State of the Community 2017: Every Decision Counts

When :

from Tuesday 12 September, 2017
to Thursday 14 September, 2017

Type of event :

Meeting by Member States or Institutions

Where :

UNESCO Headquarters, Room IV, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75007, Paris, France

Contact :

John Crowley,

The conference entitled State of the Community: Every Decision Counts will bring together academics, professionals and youth to investigate sustainable solutions for our interconnected world.

State of the Community: Every Decision Counts will bring together academics, professionals and youth to investigate sustainable solutions, anchored in the knowledge provided by the social and human sciences, for our interconnected world. The conference takes place under the aegis of UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme, and builds on the outcomes of the World Humanities Conference, held in Liège, Belgium, in August 2017.

The conference is organized around three interconnected areas in which well-identified threats go hand in hand with new opportunities to support societies in responding to the challenges of the 2030 Agenda for inclusive and sustainable development. The possibility of a civic culture based on democratic citizenship is often perceived to be undermined by technologies of surveillance, control and communication that trivialize public debate; by exclusive and aggressive identities that leave little space for social pluralism; and by the decline of traditional modes of political organization. At the same time, new technologies for networking and exchange, along with more horizontal forms of politics, offer the hope of alternative and more fluid identities that can underpin new forms of social solidarity, including across the borders of states and nations.

How these tensions play out, and whether extremism, discrimination and inequality become more or less prevalent, will depend on the ability to reconcile globalization and traditional structures, legitimate individualism and social solidarity, the pace of innovation and the need for social debate about technologies and their application. Democracy critically depends on the strength and viability of institutions as nurtured by the people they serve, and thus on the civic convictions of citizens themselves.

The title given to the conference derives from the 2016 State of the Community conference, also held in collaboration between UNESCO MOST and the Dhillon Marty Foundation, which organized a student competition for “Phrase of the Year”. “Every Decision Counts” was the winner of the 2016 competition, highlighting the significance of the impact of every decision each citizen makes on the individual and the well-being of society. The jury for the Dhillon Marty Competition: 2017 Phrase of the Year will also convene during the conference and announce the competition winner.