Cycles of talks Horizons – Talks and lectures

Former scholarship holders act as hosts in this series of talks given by people of renowned academic and professional prestige they've come into contact with.

  • Tuesday 25th April 2017, 7 p.m.
    CaixaForum Barcelona. Sign up for the conference "Autonomous, shared and connected. Ready to stop driving?"

    In 2004, the first autonomous car competition, sponsored by the United States government, was held in the Nevada desert. Autonomous cars were just science fiction, and prototypes were only able to run a few metres without leaving the track. Only ten years have passed since then, and thanks to unprecedented technological advances, autonomous cars are now more present in the media than ever: Google’s prototype has run millions of kilometres on motorways and urban roads and Tesla now markets semi-autonomous cars. All major car manufacturers are working on different prototypes, which they plan to get on the market before 2020, and governments such as those of Nevada and Arizona have approved legislation to pave the way for this new industry. The transformation is well underway and is moving faster than expected.

    Along the same lines, the transport and mobility sector is changing at the speed of light. Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Blablacar have taken the sector completely by surprise over the past 6 years and are changing it by leaps and bounds. 

    This is only the tip of the iceberg: the third transportation revolution is already on everyone’s lips. The key concepts are, on the one hand, autonomous, shared, connected and electric (ASCE) cars, and on the other hand, mobility services as part of the new offerings in terms of passenger transport. Projections indicate that autonomous cars will circulate in the cities, and that—through technology—they will make it possible to offer different door-to-door services at any time of the day. This will therefore decrease the number of accidents or the space needed to circulate and park vehicles, which means safer and more comfortable cities.

    How will all these changes affect cities and its mobility? How can a city make the most of these changes to improve the quality of life of its citizens? We will analyse the pros and cons of this transformation, its risks and its opportunities, and we will do so from different perspectives: the institutions responsible for mobility, the academe and the industry.


    Mar Hershenson
    Collider Project, Urban design for autonomous vehicles. Founder and Managing Partner of Pear Ventures, Silicon Valley.

    Luis Martín Cabiedes
    Trustee of BlaBlaCar, Madrid.


    Francesc Robusté
    ”la Caixa” fellow and Professor of Transport at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC).

  • Wednesday 14th December 2016, 7 pm.
    Palau Macaya. Sign up for the conference "Refugees, Brexit and Trump. What is to become of Europe?"

    The year 2017 begins with two major challenges for Europe. Every day thousands of people continue to arrive at the borders of European Union countries, fleeing from the war in Syria and other conflicts. This is the biggest wave of migration since the Second Word War and European countries are not managing to remain united in the face of this phenomenon.

    Under the slogan "United in Diversity", the principles of the European Union are based on a commitment to promote and protect human rights, democracy and the state of law around the world. Is this humanitarian emergency being handled in line with this slogan? Why are there countries that make an effort to accept refugees while others close their borders? How can this human potential willing to come and live and work in Europe be handled? And how can this be done in what remains a weak economic context for Europe, facing crises like Brex-it?

    Brexit in particular opens up another wound in the European Union. How will the departure of the United Kingdom affect the European economy and trade? Will other countries follow the path taken by the United Kingdom? And across the Atlantic, the election of Donald Trump as new president of the United States only adds to the uncertainty. What will happen to Europe in this increasingly complex context?

    Javier Solana will be talking to David Vegara and will try to answer these and other questions regarding the future of Europe.

    Javier Solana is the president of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics. He has been Spanish Minister for Culture, Education and Science and for Foreign Affairs (1982-1995). Subsequently he was Secretary General of the Council of Europe (1994-1999), Secretary General of NATO (1995-1999) and European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (1999-2009).

    David Vegara is a ”la Caixa” scholarship holder and vice-president of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics. He was Secretary of State for the Economy (2004-2009) and subsequently Deputy Departmental Director in the International Monetary Fund (2010-2012). He has also been Sub-director General of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

  • Tuesday 18th October 2016, 7 pm.
    Palau Macaya.

    The discourse emerging from "ecological urbanism" has been brought up to more accurately describe the aspirations of an urban practice nourished by environmental issues and infused with landscape-associated sensitivities. Defined in this way, urbanism demonstrates the need to reclassify urban design, as it involves describing the environmental, economic and social conditions of the modern city.

    In addition, the projective ecologies concept has been recently raised as an extension and elaboration of the ecological urbanism initiative. At the root of building ecological urbanism discourse, this development stirs up relevant questions regarding the state of ecology as an adjectival modifier of urbanism.

    Ecology has become one of the most important epistemological frameworks of our time. This statement is based on the fact that ecology has transcended its origins as a natural science to embrace a range of meanings that are crossed with natural and social sciences, history, hu-manities, design and the arts. From a proto-disciplinary branch of 19th century biology, ecolo-gy has become a modern science in the 20th century and is progressing unstoppably towards a multidisciplinary intellectual framework in the first decades of the 21st century.

    Charles Waldheim
    John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of Institute for Urbanization, Harvard GSD.

    Daniel Ibáñez
    Co-founder and principal architect of Margen-Lab. Editor of New Geographies

  • Tuesday 11th October 2016, 7 pm.
    Palau Macaya.

    The pollution that we generate has a direct effect not only on the planet where we live but also on our health and well-being.

    Many studies demonstrate that pollutants we ingest with food, gases that we breathe in or substances that we absorb through our skin, as just one example, contribute to causing certain diseases.

    What is the human and economic cost of these pollutants? How can we prevent the diseases that they cause? Can we really live “poison-free”? Which are the most vulnerable sectors of the population? Which health policies should we boost?

    Leonardo Trasande
    Medical School professor at New York University. Trasande is well-known for his research on how environmental pollutants that children are exposed to during childhood affect obesity and cardiovascular risks. It also documents the economic costs of these environmentally-based diseases.

    Miquel Porta
    Public Health Lecturer at the Barcelona Autonomous University and at the University of North Carolina. Researcher at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM).

  • 6 June 2016
    CaixaForum Madrid

    7 June 2016
    CaixaForum Barcelona

    The world is changing at neck-breaking speed. The economy is global and technology is becoming increasingly important in our professional and personal lives. Humanity is facing new challenges and the future is more unpredictable. Are we preparing our children for life in this new environment? What should children be learning at school? And even more importantly... how should they be learning it?

    Anne Bamford, lecturer and researcher in the field of art and education, believes she knows the answer: we cannot allow children to lose their innate creativity. According to Bamford, the key lies in how and not what children learn. "The difference between mediocre and good quality education is how things are taught, the method, the procedure", she says. In this respect, Bamford invites teachers to be flexible, to take risks, to try new things in the classroom to keep children's brains active and creative.

    Anne Bamford will explain the impact of the arts and creativity on education and will talk with Jordi Baltà, consultant on cultural policy, on how we should educate generations that will have to adapt to a changing world and face great challenges yet to be resolved.

  • Wednesday April 27 2016 from 7 pm
    Palau Macaya

    Andreu Mas-Colell and Eduard Vallory talk about the future of education, universities, research and the transfer of knowledge in Catalonia.

    What kind of society do we want? Do we want to be Florida or do we want to be Massachusetts? Perhaps we could be California, where the beaches and surfboards exist side by side with cutting edge schools, centres of excellence and state of the art research carried out at the universities?

    Centres of excellence, knowledge transfer, attracting international talent, state of the art research and education. Are these the necessary steps to become Europe's California?

    Some years ago now Andreu Mas-Colell revolutionised the world of research in Catalonia with the government promoting initiatives such as the ICREA programme the CERCA network of research centres and the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. Eduard Vallory, who worked with the government and was the first director of the Barcelona GSE, is now promoting an initiative for change in education. Both will answer these and other questions on the situation and future of research, universities and knowledge transfer in Catalonia, chaired by Àngel Lozano, a "la Caixa" scholar and vice-rector of Research at University Pompeu Fabra.

    Follow the talk live!

  • Thursday 22 October 2015
    CaixaForum Barcelona

    Research aimed at creating life in a laboratory has been going on for some time now. The first experiments started in the 1950s in the United States with attempts to recreate the conditions on Earth when life began. The fact is that, in order to create life artificially, we need to have a very good idea of the origin of life.

    Dr. Dieter Söll, professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at the University of Yale, is a world expert in research into the origin of life and on 22 October he will attempt to answer the following question: when will we be able to create life artificially?

    Söll will talk with Dr. Lluís Ribas de Pouplana, a former "la Caixa" scholarship holder and ICREA researcher at the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB), on research in this field and the ethical boundaries faced by such work.

  • 21 September 2015
    CaixaForum Madrid

    As part of the Horizons: Talks & Lectures cycle, the "la Caixa" Scholarship Holder Association has organised another gathering for entrepreneurs in Madrid. This is an eminently practical session with advice for young entrepreneurs and those thinking of embarking on a business venture.

    Five speakers, 4 of them beneficiaries of "la Caixa" scholarships, will answer questions for 5 minutes related to entrepreneurism. The audience will then be able to ask questions.

    The talk will be chaired by another former scholarship holder and journalist, María Crespo.

  • Thursday 16 April 2015
    Palau Macaya

    As part of the Horizons: Talks & Lectures cycle, the "la Caixa" Scholarship Holder Association has organised an eminently practical session with advice for young entrepreneurs and those thinking of embarking on a business venture.

    Five speakers, 4 of them beneficiaries of "la Caixa" scholarships, will answer questions for 5 minutes related to entrepreneurism. The audience will then be able to ask questions.

    The talk will be chaired by another former scholarship holder, Carmina Crusafon, lecturer in Journalism at the UAB and a consultant specialising in digital media.

  • 11 November 2014
    CaixaForum Barcelona

    The Director of IrsiCaixa, Dr. Bonaventura Clotet, and collector and patron Hans Nefkens have known each other for many years. Dr. Clotet treated Hans Nefkens for HIV.

    In November 1987 Nefkens discovered he'd contracted AIDS and, after wondering what made life worth living, he decided to devote himself to what he was truly passionate about: art. Nefkens has two Foundations, Art Aids and the Hans Nefkens Foundation, and is the owner and creator of the H+F Collection, made up of 450 works donated by museums from all over the world.

    Every day, Dr. Clotet meets patients who, like Nefkens, have had to ask themselves this existential question: what makes life worth living? He himself has fought, for the last 30 years, to lengthen and improve the lives of his patients. And he has done so via healthcare, as a doctor, and also as a researcher, leading the IrsiCaixa Institute for AIDS Research, one of the HIV research centres of international renown.

    Dr. Bonaventura Clotet and Hans Nefkens talked, chaired by the former "la Caixa" scholarship holders Rosina Malagrida and Martina Millà, on art, science and life. Rosina Malagrida is Head of the Public Engagement Unit on Health Research and Director of Xplore Health at IrsiCaixa. Martina Millà is Head of Programming and Projects at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona.

  • 25 June 2014
    CaixaForum Barcelona

    What kind of knowledge and training does the market demand? Do opportunities for innovation and creativity depend on a good higher education? Do universities today have the right formulas and resources? Does knowledge add anything to creativity? What kind of opportunities will there be over the coming years to generate wealth? What direction should public policy take to ensure countries remain solvent over the coming years?

    Ferran Adrià and Israel Ruiz talked at this meeting, chaired by Mònica Terribas, on creativity, innovation, training, science and opportunity.

    Israel Ruiz is a former "la Caixa" scholarship holder and Vice Chairman of Finance and Treasurer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the top ten universities in the world. This centre particularly emphasises technological and scientific research and education. 80 Nobel prize-winners have passed through its doors, as students or lecturers.

    Ferran Adrià is one of the world's top chefs. He's won numerous awards including Best Chef by The Culinary Institute of America in 2009 and Best Chef of the Decade by The Restaurant Magazine. He has won the San Pellegrino award on five occasions, judging his restaurant, elBulli, to be the best in the world. He's currently working on his new project: elBulliFoundation.

    Mònica Terribas is a former "la Caixa" scholarship holder, full professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Director of the radio programme El matí de Catalunya Ràdio since September 2013. She was previously Chief Executive Officer and Editor of the newspaper Ara, Director of Televisió de Catalunya and presenter for the daily news analysis programme on TV3 La nit al dia.

  • 22 May 2013
    CaixaForum Barcelona

    Constant exposure to social media, to online work and videogames, in detriment to personal relations, is affecting our social skills. 

    Michelle García Winner is a renowned US speech therapist who has years of experience working with governments, educators and families, highlighting what she calls "social thought" to maximise the intellectual, emotional and social development of children, young people and adults. 

    After the lecture, Michelle Garcia Winner talked on this subject with Núria Oliver, former "la Caixa" scholarship holder and Science Director at Telefónica R&D.

  • 14 January 2013

    CaixaForum Barcelona

    Peter Greenaway is a multi-faceted artist: a film director, writer and painter, he's also written operas and worked with composers. Greenaway was born in Wales and trained as a painter but in 1966 he started to experiment with film. Since then he's directed 15 films and more than 40 shorts, documentaries and TV series. Among his most famous films are: The Falls, The Draughtsman's Contract, The Belly of an Architect, The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover, The Pillow Book and The Tulse Luper Suitcases.

    Peter Greenaway talked about the need to free film from the slavery of text. Film is currently text-based and, according to Greenaway, this umbilical cord joining cinema with literature needs to be cut. Greenaway believes that most people are visually illiterate and that relatively few people have received an education that allows them to see and create images just as you would read and write texts. He also believes that film can help educate visually illiterate people via new cinematographic languages.

    After his lecture, Peter Greenaway talked further about this subject to Edmon Roch, former "la Caixa" scholarship holder and a film director and producer.

  • 17 September 2012
    Head office of "la Caixa" - Av. Diagonal 621, Barcelona 

    The crisis has inevitably forced us to rethink macroeconomic policy, both monetary and also exchange rate and fiscal policy. Experts in public policy have explored new methods: from quantitative flexibility to using macroprudential resources and even establishing new fiscal rules. Olivier Blanchard reflected on what macroeconomic policy will be like in the future.

    Olivier Blanchard is Head Economist at the International Monetary Fund. A Doctor in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he has been an Economics lecturer at Harvard University and MIT. He is a member and advisor of various organisations and has written numerous articles on macroeconomics.

    Jordi Galí, a former "la Caixa" scholarship holder, talked to Olivier Blanchard on this subject. Jordi Galí is a Doctor in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has worked as a lecturer at Columbia University, New York University and MIT. 

    He's currently a Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Director of the Research Centre for International Economics (CREI) and Research Professor for Barcelona GSE.

  • 24 May 2012
    CosmoCaixa Barcelona

    Cooperation among humans is a longstanding aptitude, specifically coming from our ancestors, the apes. However, although chimpanzees and other large apes collaborate together for some purposes, cooperation between human beings is considerably different, both in cognitive terms and also regarding motivation. Why?

    Dr. Tomasello, Director of the Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology at the Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie, believes the key lies in food: humans are particularly adapted to collaborating in their search for food and have developed numerous specific mechanisms for this purpose, including special types of coordination and communication and ways in which food is shared.

    Dr. Tomasello talked on this subject with Dr. Josep Call, former "la Caixa" scholarship holder and Director of the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center of the Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie.

  • 26 May 2011
    CaixaForum Barcelona

    "Architecture and vanguard" is the title of the talk given by Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor at Columbia University (NY) and author of the book Modern Architecture: A Critical History.

    The talk was followed by a debate with the architect and former "la Caixa" scholarship holder, Josep Bohigas, on contemporary architecture in Barcelona. The debate was chaired by architect and former scholarship holder Juan Luis Valderrábano.


    30 May 2011
    CaixaForum Madrid

    Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor at Columbia University (NY) and author of the book Modern Architecture: A Critical History, spoke on "Architecture and vanguard".

    The lecture was followed by a debate on contemporary architecture in Madrid, with the participation of Juan Herreros, architect and lecturer at the Higher Technical School of Architecture in Madrid. The conversation was chaired by architect and former "la Caixa" scholarship holder Juan Luis Valderrábano.