The Toronto Film Festival's latest Trek Talks presentation, "Space, Diplomacy and the United Federation of Planets, was held last week, and StarTrek.com is pleased to share with fans the entire 1-hour and 41-minute session, which brought together Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, feature-film writer and director Nicholas Meyer (director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), and Margaret Weitekamp, space history curator at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, to consider what the series can teach us about geopolitics and peace building.
Debuting at the height of the U.S.-Soviet Space Race, Star Trek offered an alternative to the adversarial ideology then underlying space exploration in the United Federation of Planets. A kind of intergalactic United Nations, the Federation is dedicated to preserving peace between species, ridding the known universe of war, inequality, hunger, and disease, and upholding the values of cooperation, equality, justice and liberty for all. The Federation's utopian balance between principled interventionism and self-determination is embodied in the Prime Directive, which decrees that Starfleet — the combined military, scientific, and exploratory forces of the Federation — must not interfere with either the cultural evolution or internal politics of "pre-warp" civilizations to avoid impacting their independent development. A number of storylines in both series and films center on threats to the Federation (from both within and outside), the precariousness of peacebuilding, the difficulties of diplomacy, and the need to understand and accommodate cultural difference within a collective.
Presented in partnership with CBS and the Canadian Space Agency, TIFF's Trek Talks feature roundtable discussions and keynote presentations that consider the influence of Star Trek in the areas of television, film, technology, space exploration, education, politics and social justice. The next Trek Talks presentation, "Mae Jemison on Star Trek and the Future," will be held December 5. Visit www.tiff.net for details about that Trek Talk and others as well.