On 18 January 2016, UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme organized an information meeting at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to launch the preparatory process of the World Humanities Conference (WHC) to be held in Liège, Belgium, from 6 to 12 August 2017. The meeting gathered several partners including the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH) and Liège Together, and the Permanent Representatives of Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, Lebanon, Mali, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See and the French National Commission. The co-organizers of the World Humanities Conference, UNESCO, CIPSH and Liège Together, invited all stakeholders to mobilize to make it an inclusive, innovative and ambitious global event.
The working meeting presented the aims of the Conference, the partnerships that will enable its implementation and the preparatory actions that, from 2016, will enable it to federate the energies of all stakeholders in the field of humanities. The President of the WHC, Adama Samassekou, invited Permanent Delegates to submit their ideas and suggestions and solicit their governments to take actively part in the preparatory work and WHC itself. All Permanent Delegates and Observers present affirmed their full support and commitment to the whole organisation process.
The World Humanities Conference will be a major gathering to be prepared during the next 18 months, engaging all fields of knowledge in all countries, focusing on the role and scope of the humanities in contemporary society and involving Youth, scholars and society. The Conference will foster a re-foundation of the humanities based on a polycentric approach. Starting from the need to re-think the scope and role of human sciences in contemporary society, affirming the relevance of the humanities for everyday life, the Conference will establish a new agenda for the humanities, with educational, research and policy-making implications in various countries and regions of the world.
The Conference will be structured around six main themes:
a) Humans and the environment
b) Cultural identities, cultural diversity and intercultural relations
c) Cultural heritage
d) Boundaries and migrations
e) History, memory and politics
f) The humanities in a world in transition
The WHC will be preceded by a large number of events which started with a Regional Conference on Science and Civilization of the Silk Roads held in Beijing, China, in December 2015. Regional thematic conferences will be organized in Brazil focusing landscape management and the humanities (October 2016), in Mali focusing on history, languages and culture (November 2016) and in the Arab region. Furthermore, specific disciplinary events will take place in several countries, including in Mariana, Brazil (February 2016); in Mação, Portugal (March 2016); in Macau, China (June 2016).
The World Humanities Conference will also build on the success and outcomes of the World Humanities Forum, of which the 4th edition will be held in Sejon City, Republic of Korea, from 27 to 29 October 2016.
Contact: John Crowley, j.crowley(at)unesco.org