Humour for InsuResilience Global Partnership: Interactive Session

On the 9th of December 2019, the InsuResilience Global Partnership Annual Forum brought together members from the Climate and Disaster Risk and Finance and Insurance solutions community for the third time!

It was a day filled with exciting discussions, and in between, there was an interactive session that reinstated the need for action in an amusing way. Often such gatherings are always intense and severe and fail to input humour that could grab and sustain attention as well as provoke pleasant and positive feelings. There is nothing like humour to spark dialogue and promote the kind of authentic communication that bridges divide.

Days leading to the annual event, InsuResilience Secretariat had designed this session together with Pablo Suarez, Associate Director for Research and Innovation, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, and Bob Mankoff from The cartoons were meant to inspire learning and dialogue about what our partnership systematically encounters, i.e. challenges and opportunities we confront when setting up collaborations and partnerships, especially in the context of climate risk finance and insurance solutions.

We placed an envelope with a printed cartoon under every second chair in the conference room. Besides, we had sixteen cartoon posters printed and hung around significant areas where people were going to network and where conversations were bound to happen.


On the day of the forum, Pablo Suarez led the audience in participating in a humour-harnessing session. After powerful opening speeches by Dr Astrid Zwick, Mr Antonio Huertas, and an interview with Vitumbiko Chinoko, Mr Suarez elicited original insights and incisive conversations through laughter and smiles to everyone’s faces. There was a break in the speaker panel standard characteristic of events by pointing people to the surprise envelope that was under their chairs.

The audience was called upon to open the envelope, and there was a cartoon. People were encouraged in groups of two or three to share on what ideas or thoughts the cartoon in their envelope triggered. People were free to relate the cartoon to their everyday activities.


This session worked on creating new connections among the attendees, and the cartoons were further used in the breakout sessions. It was clear to see that people were engaged throughout the day with the cartoons, and it made it easy to start conversations. The interactive session provided an avenue among other opportunities such as the fishbowl for the participants to be actively involved in the day.


An example from the day:

Caption: Try honking again


Application to Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance: we keep honking messages on and on but things are not changing as first as we would like to given the risks we confront. We need to recognize the reality of what is on the ground. We need a new form of dialogue or better action.


Pablo Suarez developed the humorous session in collaboration with InsuResilience Secretariat, Climate-KIC, Cartoon Collections and GFDRR.