The importance of play and why we need it now more than ever before

“Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.”
Heraclitus (535–475 BC)

Belgrade and Serbia have applied to host the International Specialized Exhibition Expo 2027. Under the theme “Play for humanity – Sport and Music for All”, Belgrade will get the chance to welcome millions of visitors from Serbia and around the world, and strengthen the status of the regional center of cultural, artistic, and economic events.

Belgrade is an excellent host for this kind of manifestation due to its geographic location at the meeting point of several civilizations and its historical significance as such. Serbia is prepared to make Expo 2027 an impactful event.

In this sense, staging and hosting the International Specialized Exhibition Expo 2027 in Belgrade and Serbia will present a chance for the sharing of knowledge and technology as well as cultural and social values on a worldwide scale. International participants will have the chance to communicate a crucial message to Serbian citizens as well as tourists from the southeast and central Europe, potentially opening up access to a fast-expanding market.

“Play for Humanity – Sports and Music for All” will explore the significance of games, sports, and music in human development and evolution to inspire both participants and visitors to discover how these age-old human “tools” can assist in resolving some of the world’s challenges for the future.

The Nobel Prize-winning author Ivo Andric left one of the most priceless monuments to the Play itself in his book “Aska and the Wolf.” He wrote, “We don’t even know how many abilities and opportunities he conceals within himself for every living thing. And we are unsure of our options. We won’t know what we could have become and done until after we’re gone”. The instinctive fight against death and disappearance, which manifests in its purest form, is the essence of Aska’s play.

The Play is practically as old as humanity, older than all cultures, and is an unavoidable component of human collective experience. The essence of the Play is learning through fun. The modern and challenging world increasingly lacks homo ludens, a being that plays freely. Because the limits of the game are also the limits of human freedom. And when the game stops, so does life. The time of homo ludens, the man of play and creation is the key to building a more resilient and creative society for the future, and Specialized Expo 2027 will be our way of learning and discovering how to unlock all the potentials of homo ludens in this regard.

Building resilience can be thought of as building the individual’s capacity as responding to change -adaptation, and initiating change and innovation. Since Play enables both innovation and adaptability in people, there is a strong correlation between play and building resilience.

In a world where fear is present, the Play is a life metaphor and a space that allows each individual to overcome personal boundaries.

So that’s why the Play is the central theme for Specialized Expo 2027 in Belgrade where we will provide a safe space for innovation, for fostering knowledge exchange and capacity building, and where on a global scale, we will improve collective understanding and knowledge about human resilience.

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