International event coordinator, Sandy Safi has had her hands full over the years.
She has lived and worked in over 15 countries and as co-founder of Diner en Blanc International, she has seen countless beautiful and historic locations around the world. Safi is certified in sustainable events, theater, concerts, and cirque and is now Partner & Director of Development at Dîner en Blanc International. Originally from Canada, Safi obtained her education at Concordia University. We were lucky enough to speak with the revolutionary creator in New York City at the August 2014 Dîner en Blanc in Battery Park. Check out our exclusive interview with her here!
What inspired the idea of the Diner en Blanc event?
In the summer of 1988, François Pasquier had just returned to Paris after a few years abroad and held a dinner party to reconnect with friends. So many wished to attend that he asked them to convene at Bois de Boulogne dressed in white, so as to recognize one another. Each attendee was also asked to bring a friend. The evening was such a hit that guests wanted more friends to join in the following year and thus was born the concept of Dîner en Blanc®. Aymeric Pasquier and Sandy Safi then came together in 2011 to create Dîner en Bland International, a Dîner en Blanc® organization that would promote the history and philosophy of this event through hosts worldwide, and create an international network of diners and Dîner en Blanc® enthusiasts.
Why do you find that people want to participate in these events?
There is no other event in the world that inspires friendship, elegance, creativity, and a sense of sharing. The Dîner en Blanc is unique, spontaneous, and magical as it invites guests to experience an intimate diner with so many people they don’t know. For one evening, friends and friends of friends, foodies, and fashion and cultural enthusiasts, all dressed in white, will gather in one location, kept secret until the last minute, to picnic and dance under the stars. Guests have the opportunity to reclaim, for one evening, a part of their heritage by promoting it through their simple presence and elegance.
What are the benefits of events like this? For the individual? And for the city?
Le Dîner en Blanc promotes friendship, sharing, creativity, heritage, and the coming together of a community. Each guest feels they are a part of a community that shares similar values. What is special about this evening is to see the conviviality that guests express not only to their friends but to everyone who is present.
Dîner en Blanc also valorizes the importance of a community. Le Dîner en Blanc reminds us how strong a community can be and how much they can accomplish when it comes together. This has a tremendous impact on the image of a city as le Dîner en Blanc reflects this strength of its community.
On a different level, Le Dîner en Blanc promotes the beauty of a city as the location the local organizers choose to host the guest is either iconic, scenic, or historic. Through our international event network, we are sharing these beautiful spaces representing each city.
Have you noticed people traveling specifically for these events after attending it once at a certain location?
Absolutely. We have guests who experienced the event in Montreal, attend the DEB in New York, and other guests attend the event in Paris.
We are working on establishing a global network that encourages guests from one city to attend an event in another. Promoting tourism and traveling while enjoying an evening with like-minded people from various backgrounds are also elements that le Dîner en Blanc wishes to develop.
What other types of events do you organize?
At the moment, we are focused on Dîner en Blanc.
What criteria go into consideration when choosing the location for these events?
It must be an outdoor location that is scenic, historic, and essentially reflective of the beauty of the city. In addition, it should be centrally located as guests like to interact with to be passersby and intrigue their curiosity.
Have you ever thought about cheating on the Diner en Blanc by doing an event in another color like black?
No never. Although white is as elegant as black, it is the color of peace and happiness. And the values of Dîner en Blanc are reflected through this color.
What can you tell us about the next Diner en Blanc: location, date, any special surprise?
It’s a surprise. My lips are sealed.