discover the latest discoveries in knowledge and arts, to listen to the ones who contribute to bringing more ideas to their field and to take part in the discussion about the main issues of our times.

And since ideas know no frontier, projects of any type are welcomed (conference, theatre play, performance, screening, concerts, etc.), and all places – whether prestigious or unexpected – are called to join the party and host original projects reflecting their own interpretation of the suggested theme.

As time goes by, glimpses from the Night of ideas will echo through social media and make the Night of Ideas a global event.


Congratulations to all inspired participants! We have enjoyed your ideas on how to come CLOSER. Here are the best entries.

The best idea is from Ms Samruddhi Pathak, who wins a trip to Paris on the occasion of the Paris Book Fair!

Runners up are Ms Garima Tyagi and Mr Aviral Srivastava. They win a free online French class offered by the network of Alliances Françaises in India.

Ideas are published as received from the contestants.

Edition 2021

Night of Ideas brought people closer on 28 January! All together from Delhi to San Francisco through Paris, we were embarked on an exceptional 24-Hour digital and physical experience for a true round-the-world trip of thought.

With the amazingly illuminated Purana Qila in the background, the French Institute in India organized Night of Ideas to celebrate the stream of ideas between countries, cultures and generations. “Close(r)” was the topic chosen this year to debate on how the world Covid crisis separates us physically but at the same time unites us. And how our relationship to time & space has changed over the past year.

Around 120 people joined us at the Old Fort in Delhi. It was cold but bright. Bundled up in a shawl offered by the French Institute in India the public was comfortably sitting on chairs and listening to the debates. It was more than debates; it was a free-flowing dialogue between Indian & French famous panellists from different fields.

For almost one year it was the first time that millions of people all around the world were together and, yes, this night we were closer.

For 24 hours, the Night of Ideas was an opportunity to feel « closer » than ever, to strengthen connections and break down boundaries, to interact with other audiences, and to celebrate thinking without barriers.

The Night of Ideas offered everyone the opportunity to follow and take part in an unprecedented digital experience: 24 hours of Night and Ideas in 103 countries and 175 cities in the world.

The night is for reflection. For imagination.

The Night of Ideas is for everyone, from the man in the street to the scholar.

Participants of the discussion:

  • H.E. Mme Barbara Pompili, French Minister of Ecological Transition
  • Prof. Françoise Combes, French astrophysicist
  • Dr Susmita Mohanty, spaceship designer
  • Mr William Dalrymple, writer and historian
  • Dr Christophe Jaffrelot, French political scientist
  • Mr Sanjeev Sanyal, economist and author
  • Ms Nandita Das, Actor-Director-Activist
  • Dr Shashi Tharoor, writer and politician
  • Dr Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science and Environment 
  • Mr Sonam Wangchuk, Engineer and Innovator

Night of Ideas

Night of Ideas – 2021 Official website

Edition 2020

The Night of ideas took place on January 30th 2020, and focused on the theme: “Being alive”. Guests from diverse backgrounds – intellectuals, researchers, artists – gathered to discuss the theme all across the five continents, from Dakar to Los Angeles, not to mention Brussels, Buenos Aires, Kathmandu, Marseille and Paris.

This topic puts at the centre of the Night of Ideas 2020 the interrogation of ecological balances and the relationship between the human and the world. It is an invitation to discuss the interrogations that technological transformations and the emergence of artificial intelligence raise. “Being alive” is also to act, commit yourself, give meaning to your actions and your existence. What is being alive? What is our place in the world of the living? How “being alive” moves into action? These will be the interrogations at the heart of the Night of Ideas this year.

Edition 2019

The Night of Ideas took place on January 31st 2019, and focused on the theme: “Facing our time”. Guests from diverse backgrounds – intellectuals, researchers, artists – gathered to discuss the theme all across the five continents, from Dakar to Los Angeles, not to mention Brussels, Buenos Aires, Kathmandu, Marseille and Paris.

Facing our time: this theme intersects three main issues. On contemporary events and the lucidity, it calls for: technological, social, environmental, geopolitical and other deep changes are now part of our daily lives. On commitment, its new ways and forms: which initiatives can we take to tackle the challenges of our time? On the perception of time and its transformations: in an era marked by the instantaneous diffusion of information, how can we resist the reign of immediacy? What is our present made of? How to face what our present requires? In a time of multiple emergencies, what memory and what future? These will be the questions at the heart of the Night of ideas

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